Paper Digital Humanities Australasia 2018

Enhancing Humanities Education with Location-Based Mobile Learning Games (61)

Roger Edmonds 1 , Richard McInnes 1
  1. University of South Australia, Adelaide, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, Australia

During the past 4 years our action-research has examined the educational benefits of student’s both playing and designing location-based mobile games (LBMLGs) in higher education programs. This presentation will showcase several LBMLGs relevant to Humanities Education (in particular History, Aboriginal Culture, English and Education) and describe their influence on knowledge acquisition, student engagement and motivation from students both designing and playing LBMLGs.

Location-based learning games delivered as a mobile app integrate storytelling, augmented reality and rich media with GPS, maps and gamification methodologies. Games were introduced to students during lectures or tutorials and played subsequently in a tutorial or as a self-discovery exercise. The project team made observations of students as they played and used an online survey to discover satisfaction rates, engagement and learning outcomes. 

As described in Edmonds & Smith (2017), students have reported very high levels of satisfaction in their learning experiences. Findings indicate that location-based mobile learning games provide an authentic and meaningful pathway to teach and learn with mobile technology and can make learning pleasant and engaging. To be effective, games require narratives that deliver meaning, location-interaction tasks to engage and motivate and gamification methodologies for converting tasks into ‘play’ to capture attention, retain interest and keep students active as they play.  Students acquire knowledge both while designing and playing LBMLGs. However, our action-research indicates that educational experiences of students are amplified as they apply their skills in digital media, research, teamwork, navigation and mobile storytelling when they design and develop games for others to play.

We will conclude by outlining two exciting new ways we are integrating LBMLGs in Humanities education.

The first is in a course for students who are speakers of English as an Additional Language. To strengthen the students’ proficiency in observational techniques needed for research & descriptive writing, students play a LBMLG where they carefully observe the environment around them, collect information at places and contribute written opinions into the game which have relevant, authentic & contemporary contexts to what they observe. The second is a fully online course where students learn about the principles of location-based archival content and how it is currently being used in the creative industries by GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) sector institutions.  In this course students research artefacts to create their own community archive and publish it as a LBMLG to present for specific audiences.



Edmonds, R., & Smith, S. (2017). From playing to designing: Enhancing educational experiences with location-based mobile learning games. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 33(6), 41-53.