Non-Degree / Dates: 12-16 July 2021

Due to the insufficient number of participants the course will be merged with the Gamification course.

Serious games and gamification are different things – serious games are designed to achieve some serious goal. Gamification is the use of game elements in a non-game context and not designing full-fledged games. However, there are also a lot of similarities – how to design an engaging experience and what game elements to choose to support this goal. In summer school, the structure of both courses was also planned similarly. By attending this joint course you will get theoretical knowledge from both domains (serious games and gamification), but on a practical level, you can choose your preferred practical homework – designing a serious game or gamification

The Digital Learning Games international Master’s programme is offering a one­-week course on designing serious games.

Serious games are games designed for a purpose other than just entertainment. This purpose can relate to defense, education, science, health care, emergency management, urban planning, engineering, politics, and so on. In the Digital Learning Games programme, we combine game design with interaction design and educational psychology to create serious games for education. This short summer course is based on some of the material used in the programme.

During this intensive course, participants will learn the essentials of designing serious and learning games. Students with different backgrounds from all over the world will form teams and design new serious games from idea to working prototype. Participation in the course does not require programming skills.

Course structure:

1.The nature of serious games
2. Examples of serious and learning games
3. Game design process and roles
4. Finding an idea and defining the goal for your serious game
5. Gameplay: challenges and actions. Core mechanics
6. Design of game assets
7. Narrative design in games
8. Game development environments
9. Game development in Unity/Fungus

The language of instruction is English, and participants are expected to have a reasonable command of the language.

Why this online course?

  • The course brings together participants with different backgrounds⁠—education, art, software development, etc.⁠—who can learn a lot not only from the instructors, but also from each other.

  • You will find out how to make learning more fun for yourself and for others.

  • You will learn how to develop your game idea into an interactive prototype that other people can play.


Digital Learning Games master’s programme faculty and students.

Mikhail Fiadotau is a lecturer in the School of Digital Technologies at Tallinn University, where he primarily teaches in the Digital Learning Games MSc programme. His research covers such areas as game production, serious games and game-based learning, games education, and the cultural heterogeneity of gaming communities and practices. Mikhail has also been a participant in European research and development projects focusing on serious games and gamification.

Peadar Callaghan, MA is Chief Executive Officer at Integrated Game Solutions. He graduated from the University of Limerick with an MA in English Language Teaching. Peadar has worked as an educator in a number of countries from South Korea to Saudi Arabia. He has employed games and gamification in much of his work and is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Digital Learning Games at Tallinn University.

Ahmed El Shenawy is a freelance game designer and 3D modeller/visualizer. He is also a graduate student in the Digital Learning Games programme at Tallinn University. In addition to his studies, Ahmed has contributed to research and development activities at the university focusing on educational game creation.


The course will take place online using the Moodle platform and combine live video conferencing with pre-recorded video lectures, as well as individual and group work. Each day will be structured as follows:

10:00–11:30 Live discussion via video conferencing
12:00–14:00 Individual work: watching recorded presentations, completing quizzes
14:30–16:00 Creative session: practical game design activities in small groups
16:30–18:00 Feedback from the instructors (written comments given by the teachers, participants do not have to be online)

Time Zone: UTC/GMT +3 hours (Check the time difference with your location)

Please make sure you have a stable and reliable Internet connection, as well as access to a microphone so you can participate in the video conferencing sessions (a web camera is also recommended).


This course is for teachers, educational technologists, designers, developers, writers, graphic designers, and everyone else who is interested in serious games and game design. Our goal is to form heterogeneous teams comprising participants with different backgrounds.

Credit points

Upon full participation and completion of course work students will be awarded 2 ECTS points and a certificate of completion.

"I had the feeling that the entire teaching team is extremely competent and that they have a passion for their subject that was infectious."

Carina, Germany
Design of Serious Games (Online edition) #tss2020