Designing for metacognition in game-based learning: a qualitative review

Eelco Braad, Nick Degens, Wijnand IJsselsteijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Game-based learning (GBL) is an interactive form of training in which instructional elements are combined with motivational elements within one GBL-environment. Under the right circumstances, GBL can contribute to both learning and motivation. It is, however, unclear which elements in the design of GBL-environments can encourage effective and efficient learning. Metacognition is cognition about cognition: knowing about one’s own knowledge and applying that knowledge in practice. While research has found that learners can benefit from metacognitive support within learning environments, it is unclear how to encourage metacognition in GBL-environments to improve learning effectively and efficiently. In this paper, we present a qualitative review of metacognition within GBL. We discuss the objectives, interventions, and effects reported in studies that address metacognition in GBL-environments. The aim of this review is to inform educational designers, researchers, and other professionals who want to address metacognition in GBL, and the review concludes with concrete implications for design and research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-69
Number of pages17
JournalTranslational Issues in Psychological Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • education
  • computer games
  • technology-enhanced learning


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