Learning in Role Playing: An Ethnographic Study on Chinese Children Towards a Novel Educational Game Model

Jinping Liu, Bang Lee

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


This paper presents an experience-driven educational game model inspired by a relevant ethnographic study on preschool-aged children in China. The model is particularly designed for creating engaging game based learning experience. Through a four-week-long ethnographic fieldwork in kindergartens and children’s homes in China, the affinity between children’s cognitive world and fantasy play has been found. More specifically, self- actualization as an experience goal embedded in role-playing, a subcategory of fantasy play activities, demonstrate its strong potentials in bridging the serious educational purposes and captivating gaming experience. Based on the ethnographic findings and further the experience goal, a role-playing-based (RPB) educational game model is established. The model distinguishes itself by seamlessly incorporating educational purposes into a child’s second-life in the game setting and further promising the achievement of the child’s “flow state” in the gaming process. To showcase the implications for the RPB game model, a conceptual game design which intends to facilitate children in learning Chinese will be presented with more details.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen Design for E-very-thing
PublisherCumulus Association, Aalto University
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-60-0078-7
ISBN (Print)978-952-60-0077-0
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventCumulus Conference: Open Design for E-very-thing - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 21 Nov 201624 Nov 2016


ConferenceCumulus Conference
CountryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Internet address


  • Ethnography
  • Children-computer Interaction
  • Game Design

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