Creating Rubrics for Evaluating Digital Educational Games

Evidence: Rubric for Evaluating Digital Educational Games and Evaluation of a Game – Lure of the Labyrinth (March 29, 2015)

Learning Outcome(s):

  • Critically assess and evaluate resources for best practice in mobile learning and gaming environments
  • Integration of current cognitive learning and educational gaming theory and examination of current research around best and emerging practices

Reflection to support evidence:

As part of OLTD 508 – Mobile Technologies and Game-Based Learning, we were asked to create a rubric that could be used to evaluate a ‘serious’ or ‘educational’ game (Assignment #3). We were given the option of working with a group or individually; I chose to complete this assignment individually. I created my rubric using a blend of different models presented through course readings. I then used the rubric to evaluate a free online math game – The Lure of the Labyrinth – to both test out the effectiveness and ease of use of my rubric and to determine if the game may be one I would choose to use with my students.

While creating the rubric, I had to step back and think carefully about what criteria or characteristics of a learning tool were important to me as an educator. Problem-solving characteristics and integration of knowledge content of the game are important and these can appear differently based on different pedagogies. I found my learning had come full circle as I revisited familiar terms such as behaviourism and constructivism as applied to game creation, and how the ultimate goal of a game should be the synthesis of knowledge from a variety of sources (connectivism).

Researching principles of game-based learning introduced me to James Gee (2013), whose Thirteen Principles of Game-based Learning helped frame additional rubric categories such as ‘feedback/instruction’ and ‘student engagement in the game’. Gee’s approach to categorizing game-based learning principles as Empowering Learners, Problem-solving and Create Deep Understanding has helped me focus on the why of using a game as a learning tool as opposed to worrying specifically about the tool itself. While I do not usually use a game-based approach in my teaching, I can see these Thirteen Principles as general good teaching practice.

Applying my rubric to The Lure of the Labyrinth helped me identify potential gray areas that needed to be edited in my initial draft. This game is well-respected for its content and educational appropriateness, so I was pleased that the game received a high score on my rubric.

With so many mobile learning and gaming tools and resources available, it is important to critically assess whether or not the tool you wish to use will actually accomplish the learning you desire. This cannot be done without first establishing at least minimum criteria against which to evaluate. The criteria should be grounded in current cognitive learning and educational gaming theory, as opposed to simply which tool has the most bells and whistles. Ultimately, the first priority is to ensure the technology you are using relates to the learning goals rather than trying to determine which learning outcome might be met by the tool. I am confident that I can apply my rubric to any new mobile learning or gaming resource I might wish to use with my students.


Gee, J.P. (2013, Nov 13). Jim Gee Principles on Gaming. [Video file]. Retrieved March 23, 2015 from


Evidence link(s):

master copy game evaluation rubric

evaluation of lure of labyrinth

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