Connecting Theory and Design Through Research: Cognitive Skills Training Games

  • Jan L. PlassEmail author
  • Bruce D. Homer
  • Shashank Pawar
  • Frankie Tam
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11243)


How can the effectiveness of games for learning be enhanced? In this paper, we present an approach that connects theory and research to enhance the design of games that train cognitive skills. Specifically, we combine our model for designing games for learning with Value-Added Design Research, which can provide design guidance for decisions that the model alone cannot provide. We applied this method in the context of designing games to train executive functions, an application area that is highly promising but nevertheless has produced many games that are not effective. We discuss three examples of design research studies we conducted, including the emotional design of the game, the use of an adaptive algorithm, and the design of level progressions privileging either speed or accuracy in learners’ responses. We conclude that this approach is able to contribute to both the enhancement of CHI related design challenges and to theory.


Game design methodology Value added research Executive functions 



This work was partially supported by IES Grant R305A150417, “Focused Computer Games that Promote Executive Functions Skills, and by PSC-CUNY Award #60816-00 48: Virtual Reality and Emotional Design for the Development of Executive Functions in Adolescents.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.The Graduate Center, CUNYNew YorkUSA

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