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Chapter 3 - How Players Learn to Learn While Playing?


The main objective of the chapter is to show the benefits and shortcomings of video games for the student acquisition of the "learning to learn" competence regarding:

  • Skills such as self-reflection and self-awareness of the learning processes that are associated with this competence.
  • Knowledge acquired about what is known and unknown, about the relevance of the contents or about the ability to learn for oneself.
  • Attitudes and values such as motivation or self confidence that are key to acquiring the "learning to learn" competence, where properly used video games can play an important role as fun tools. 

To do so, we will begin by reflecting on the definition of "learning to learn" and the bibliography regarding video games in classrooms. Later, the positive and negative aspects of video games will be studied, especially insofar as use by students for acquiring the skills, knowledge, attitudes and values that go hand in hand with the "learning to learn" competence.


On December 18, 2006 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union created a series of considerations and recommendations under the title "Key Competences for Lifelong Learning: A European Reference Framework", which describes the fundamental qualities that should be taken into account when planning, organizing and managing lifelong learning. This publication includes the following eight basic competences, of which, the "learning to learn" competence is considered the one that supports all learning activities:

  1. Communication in the mother tongue.
  2. Communication in foreign languages.
  3. Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology.
  4. Digital competence.
  5. Learning to learn.
  6. Social and civic competences.
  7. Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship.
  8. Cultural awareness and expression.

The third and fourth competences make reference to use of technological tools.

The Theoretical Framework


We begin by defining "learning to learn" as the competence to dissociate the teacher-student dichotomy so that students are able to learn autonomously and self-consciously. We also established the skills, attitudes and values associated with this competence. After analysing the main academic studies on the application of video games in the classroom, a series of guidelines were provided in order to realize the potential of video games for the acquisition of "learning to learn".

Video games have proven to be useful tools for the acquisition of certain fundamental skills, such as self-discipline, the conscious search for learning opportunities, the capacity for self-evaluation, the autonomous search for information, the ability to solve problems and overcome obstacles, the proper management of change and the ability to apply prior learning to new scenarios. In contrast, video games should not be considered the most appropriate tools for the acquisition of skills regarding search for help such as advice, orientation, guidance or support.

Bibliographical references

Practical Activities

Case Scenarios

Assessment Activity

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

The V4T - Videogames 4 Teachers project © 2018