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Advances in Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 136864, 11 pages
Review Article

Assessment in and of Serious Games: An Overview

1Department of Naval, Electric, Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering, University of Genoa, Via all’Opera Pia 11/a, 16145 Genoa, Italy
2Faculty of Business and Information Technology, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Canada L1H 7K4
3Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
4Faculty of Computer Science, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain

Received 18 May 2012; Revised 22 January 2013; Accepted 6 February 2013

Academic Editor: Armando Bennet Barreto

Copyright © 2013 Francesco Bellotti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


There is a consensus that serious games have a significant potential as a tool for instruction. However, their effectiveness in terms of learning outcomes is still understudied mainly due to the complexity involved in assessing intangible measures. A systematic approach—based on established principles and guidelines—is necessary to enhance the design of serious games, and many studies lack a rigorous assessment. An important aspect in the evaluation of serious games, like other educational tools, is user performance assessment. This is an important area of exploration because serious games are intended to evaluate the learning progress as well as the outcomes. This also emphasizes the importance of providing appropriate feedback to the player. Moreover, performance assessment enables adaptivity and personalization to meet individual needs in various aspects, such as learning styles, information provision rates, feedback, and so forth. This paper first reviews related literature regarding the educational effectiveness of serious games. It then discusses how to assess the learning impact of serious games and methods for competence and skill assessment. Finally, it suggests two major directions for future research: characterization of the player’s activity and better integration of assessment in games.