PALX – Player and learner experience – Can we design for both?


In recent years, a gamified or game-based perspective on learning contexts has gained momentum: corroborated by findings in the education literature, game-based or gamified approaches to learning stress the role of motivation and engagement in shaping and enabling an individual’s learning experience. Learners are then seen as players.

In game-based learning, learning contexts are enhanced with games for learning in an interactive and playful manner. Alternatively, gamified learning contexts have game-like artefacts created for specific learning contexts. More generally a series of games or game-like elements is arranged into a context which operates in coordination with the learning in a physical learning environment.

The equation “learners as players” is thus emerging as a trend in the area of HCI, as also witnessed by conferences or events concerning game-based learning, participatory design or game design for children, technology enhanced learning with games or gamification as key topics.

The PALX workshop aims at critically reflecting on the equation “learner as player” in HCI.


A proposal will have to be submitted as pdf via mail in the form of a paper written in English. The paper length should be approximately 1000–1500 words

 Submissions should contain case studies or reflexive accounts of experiences concerning the equation “learner as player”, and a short list of bibliographic background references. In particular we welcome visuals or videos to illustrate these narratives. 

 Case studies and reflexive accounts will be encouraged to address, while not being limited to, the following topics:

  1. When researchers try applying design principles of games to learning, or vice-versa, dichotomous issues often emerge. What stirs design decisions when such dichotomies arise? How should researchers proceed when there is a clash between principles of game design and evidence from learning theories? 
  2. Can researchers alwaysdesign for a learning experience and for a game-based, gamified or playful experience? Or do learning contexts bring specific restraints with them? And does the equation “learner as player” work for all learners alike, or does it not? 
  3. Who are key stakeholders in such an arena? Given the type of stakeholders involved in designing for learners as players, what are the value dilemmas that can occur? How can these be overcome?
  4. What are effective and engaging games, gamified solutions, or playful experiences that work in practice for learners? And why so? Can researchers abstract general guidelines or principles from them? 

If a project for “learners as players” did not work, what are reasons for failure, important to turn into design guidelines for not repeating the same mistakes over and over?


All submissions will be reviewed by at least two program committee members. To assess papers, reviewers will judge the originality and relevance of the work for the workshop, as well as the quality of writing, e.g., proper referencing. 

 The purpose of PALX is to allow researchers working in the area of learner and player experience design to share even preliminary results to the community, provided that originality and significance of the contribution are ensured.


Prior to the workshop, participants will be asked to read narratives and to add comments, questions or sum-up what they took away from each contribution.  

 During the workshop, participants will be asked to introduce their experience or case study in a 5-10 minute presentation. Afterwards, participants will use participative and cooperative work methods for discussing and summing up emerging themes, guided by the workshop organizers. 

 After the workshop, its outcomes will be used to set a future agenda concerning the design of game-based, gamified or playful experiences for learners, publishable in both academic as more applied channels.


Accepted participants’ narratives will be made available and shared with other participants through the workshop website: <>.

 Accepted papers will be invited for a focus section in the IxD&A journal, relevant for the CHI community, planned for Autumn 2016.


Paper submission deadline (extended, 1 week): August 9th, 2015

Notification of acceptance/rejection (updated): August 15th, 2015

Early registration date: August 28th, 2015

Workshop date: September 28th, 2015


Gabriella Dodero (, Computer Science Faculty, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy

Rosella Gennari (, Computer Science Faculty, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy

Alessandra Melonio (, Computer Science Faculty, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, Italy