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How can a foundation be outlined for a successful serious game to increase reading engagement




Reading engagement, Narrative engagement, Evaluation, Serious Games, Game design, user engagement


This study aims to support a mandatory reading of a novella for high school students by a serious game. The study includes 41 students. The first class is included in the experimental study, which uses a serious game to read the novella. The second class served as the control group and engaged only in analog reading. The evaluation is based on a questionnaire with reading, user, and narrative engagement items. Furthermore, the assessment consists of in-depth interviews with teachers and students. The findings positively affected students’ engagement in the experimental group. Primarily focused attention and reward are higher in the experimental group. However, there was no difference in the narrative engagement between the two groups, indicating that the story (digital or not) is well explained. The qualitative findings revealed positive comments, especially for the reading engagement and the story world. The novelty in this study is the outlined game design process, guided by elements in the foundation, game design, prototyping, and implementation. For the game design, we outlined how to transform the principles from Sweetser and Wyeth to applied design implementations. An important aspect was to illustrate the protagonist with schizophrenia.

Author Biography

Thomas Bjørner, Aalborg University

Thomas Bjørner is associate professor and head of Media Innovation and Game Research, Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology at Aalborg University. Thomas Bjørner’s scientific competences are mainly within formative evaluations of media innovative technologies and serious game. He has published extensively within applied qualitative research and has been PI, PM, WP-leader and participant in more than 14 research projects. His research addresses besides methodological issues within user evaluations, technology acceptance, interviews, observations, and ethnography also the characterization of technology usages in different contexts. He is European Commission appointed as expert within user evaluations and qualitative studies.





How to Cite

Bjørner, T., Petersen , M. S., Hansen , N. L. S., Jakobsen, G., & Hendriksen, D. (2023). How can a foundation be outlined for a successful serious game to increase reading engagement. International Journal of Serious Games, 10(1), 81–95.