Playing games in a masters class: Experiences of student educational psychologists




Authentic educational games, Educational psychology student, Gaming principles, Learning support, Qualitative methodology


Playing authentic educational games can support learners of all ages and abilities, particularly those with special educational or remedial needs. Playing games in cooperative groups allows learners to relate socially, motivate each other competitively and rehearse schoolwork. Literature mostly covers computer games rather than real-life educational games.

This study explored student educational psychologists’ experiences in creating and playing authentic educational games to facilitate learning for children with special educational needs. In pairs, the students constructed educational games from everyday recyclable material with the purpose of reinforcing concepts related to phonics, spelling, reading and mathematics. The games required small groups of learners to play together with minimal teacher facilitation. Working with a generic, qualitative, interpretive research design, the experiences of this cohort (n=29) of Master’s students were gleaned from their reflective writings and the researcher’s journal. Thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data and identify the emergent themes within the theoretical framework of game-based learning.

The findings indicated that authentic self-made educational games exhibited all the required features conceptualised in the theory of gameplay. Learning through play created experiences that are fun, motivating and have learners requesting more. Authentic educational games provided emotional and educational support. Playing educational games is a supportive adjunct to remedial interventions in the therapeutic context.


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How to Cite

Fourie, J., & Wilson, C. (2021). Playing games in a masters class: Experiences of student educational psychologists. Perspectives in Education, 39(4), 218-235.



Research articles