Connecting fun and learning

An activity-theoretical approach to competency based game development


  • Mark O'Rourke



games-based learning, immersive environments, activity system, fun, scaffold


Games-based learning has the potential to improve engagement and skill development. This research explores the development of the White Card Game and the impact that fun has on learning outcomes. The first-person shooter style game offers a contextualised, situated experience that equips learners with skills and an understanding of the socially complex world of work. The research has approached the analysis through an Activity Theoretical framework. This approach involved: analysing the interactions between components in the games-based learning activity system while they evolved; identifying contradictions and exploring the mediation that progressed the activity outcome; and examining fun within the games-based learning context. This analysis revealed significant increases in knowledge transfer, skill development and engagement with the curriculum in comparison to conventional pedagogical approaches.