Using Digital Game-Based Learning in Online Math Courses


In an effort to increase student motivation and find more engaging ways for students to learn, the use of simulations and digital game-based learning are on the rise. Digital games are being used by early childhood and elementary educators, secondary educators, college and adult educators, as well as business and industry trainers. In addition to the wide range of educational settings, a wide range of disciplines have offerings in virtually every subject area. Digital games range from traditional drill and practice to inquiry based learning, and everything in between.

When evaluating digital games, determining the game type is as important as determining the learning outcome students are to master, since some learning outcomes work better with certain game types and designs than with others. While a wide variety of ready-to-play games can be found online, seldom is a game a perfect fit for the concept the instructor would like students to master. When a good fit is not readily available, there are tools instructors can use to create their own digital games.

We will discuss what digital game-based learning is, how to find ready-to-play games online, how to evaluate digital games for student use, and how to get started creating your own digital games, focusing on topics from an online math course.


  • Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL)
  • How To Evaluate Digital Games
  • How To Find Ready-To-Play Games Online
  • Pre-Made Games
  • How To Get Started Creating Your Own Digital Games

Additional Resources


Charoenying, T. (2010). Accountable Game Design: Structuring the Dynamics of Student Learning Interactions. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 43(2), 135-163.

Freeman, M. (Director) (2010, June 2). Serious by Design:  Learning Design for Serious Games. 6th Annual Innovations in e-Learning Symposium. Lecture conducted from George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.

Fu-Hsing, T., Kuang-Chao, Y., & Hsien-Sheng, H. (2012). Exploring the Factors Influencing Learning Effectiveness in Digital Game-based Learning. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 15(3), 240-250.

Graser, J. (Director) (2010, June 2). Expedient Application of Simple Gaming for Learning and Assessment. 6th Annual Innovations in e-Learning Symposium. Lecture conducted from George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.


Two slightly different versions. Resources are updated to include those from both the presentation & the workshop.

Workshop: December 2015 @ 2015 Innovations in Teaching Symposium, Harrisburg, PA

Presentation with Lea Rosenberry: August 2013 @ MAA MathFest, Hartford, CT

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