Flow framework for analyzing the quality of educational games

K. Kiili, Timo Lainema, Sara de Freitas, Sylvester Arnab

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    98 Citations (Scopus)
    206 Downloads (Pure)


    The challenge of educational game design is to develop solutions that appeal to as many players as possible, but are still educationally effective. One foundation for analyzing and designing educational engagement is the flow theory. This article presents a flow framework that describes the dimensions of flow experience that can be used to analyze the quality of educational games. The framework also provides design-support for producing good educational games, because it can be used to reveal ways to optimize learning effects and user experience. However, the framework only works as a link between educational theory and game design, which is useful for game analysis but does not provide the means for a complete game design. To evaluate the elements included in the proposed framework, we analyzed university student's experiences in participating in a business simulation game. We found that the students' flow experience in the game was high and the findings indicated that sense of control, clear goals and challenge-skill dimensions of flow scored the highest. Overall, the results indicate that the flow framework is a useful tool to aid the analysis of game-based learning experiences.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)367-377
    JournalEntertainment Computing
    Issue number4
    Early online date22 Aug 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014

    Bibliographical note

    NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Entertainment Computing .Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Entertainment Computing, [Vol 5, no 4, 2014] DOI 10.1016/j.entcom.2014.08.002 .
    © 2014, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ .


    • Game-based learning
    • Game analysis
    • Serious games
    • Technology-enhanced learning
    • Flow experience
    • User experience


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