Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

1. Co-creative game design practices 2. The mapping of pedagogical and motivational aspects with game design 3. Applied research in game-based learning and gamification for learning 4. Game literacy and gaming culture

Willing to speak to media

  • 964 Citations
  • 15 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile


Sylvester Arnab is a Professor of Game Science at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab and an associate of the Centre for Post-digital Cultures at Coventry University, UK. His research focuses on the investigation into engaging, empathic, and empowering experiences through the lens of playful and gameful design practices.

Sylvester is a co-founder of the award-winning GameChangers initiative (, which has been adapted in Malaysia and is currently being expanded into Vietnam and Indonesia towards responding to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. GameChangers has also informed the Beaconing project (, which was led by Sylvester and is often referred to as a best practice for gamified learning in Europe. To date, Sylvester has successfully won research funding with a total value of £19 million since 2010 (£9.9 million as a principle investigator). Funders include the UKRI (AHRC and ESRC), European Commission (FP7, H2020, and Erasmus+), and HEFCE.

Sylvester is currently leading the ACES project (  and the CreativeCulture 4.0 project (, funded by the UKRI under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund Impact Scheme respectively. Both projects are building on the GameChangers initiative, where Sylvester's play and game thinking approach is being adapted in South East Asia towards developing inclusive and equitable teaching and learning practices.  

Sylvester has over 100 academic publications, having recently published a book on ‘Game Science in Hybrid Learning Spaces’, which provides insights into the research and practice of purposeful game design with a focus on hybrid education. He is regularly invited to give public and keynote lectures in various international events. Sylvester is currently supervising three PhDs with four completions and has examined 10 PhD theses to date.

Sylvester was previously a researcher at Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute and University of Warwick’s WMG. He graduated with a PhD in Engineering in 2009 at the University of Warwick. 


Twitter: @sarnab75 



Research Interests

Game Science (gameful/playful design, serious games, game-based learning, gamification, game design thinking); Hybrid learning spaces; Technology-enhanced learning; Pervasive learning and technologies; Trans-disciplinary game-based intervention development; Multi-modal platforms (tactile, wearable, mobile, mixed-reality)

Vision Statement

A champion of gameful, playful and persuasive designs that transform ordinary tasks into extraordinary experiences. My research interests are inspired by the potential of game techniques and technologies in sustaining engagement with serious activities, and to inform the design of experiences. My research focus is influenced by a a hybrid approach for holistically define, design and implement game-based interventions, including the blending of physical and digital spaces, and formal and informal contexts. I have developed a trans-disciplinary and holistic model for game-based design and development that can be adopted by researchers, designers and developers. My research, development, and practice findings have informed the discussions in a book on Game Science and it's application and implication on Hybrid Learning Spaces published in 2020. 

Education/Academic qualification

Doctorate, University of Warwick

May 2005May 2009

MSc, University of Leeds

Sep 2000Sep 2001

Degree, University of Manchester

Sep 1996Sep 1998

External positions

PhD External Examiner, Hanken School of Economics

Oct 2018

PhD External Examiner, University of Tasmania

Jul 2018

PhD External Examiner, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya


PhD External Examiner, University of Toronto


PhD External Examiner, University of Aveiro

20 Dec 2017

PhD External Examiner, University of the West of Scotland

May 2017

EdD External Examiner, University of Huddersfield


PhD External Examiner, University of Bath

Nov 2016

External Reviewer (PARM Panel), Manchester Metropolitan University

Feb 2016

PhD External Examiner, Universidade de Lisboa

Jun 2014


  • L Education (General)
  • experiential learning
  • game-based learning
  • playful learning
  • STEM
  • Q Science (General)
  • computer science
  • games science
  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • Software Engineering

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Research Output

Designing Mini-Games for Micro-Learning: Open Educational Resources on Cultural Risks in Multi-Cultural Organisations

Arnab, S., Walaszczyk, L., Lewis, M., Calderwood, J., Loizou, M. & Clarke, S., 29 May 2020, (Accepted/In press). 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

  • Game Science in Hybrid Learning Spaces

    Arnab, S., 20 May 2020, 1 ed. UK: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 220 p. (Digital Games, Simulation and Learning; no. 6)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  • Play in farming: seriously?

    Arnab, S., Clarke, S. & Hilmi, A., 24 Jun 2020, (Accepted/In press). 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

  • A participatory co-creation model to drive community engagement in rural indigenous schools: A case study in Sarawak

    Minoi, J. L., Mohamad, F., Arnab, S., Phoa, J., Morini, L., Beaufoy, J., Lim, T. & Clarke, S., 1 Sep 2019, In : Electronic Journal of e-Learning. 17, 3, p. 157-167 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 10 Downloads (Pure)

    Assessment of co-creativity in the process of game design

    Romero, M., Arnab, S., Smet, C. D., Mohamad, F., Minoi, J. L. & Morini, L., 1 Sep 2019, In : Electronic Journal of e-Learning. 17, 3, p. 199-206 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 4 Downloads (Pure)


    • 29 Participation in conference
    • 10 Invited talk
    • 6 Editorial activity
    • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course

    ‘Empathic and Experiential Gameful and Playful design practices’

    Sylvester Arnab (Speaker)
    13 May 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Creative Culture : How co-creativity is nurtured in the context of game design

    Sylvester Arnab (Invited speaker)
    4 Jun 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Play, game thinking and social innovation

    Sylvester Arnab (Speaker)
    28 Nov 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    The Magic Circle of Playful and Gameful Co-Creation

    Sylvester Arnab (Keynote speaker)
    4 Oct 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    Play, Technology and Learning: Transform Ordinary Tasks into Extraordinary Experiences

    Sylvester Arnab (Keynote speaker)
    3 May 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


    Gamification Award for Education and Learning 2019

    Sylvester Arnab (Recipient), Samantha Clarke (Recipient), Alex Masters (Recipient), Jayne Beaufoy (Recipient) & Luca Morini (Recipient), 28 Jan 2020

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Gamification Award for Gamification Software 2019

    Sylvester Arnab (Recipient), Jayne Beaufoy (Recipient), Michael Loizou (Recipient) & Jackie Calderwood (Recipient), 22 Jan 2020

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

    Outstanding Gamification Research

    Samantha Clarke (Recipient), Sylvester Arnab (Recipient) & Oliver Wood (Recipient), 26 Nov 2018

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Press / Media

    Interview by PRESSTV

    Sylvester Arnab


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Interview by EU School Education Gateway

    Sylvester Arnab


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Gamification Radio Talk Show

    Sylvester Arnab


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Games and play put fun into education

    Sylvester Arnab


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    UNIMAS' CreativeCulture Project received research grant

    Sylvester Arnab


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Research