Using Alternate Reality Games to Teach Computer Science Concepts-Case: Stop Toilworn Diamond

Lasse Hakulinen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Alternate reality games (ARG) are games that deliver an interactive narrative to the players using different types of media. ARGs often blur the boundaries of reality and fiction and entice players to collaborative puzzle solving in order to solve a mystery or quest included in the game. In this paper, we describe an alternate reality game that was organized to study the potential of using ARGs in education and especially in computer science education. The game was evaluated in terms of how authenticity, intrinsic motivation, and replayability were taken into account in the game design. Furthermore, the learning effects of the game were evaluated by analyzing the feedback collected after the game as well as the spontaneous player discussions during the game. The results show that the players were able to learn various computer science concepts because of the game. Furthermore, the discussions during the game showed how the players were solving the puzzles collaboratively. Main themes that emerged from the feedback about positive aspects of using ARGs in educational settings as well as possible issues are also discussed in the paper. The educational potential of alternate reality games is not limited to a certain discipline and the results reported in this paper can also be applied to topics other than computer science.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)771-785
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • alternate reality game
    • serious game
    • game-based learning
    • collaborative learning
    • informal learning
    • computer science education

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