Connecting theory and design through research: Cognitive skills training games

Jan L. Plass, Bruce D. Homer, Shashank Pawar, Frankie Tam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


How can the effectiveness of games for learning be enhanced? In this paper, we present an approach that connects theory and research to enhance the design of games that train cognitive skills. Specifically, we combine our model for designing games for learning with Value-Added Design Research, which can provide design guidance for decisions that the model alone cannot provide. We applied this method in the context of designing games to train executive functions, an application area that is highly promising but nevertheless has produced many games that are not effective. We discuss three examples of design research studies we conducted, including the emotional design of the game, the use of an adaptive algorithm, and the design of level progressions privileging either speed or accuracy in learners’ responses. We conclude that this approach is able to contribute to both the enhancement of CHI related design challenges and to theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSerious Games - 4th Joint International Conference, JCSG 2018, Proceedings
EditorsManuel Oliveira, Jannicke Baalsrud Hauge, Stefan Göbel, Augusto Garcia-Agundez, Thomas Tregel, Polona Caserman, Tim Marsh, Minhua Ma
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783030027612
StatePublished - 2018
Event4th International Joint Conference on Serious Games, JCSG 2018 - Darmstadt, Germany
Duration: Nov 7 2018Nov 8 2018

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume11243 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other4th International Joint Conference on Serious Games, JCSG 2018


  • Executive functions
  • Game design methodology
  • Value added research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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