Iza Marfisi-Schottman

Associate Professor in Computer Science

Designing Games for Education



Providing Methodology, Models and Tools for Designing Learning Games

Serious Games are computer games that are designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment and that can be used for teaching. Although they are relevant to many fields of education, their development remains very expensive and time consuming. In this thesis, we focus mainly on Learning Games (LGs), that is on Serious Games designed for educational purposes, and more specifically on LGs used for training students in engineering schools.

The first part of the thesis is devoted to an analysis of the needs of those who create LGs and a state of the art in terms of methodologies and tools available. Our study shows the need to facilitate collaboration between the various actors, with complementary roles, involved in the development of a LG (domain expert, pedagogical expert, game designer ...). Our research also highlights the need for models and visual representations of the LG scenario to facilitate the design of LGs that are fun and attractive while still maintaining their educational values.

To address the first need, we propose a global collaborative methodology for creating LGs in which we identify the tasks assigned to each actor who is involved in the creation process and the tools available. Among these tools, we propose a metadata schema to help the actors find existing LG software components in order to use them in their new LG.

To meet the second need identified by our preliminary study, we propose a LG scenario model that represents the educational structure chosen by the pedagogical expert and also the way this structure is integrated into a game scenario imagined by the game designer. In addition, this model represents the educational items and the fun elements that the designers must integrate into the LG (professional skills, characters, comments...).

To reify our proposals, I developed an authoring environment called LEGADEE (LEarning Game DEsign Environment) that guides each designer with a "toolbar" adapted to his or her role. The environment also provides a validation system that analyzes the ongoing creation and shows a selection of indicators to help the designer develop a balanced, comprehensive scenario that integrates all the educational goals identified at the beginning of the project. LEGADEE is an open source application and accessible at www.liris.cnrs.fr/legadee

Lastly, we designed an evaluation protocol to validate our authoring environment as well as the methodology and the models proposed. By using a set of criteria defined by experts that take the educational and fun qualities of the LG into account, we compare 24 LGs of which half were created with LEGADEE and half without. Our evaluation indicates that our tool tends to improve the quality of LGs at several levels. It also brings to light the limits of our work and provides guidance for future improvements of LEGADEE and the evaluation process itself.


Evaluating Learning Games during their ConceptionECGBL 2014

Tools and Methods for Efficiently Designing Serious Games”, ECGBL 2010

EDoS: An authoring environment for serious games design based on three models”, ECGBL 2010

Towards Industrialized Conception and Production of Serious Games”,  ICTE 2009

Comment évaluer la qualité d’un Learning Game pendant sa conception ?”, TICE 2012

Un profil d’application de LOM pour les Serious Games”, EIAH 2011

Environnement informatique pour la conception, la production et le suivi de Serious Games”, RJC-EIAH 2010

Vers une industrialisation de la conception et de la production de Serious Game”, EIAH, Le Mans, France 2009


View all research projects to unlock the animation ! Still 8 to go...

PhD Infomation:

Date: 2008 – 2012

Thesis title: Methodology, Models and Tools for Designing Learning Games

Directors: Franck Tarpin-Bernard and Sébastien George

Doctoral School: EDA, École

Doctorale Informatique et Mathématique

Research Lab: LIRIS, Laboratoire d’InfoRmatique en Image et Systèmes d’information

Date of oral defense: November 28th, 2012

Jury :
- Pascal Estraillier, Professor (Université de la Rochelle), thesis Reader
- Sébastien George, Associate Professor (INSA de Lyon), Co-Director
- Jean-Marc Labat, Professor (Université UPMC, Paris 6), thesis Reader
- Domitile Lourdeaux, Associate Professor (UTC), Examinator
- Thierry Nodenot, Professor (IUT de Bayonne), jury President
- Patrick Prévôt, Professor (INSA de Lyon), Examinator
- Franck Tarpin-Bernard, Professor (Université de Grenoble), Director


Complete thesis and defense slides

Last update June 2015 Credits