Flow experience in game based learning – a systematic literature review

  • Arttu Perttula Tampere University of Technology
  • Kristian Kiili Tampere University of Technology
  • Antero Lindstedt Tampere University of Technology
  • Pauliina Tuomi Tampere University of Technology
Keywords: flow, learning, serious game, game based learning

Abstract

The entertaining elements implemented in a serious game are key factors in determining whether a player will be engaged in a play-learn process and able to achieve the desired learning outcomes. Thus, optimization of subjective playing experience is a crucial part of a game design process. Flow theory can be adopted for measuring user experience and analyzing the quality of serious game designs. In addition, flow seems to have a positive influence on performance enhancement, learning and engagement. The focus of this review is especially on examining the meaning of flow in the context of serious games as well as exploring the relationship between flow and learning, factors that influence occurrence of flow and how flow is operationalized. The review revealed that there are mainly conceptual considerations about flow in serious games, but no robust empirical evidence about the meaning of flow. This is in line with other studies. We argue that research on flow should focus on the specific aspects related to the very nature of serious games that combine enjoyment and learning. Furthermore, new methods to measure flow and analyse the data need to be developed and studied.

References

[1] Swann, C., Keegan, R. J., Piggott, D., Crust, L., A systematic review of the experience, occurrence, and controllability of flow states in elite sport, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13(6), 807-819, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2012.05.006
[2] Seligman, M. E., Csikszentmihalyi, M., Positive psychology: An introduction (Vol. 55, No. 1, p. 5), American Psychological Association, 2000.
[3] Procci, K., Singer, A. R., Levy, K. R., Bowers, C., Measuring the flow experience of gamers: An evaluation of the DFS-2, Computers in Human Behavior, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2012.06.039
[4] Kiili, K., Lainema, T., Freitas, S. D., Arnab, S., Flow framework for analyzing the quality of educational games, Entertainment Computing, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.entcom.2014.08.002
[5] Kiili, K., Content creation challenges and flow experience in educational games: The IT-Emperor case, The Internet and Higher Education, 8(3), 183-198, 2005. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2005.06.001
[6] Csikszentmihalyi, M., Beyond boredom and anxiety: Experiencing flow in work and play, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 1975.
[7] Kiili, K., de Freitas, S., Arnab, S., Lainema, T., The design principles for flow experience in educational games, Procedia Computer Science, 15, 78-91, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2012.10.060
[8] Csikszentmihalyi, M., Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Harper Perennial, New York, 1991.
[9] Csikszentmihalyi, M., Flow: The psychology of optimal experience (2nd edition), NewYork: Harper & Row, 2002.
[10] Keller, J., Landhäußer, A., The flow model revisited, In S. Engeser (Ed.), Advances in flow research (pp. 51-64), New York: Springer, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-2359-1_3
[11] Csikszentmihalyi, M., Finding Flow, 1997.
[12] Lee, I., Kwon, H-J., Relations among flow, information processing strategies, and performance in a computer-based simulation game, ED-MEDIA 2005, 986-992, 2005.
[13] Lehtimäki, T., Zone kutsuu: eläytyminen tietokonepeleissä, Mikrobitti, 7/2005, 72-73, (In Finnish), 2005.
[14] Lewis, M.S., Cycling in the Zone, Athletic Insight, 1(3), Retrieved July 20, 2014, from http://www.athleticinsight.com/Vol1Iss3/Bicycle_Zone.htm, 1999.
[15] Krug, M., Playing in the zone. Athletic Insight, 1(3), Retrieved November 1, 2005, from http://www.athleticinsight.com/Vol1Iss3/Tennis_Zone.htm, 1999.
[16] Rollings, A. & Adams, E., Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game design, USA: New Riders, 2003.
[17] Voiskounsky, A. E., Mitina, O. V., Avetisova, A. A., Playing Online Games: Flow Experience, PsychNology journal, 2(3), 259-281, 2004.
[18] Hsu, C. L., Lu, H. P., Why do people play on-line games? An extended TAM with social influences and flow experience, Information & Management, 41(7), 853-868, 2004. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.im.2003.08.014
[19] Kiili, K., Lainema, T., Foundation for measuring engagement in educational games, Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 19(3), 469-488, 2008.
[20] Weibel, D., Wissmath, B., Habegger, S., Steiner, Y., Groner, R., Playing online games against computer-vs. human-controlled opponents: Effects on presence, flow, and enjoyment, Computers in Human Behavior,24(5), 2274-2291, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2007.11.002
[21] Sweetser, P., Wyeth, P., GameFlow: a model for evaluating player enjoyment in games, Computers in Entertainment (CIE), 3(3), 3-3, 2005. https://doi.org/10.1145/1077246.1077253
[22] Weber, R., Tamborini, R., Westcott Baker, A., Kantor, B., Theorizing flow and media enjoyment as cognitive synchronization of attentional and reward networks, Communication Theory, 19(4), 397-422, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2009.01352.x
[23] Jackson, S. A., Eklund, R. C., Assessing flow in physical activity: The flow state scale-2 and dispositional flow scale-2, Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 24, 133–150, 2002. https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.24.2.133
[24] Brockmyer, J. H., Fox, C. M., Curtiss, K. A., McBroom, E., Burkhart, K. M., Pidruzny, J. N., The development of the Game Engagement Questionnaire: A measure of engagement in video game- playing, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(4), 624-634, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2009.02.016
[25] Ninaus, M., Kober, S.E., Friedrich, E.V.C., Dunwell, I., deFreitas, S., Arnab, S., Ott, M., Kravcik, M., Lim, T., Louchart, S., Bellotti, F., Hannemann, A., Thin, A.G., Berta, R., Wood, G., Neuper, C., Neurophysiological methods for monitoring brain activity in serious games and virtual environments: a review, International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, Vol 6, Nr.1, pp. 78-103, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJTEL.2014.060022
[26] Plotnikov, A., Stakheika, N., De Gloria, A., Schatten, C., Bellotti, F., Berta, R., ... Ansovini, F., Exploiting real-time EEG analysis for assessing flow in games, In Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), IEEE, 2012.
[27] Klasen, M., Weber, R., Kircher, T. T., Mathiak, K. A., Mathiak, K., Neural contributions to flow experience during video game playing, Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 2011.
[28] Nacke, L. E., Stellmach, S., Lindley, C. A., Electroencephalographic assessment of player experience: A pilot study in affective ludology, Simulation & Gaming, 2010.
[29] Berta, R., Bellotti, F., De Gloria, A., Pranantha, D., Schatten, C., Electroencephalogram and physiological signal analysis for assessing flow in games, Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, IEEE Transactions on, 5(2), 164-175, 2013.
[30] James, T., Harden, A., Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews, BMC medical research methodology 8.1, 2008.
[31] James, T., Harden, A., Newman, M., Synthesis: combining results systematically and appropriately, 179-227 in Gough, David, Sandy Oliver, and James Thomas, An introduction to systematic reviews, Sage Publications, 2012.
[32] Barzilai, S., Blau, I., Scaffolding game-based learning: Impact on learning achievements, perceived learning, and game experiences. Computers & Education, 70, 65-79, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.08.003
[33] Bressler, D. M., Bodzin, A. M., A mixed methods assessment of students' flow experiences during a mobile augmented reality science game, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29(6), 505-517, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12008
[34] Brom, C., Bromová, E., Děchtěrenko, F., Buchtová, M., Pergel, M., Personalized messages in a brewery educational simulation: Is the personalization principle less robust than previously thought?, Computers & Education, 72, 339-366, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.11.013
[35] Faiola, A., Newlon, C., Pfaff, M., Smyslova, O., Correlating the effects of flow and telepresence in virtual worlds: Enhancing our understanding of user behavior in game-based learning, Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 1113-1121, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.11.013
[36] Fu, F. L., Su, R. C., Yu, S. C., EGameFlow: A scale to measure learners’ enjoyment of e-learning games, Computers & Education, 52(1), 101-112, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2008.07.004
[37] Hong, J. C., Hwang, M. Y., Chen, W. C., Lee, C. C., Lin, P. H., Chen, Y. L., Comparing the retention and flow experience in playing Solitary and Heart Attack games of San Zi Jing: A perspective of Dual Process Theory, Computers & Education, 69, 369-376, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2013.07.027
[38] Hou, H. T., Li, M. C., Evaluating multiple aspects of a digital educational problem-solving-based adventure game, Computers in Human Behavior, 30, 29-38, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.07.052
[39] Hsiao, H. S., Chang, C. S., Lin, C. Y., Hu, P. M., Development of children's creativity and manual skills within digital game‐based learning environment, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcal.12057
[40] Hsieh, Y. H., Lin, Y. C., Hou, H. T., Exploring the role of flow experience, learning performance and potential behavior clusters in elementary students' game-based learning, Interactive Learning Environments, 1-16, 2013.
[41] Li, Z. Z., Cheng, Y. B., Liu, C. C., A constructionism framework for designing game like learning systems: Its effect on different learners, British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(2), 208-224, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01305.x
[42] Linek, S. B., Marte, B., Albert, D., Background Music in Educational Games: Motivational Appeal and Cognitive Impact, International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), 1(3), 53-64, 2011. https://doi.org/10.4018/ijgbl.2011070104
[43] Liu, C.-C., Yuan-Bang, C., Chia-Wen, H., The effect of simulation games on the learning of computational problem solving, Computers & Education 57.3, 1907-1918, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.04.002
[44] Liu, T. Y., Using educational games and simulation software in a computer science course: learning achievements and student flow experiences, Interactive Learning Environments, 1-21, 2014.
[45] Ma, Y., Williams, D., Prejean, L., Designing an Electronic Educational Game to Facilitate Immersion and Flow, Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 25(1), 27-49, 2014.
[46] Oksanen, K., Subjective Experience and Sociability in a Collaborative Serious Game, Simulation & Gaming, 1046878113513079, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878113513079
[47] Wang, L. C., Chen, M. P., The effects of game strategy and preference‐matching on flow experience and programming performance in game‐based learning, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(1), 39-52, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1080/14703290903525838
[48] Rheinberg, F., Vollmeyer, R., Engeser, S., Die Erfassung des Flow-Erlebens. In J. Stiensmeier-Pelster & F. Rheinberg, Diagnostik von Motivation und Selstkonzept (Tests und Trends N.F. 2). Göttingen: Hogrefe, 261-279, 2003.
[49] Engeser, S., Rheinberg, F., Flow, performance and moderators of challenge-skill balance, Motivation and Emotion, 32(3), 158-172, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-008-9102-4
[50] Kiili, K., Evaluations of an experiential gaming model, Human Technology, 2(2), 187-201, 2006. https://doi.org/10.17011/ht/urn.2006518
[51] Engeser, S., Advances in flow research, New York, NY: Springer, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-2359-1
[52] Bakker, A. B., Oerlemans, W., Demerouti, E., Slot, B. B., Ali, D. K., Flow and performance: A study among talented Dutch soccer players, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12(4), 442-450, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2011.02.003
[53] Bellotti, F., Kapralos, B., Lee, K., Moreno-Ger, P., Berta, R., Assessment in and of serious games: an overview, Advances in Human-Computer Interaction, 1, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/136864
Published
2017-03-22
How to Cite
Perttula, A., Kiili, K., Lindstedt, A., & Tuomi, P. (2017). Flow experience in game based learning – a systematic literature review. International Journal of Serious Games, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.17083/ijsg.v4i1.151
Section
Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.