Module code: PSYM154

Module Overview

Design of games and digital experiences benefit from the study of psychology due to the need to understand the mental functioning of the users. Gamification, in turn, also facilitates psychological research and intervention, as in assessments, education, behaviour change, etc. This module is about developing the knowledge and skills to adopt psychological principles and findings in the design of games and digital experience, as well as to apply gamification techniques to render psychological research and intervention more engaging and effective. We will review the cognitive, emotional, and motivational aspects of the human mind relevant to game mechanics, and investigate why certain games are more engaging than others. A particular focus will be made on how gamification facilitates psychology research and applications via better personalization, higher efficiency, and more enjoyment.

Module provider


Module Leader

WONG Alan (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 65

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 95

Lecture Hours: 13

Seminar Hours: 4

Tutorial Hours: 12

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Fundamentals of game design

Player motivation and emotion

Cognition and game mechanics

Understanding of player needs and design requirements

Gamifying psychological research and interventions involving assessments, education and learning, and behaviour change

Training on group work

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Gamification project report (Group) 40
Coursework Game critique (Individual) 60

Alternative Assessment

Group report can be alternatively assessed by means of an individual report.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of key concepts in the field, critically assess the design of games and digital experiences, study player and researcher/practitioner needs, integrate game elements, present ideas, and obtain feedback with respect to gamification of psychological research and intervention.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework (gamification project report; addresses learning outcomes 1-5) An extended project to applying game elements to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of a psychological research / intervention. Students will work in groups for this project to encourage the learning of collaborative work dynamics.

  • Coursework (game critique; addresses learning outcomes 1-4). Students are tasked to generate a report assessing critically a game from a psychological perspective.


Formative assessment:

• Students present their ideas for peer review and feedback prior to project completion.

• Each contact session involves practical exercises where results are shared with peers and the lecturer for feedback. In addition, workshops involve live generation and feedback on work. The student-led seminar sessions give student’s an opportunity to prepare a formal presentation of their work and receive feedback from peers and the lecturer.



(see above)

Module aims

  • Introduce psychological theories and findings in the understanding of player behavior and experiences in games
  • Develop the ability to critique the design of games and digital experiences from a psychological perspective
  • Develop the ability to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of psychological research and interventions through gamification
  • Develop collaboration and communication skills

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Articulate the psychology theories and concepts applicable to the design of games and digital experiences K
002 Apply psychological theories and research to critically analyze the design of games and digital environments CP
003 Generate proposals to address challenges in psychological research and interventions using gamification concepts CP
004 Present ideas in oral and/or written format effectively T
005 Work creatively and collaboratively with other members of a team T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to include lectures paired with discussion and practical work to introduce and apply psychology principles in game design. Workshops and student-led seminars will demonstrate the potentials of applying gamification and facilitate students in their work on the gamification project.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSYM154

Other information

The School of Psychology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module contributes to the development of the following capabilities:


Employability: This module will help equip students with the skills and knowledge to critically analyze existing practice and create new ideas in the design of games and digital experiences. Transferrable skills in team work will also be developed via course work. Assignments can be readily used to demonstrate to potential employers what students will be able to contribute.


Global and Cultural Capabilities: The module will help students develop knowledge and sensitivity towards the diverse needs of game players from different backgrounds. Teaching materials will incorporate readings and examples from different parts of the world and people from different backgrounds. Group-based learning activities offers a chance for students to learn from each other, thus building such competencies as cross-cultural understanding and tolerance.


Digital Capabilities: This module will enhance and develop students’ capabilities in the analysis of games often in the digital context. Students will use SurreyLearn and a range of software that facilitates in-class group activities, meetings, and presentation.


Resourcefulness and Resilience: Students will use a range of sources to find solutions for real-life problems, which will help develop resourcefulness. Working in groups during class exercise and group work will help develop the habit and skills to learn from each other. Students will be encouraged to share their personal experiences and expertise to reflect on challenges faced by individuals in different contexts as well as ways to overcome them.


Sustainability: Many of the examples used in the class involves social, economic, and environmental problems psychologists help to address, and students will get to appreciate the power of gamifying psychological research and intervention in promoting sustainability.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology in Game Design and Digital Innovation MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.