«Serious games for engineering education: where, how and why»

Manuel Freire and Iris Celorrio


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This talk describes the results of a systematic review of the literature on the use of serious games for engineering education, limited to publications of the last 5 years, in order to better understand where, how and what these games are being used for.

Serious games have great potential for teaching, providing immediate feedback and offering their players a much more immersive experience than would be possible with less interactive environments. Our study differs from others in that it not only asks about the engineering areas where games are most prevalent, but also about the type of objectives and educational methods of these, and the way in which their design allows learning to be associated with fun, as well as its main technologies, platforms, techniques and mechanics. We are also interested in how games are evaluated from the point of view of efficacy and motivation, as well as the role that teachers take while their students play. We will see that most of the serious games in education are aimed at the domain of software.

Finally, we will comment on our experience with a serious video game for teaching the fundamentals of mobile communications, called “Frequency Selectivity”.


Manuel Freire Morán has a PhD in Computer Science from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) since 2007. He is interested in Learning Analytics, Information Visualization, Human-Computer Interaction, Online Learning, Serious Games, and Plagiarism Detection. He received a 2008 post-graduate Fulbright scholarship in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL-UMD), working with Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant. In 2010, he became a member of the e-UCM group in the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), where since 2013 he is an Associate Professor.

Manuel has over 60 publications, both in international journals (20) and conferences (40), and has participated in over 15 projects, including 5 funded by the EU and 9 funded by the Spanish Government. He is also a member of the e-Madrid Network, which brings together large research universities in the Madrid Region interested in eLearning.

Iris Celorrio Aguilera is a Telecommunications Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Madrid and is currently a teacher in the degrees of Telecommunications Technology and Services Engineering, Economics, Marketing, Business Administration and Law, as well as in the Master’s Degree in Educational Technology, at the Open University of Madrid (UDIMA).

She has worked in various companies within the IT and telecommunications sector, as member of the product engineering, network engineering, computer systems, operation and maintenance, and project management departments.

Her research activity is focused on Educational Technology and she has published scientific articles and book chapters in the areas of technology applied to education, gamification and serious games. Currently, she is preparing her PhD on improvements in the design and evaluation of serious games for training and learning in the STEM field.

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