A Systematic Review of Using Reflective Design Features in Game-Based Learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Reflective learning forms knowledge from revisiting and reassessing previous experience intentionally and knowingly to modify experience positively. It helps increase self-awareness, which is a critical component of emotional intelligence, creative thinking skills, and a better understanding of an active engagement. Digital games are an appropriate medium for triggering and supporting reflection by providing a safe and immersive environment of stealth learning with the freedom to explore, identify, fail, and retry. Therefore, reflective design in game-based learning aims to trigger critical reflective learning in players, particularly given what game actions may mean in a larger learning context. However, although reflective learning can improve teaching and learning experiences in a new form, work dedicated to reflective design in game- based learning remains limited. This review aims to provide deeper insight into the characteristics of reflective design used in game-based learning to facilitate player reflection via digital games. In this systematic review, after screening against set criteria, a total of 20 studies published between 2010 and January 2021 in indexed scientific journals and conference proceedings were identified. We analysed the main features of the reflective design in technology and how they are currently incorporated in game-based learning (GBL). In addition, we explored the impact of reflection-in-action and reflection-on- action on players’ learning process during and after gameplay. The outcome of this analysis indicated that most of the reviews studies had incorporated reflective design features in GBL to improve the learning process, i.e., improve understanding, enhance user experience among players with active engagement, improve critical thinking, self-reflection, strategy development, reasoning problem-solving, and retention rate. This systematic review aimed to provide an exploratory study for educators, researchers, and game designers by providing valuable information on the main characteristics of reflective design in game-based learning and current limitations with future work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th European Conference on Game Based Learning, ECGBL 2021
EditorsPanagiotis Fotaris
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherAcademic Conferences International 
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781914587122
ISBN (Print)9781914587139, 9781914587122
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning
ISSN (Print)2049-0992


  • Reflective design
  • Game-Based Learning
  • User experience
  • reflective learning
  • Game design
  • Systematic review
  • Reflective learning
  • Game-based learning


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