Serious Games Go Informal: A Museum-Centric Perspective on Intelligent Game-Based Learning

Jonathan P. Rowe, Eleni V. Lobene, Bradford W. Mott, James C. Lester

Intelligent game-based learning environments show considerable promise for creating effective and engaging learning experiences that are tailored to individuals. To date, much of the research on intelligent game-based learning environments has focused on formal education settings and training. However, intelligent game-based learning environments also offer significant potential for informal education settings, such as museums and science centers. In this paper, we describe Future Worlds, a prototype game-based learning environment for collaborative explorations of sustainability in science museums. We report findings from a study investigating the influence of individual differences on learning and engagement in Future Worlds. Results indicate that learners showed significant gains in sustainability knowledge as well as high levels of engagement. Boys were observed to actively engage with Future Worlds for significantly longer than girls, and young children engaged with the exhibit longer than older children. These findings support the promise of intelligent game-based learning environments that dynamically recognize and adapt to learners’ individual differences during museum learning.

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