Informal CS learning through games - benefits to formal education?

Lassi Haaranen, Päivi Kinnunen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Playing games is a popular pastime and a form of entertainment. However, informal learning of CS concepts takes place in many game contexts and often times it happens unintentionally. An instance of engaging informal learning are games where people have created simulated computers using game elements and mechanics. Creating these artefacts requires players to learn and apply advanced level computer science concepts. We present the first phase of an ongoing project where the aim is to find out what formal learning educators could adopt from informal and tangential learning processes related to computing. We present three instances of games where computing concepts are utilized and applied. These are games that are not meant for education but for entertainment. The chosen games offer a variety of input methods, and knowledge applied in them ranges from theoretical, such as recursion, to more traditional computing skills like programming. We pose the questions of what CS educators could learn from games, how we should study the focal aspects of informal learning in games, and which games would be most relevant as our data set.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 15th Koli Calling Conference on Computing Education Research, Koli Calling 2015
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781450340205
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2015
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventKoli Calling - International Conference on Computing Education Research - Koli, Lieksa, Finland
Duration: 24 Nov 201627 Nov 2016
Conference number: 16


ConferenceKoli Calling - International Conference on Computing Education Research
Internet address


  • Computing education
  • Game based learning
  • Informal learning


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