A conceptual framework for immersion and flow in digital game-based learning: An example of a game-based classroom response system

Ronnie Homi Shroff, Fridolin Sze Thou Ting, Wai Hung Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleTeaching and learningpeer-review


Today’s learning environments are providing unique challenges and opportunities for learners to interact with different technologies in meaningful, relevant, and innovative ways. The advent of digital educational game-based technologies has precipitated a growing need for faculty to engage learners and keep them motivated and challenged. In digital game-based active learning, immersion and flow are two essential elements of the player experience that occur during game play. Both these concepts are theoretically distinct, but significantly related from an empirical perspective. Immersion focuses on sensory cues that engage the player’s mind via sensory stimulation, such as how involved the player is in the gaming experience and what response is expected on the part of the player. Flow centers on the cognitive aspects of the gaming experience, emphasizing the relationship between a challenging activity and the skills of a player, but also comprising of engagement, control, challenge, and feedback. A motivation for using digital games to support learning is that well designed game-based learning can provide experiences of immersion and flow, thereby simulating
authentic problem-solving tasks that combine instruction, learning, and assessment. Players are immersed through interactive “game-like” activities in a competitive game play format and subsequently driven by optimally challenging
tasks. Hence, digital game-based learning technologies have the means to immerse players by retaining motivation within the game by providing mastery feedback at multiple levels. Using Badaboom!, a game-based classroom response system developed by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, this paper sets forth a conceptual framework for immersion and flow in digital game-based learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-60
Number of pages20
JournalUbiquitous Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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