Research Report: Digital Game-based Learning for Early Childhood

The use of digital game-based learning for early childhood is growing rapidly with technological enhancement, but without the academic research to determine its effectiveness.

Despite the challenges of designing developmentally appropriate games with sound pedagogical bases, games are being published at an unprecedented rate, albeit with little or no scientific study on their impact and effectiveness.

To address these challenges, the Learnovate Centre has completed a state-of-the-art research report that focuses on the use of digital game-based learning for children aged 3-6 years.

The report, which is 42 pages long, covers the following aspects:

  • The Pedagogy and Design of Games for Early Childhood – including content areas most suited to game-based learning, appropriate gaming strategies and underpinning pedagogies
  • Evidence of Effectiveness and Impact of Game-based Learning – including a survey of the academic research and the impact on learning performance
  • Cost-effectiveness – including the advantages and disadvantages to developing appropriate games for early childhood learning

Digital_Games_Report_BlogDownload a copy of the report here [PDF].

Findings of the research report will be presented by Neil Peirce on Thursday, 6th June at the Irish Symposium on Game Based Learning 2013



The Learnovate Centre will also hold a lunchtime briefing on the subject on Friday, 17th June from 12.30-14.00. For further details, please email

Delivering Personalised Mobile Learning for K-12 Education

The massive growth in mobile technology in recent years has seen the significant potential for mobile learning starting to be realised. The increasing pervasiveness of smart phones and tablet devices is providing new opportunities to deliver learning in more interactive and engaging ways.

However, mobile technology is developing at a rapid pace and the best methods to deliver learning in a mobile context are still evolving. Key challenges in this area include:

  • How can existing educational content be reused and enriched to support more interactive and engaging learning experiences on mobile devices?
  • How can the huge resources of multimedia content that are available on the open web be used to supplement and extend existing mobile learning?
  • If rich and varied multimedia content is available to learners on their mobile devices, how can their individual learning needs be supported to give them the appropriate content at the right time?

Here at the Learnovate Centre, we are examining these challenges in mobile learning within the ALMANAC project. ALMANAC is focused on the delivery of a new personalised learning app for tablet devices. The app provides learners with a way to create rich, engaging magazine-style learning experiences.

  • The magazine-style experiences are composed dynamically using existing educational publisher content, which has been sliced and analysed to determine its type and meaning.
  • The learning experience is further enhanced by supplementing the publisher content with appropriate multimedia content from the open web such as YouTube and Wikipedia.
  • The learning needs of individual learners are supported through personalisation. Depending on the learner’s specified prior knowledge of the topic, appropriate pedagogical strategies are applied to ensure learners receive content that addresses their specific learning needs.

We plan to trial the app in a “flipped classroom” scenario where students can use the app to research topics prior to going to class. This frees up class time for the teacher to focus on consolidation and group discussion, leading to the development of higher order 21st century skills. This trial will provide detailed findings about the practical use of personalised mobile learning in real-world educational environments.

Eddie_blogAbout the Author: Eddie Walsh holds a PhD from Trinity College Dublin. He is a technology lead at the Learnovate Centre and a research assistant in the Knowledge and Data Engineering Group at TCD. Eddie has worked on a number of research projects in the area of technology-enhanced learning.

Microsoft Ireland Educators Summit 2013

We’re delighted to be joining a panel of educational experts in presenting at the Microsoft Ireland Educators Summit on Thursday, 9th May in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

Microsoft Ireland Educators Summit 2013

The event is focused on key issues such as the new Junior Cycle assessments, innovative classroom practices, tools and solutions that can integrate technology with teaching.

Our presentation, entitled 21st Century Learning for 21st Century Skills, will introduce new positive opportunities for the constructive use of technologies in education. Drawing on research evidence, the Learnovate Centre team will introduce the flipped classroom model of teaching and learning, and show how technologies can support both learners and teachers with this 21st Century pedagogical approach.

Our research partner, Bridge21, will present their unique learning model, which allows for creativity, problem solving, peer learning and collaboration: all essential skills for thriving in the 21st Century.

For more information, please see the event website at:


View our presentation below.