University of Oulu, 2016


Persuasive Games: Designing Games for Change - Doctoral course

‘Games for Change’ are games that are designed to motivate people to change, modify or reinforce their behaviours without coercion or deceit. This is a subset of the field of persuasive technology which is also referred to as Persuasive Games. This course would explore the application of persuasive design strategies and various implementations, ethical issues, design, and evaluation of persuasive games. We would also explore existing research in the field of Persuasive Games and their implementation of persuasive strategies to cause behaviour change. Students would get hand-on experience on the design and evaluation of persuasive games prototypes aimed at solving known societal issues including health and wellness, safety and
security, and environmental sustainability.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students would be able to:

  • Demonstrate a good understanding of Persuasive games development processes.
  • Demonstrate a good understanding of persuasive strategies for persuasive game design and their various implementation.
  • Analyse and evaluate the persuasiveness of existing games that motivate behaviour change

Course outline

  • Introduction to Persuasive Technology and Games
  • Quick Overview of Persuasive Strategies
  1.   Rewards and Praises
  2.   Punishment
  3.   Reminders and Suggestions
  4. Personalization and Tunneling
  5. Scarcity
  6. Social Proof
  7. Recognition
  8. Competition
  9. Cooperation
  10. Simulation
  11. Authority and Endorsements Trustworthiness
  12. Liking and Surface Credibility

Overview of Persuasive Games Research

  • Analysis of persuasive games from various domains based on their:
  • Game Concept
  • Design Methodology 
  • Persuasive Strategies
  • User Study and Evaluation

Course Deliverables

Students are expected to submit two deliverables for this course: - A prototype of a persuasive game exhibiting some selected persuasive strategies. - A critic of two selected persuasive games with respect to the persuasive strategies, their implemented, evaluation, target behaviour, ethical issues, etc.


Dr. Rita Orji


Is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University. Her research areas include Human-Computer Interaction, Persuasive Technology, Games for Change, and Digital Health. Her research group is particularly interested in investigating user-centered approaches to designing interactive systems to motivate people for actions and causes that are beneficial for them and their communities as well as how interactive systems can be designed for the under-served population (HCI for Development (HCI4D)). 


Course Schedule

Date: 2, 4 & 9.11.2020

Days: Mon, Wed & Mon 14.00-18.00.

Hours: 4 hours daily

Credit Point


Mode of delivery

Remote lectures and exercises, independent study

Contact person


Digital Addiction and Persuasive Design - Doctoral course


Digital media usage can be problematic and described by properties like being compulsive, excessive, obsessive, and hasty. It can be associated with negative life experiences such as procrastination, preoccupation, decreased physical activities, and interrupted sleep. Such ‘digital addiction’ (DA) can relate to more profound personal and contextual factors. Still, digital media design can be argued as one of the contributors through its persuasive elements such as notification, personalised content, and peer pressure facilitation. Simultaneously, there is an unprecedented opportunity that the same medium of the addictive experience plays a role in the solution space. We can design digital media to monitor usage and deliver persuasive prevention and corrective strategies in a personalised, real-time, and intelligent style. In this course, we will discuss the concept of DA and the role of digital media design in triggering problematic usage and, at the same timple, helping to regulate it.

Course Objectives

The course will consolidate skills in the analysis of DA and the role of technology in both triggering and regulating it. The course aims to

  • introduce the concept of DA, its latest definitions and approaches to handling it
  • elaborate the different facets of user experiences characterising DA
  • discuss the role of persuasive technology design in triggering DA and facilitating it
  • discuss the role of persuasive technology in combatting DA and helping self-regulation

Learning Outcome

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • discuss and critically analyse the concept of DA
  • critically examine persuasive elements in the digital media that contribute to triggering DA
  • create socio-technical persuasive solutions to combatting DA
  • raise and debate professional and ethical issues in the area of technology design and DA


 Lecture 1: DA: Definitions and Foundations

Lecture 2: Approaches to combat DA

Lecture 3: Fear-based DA

Lecture 4: Self-regulation and DA

Lecture 5: Escapism-based DA

Lecture 6: Online Peer Support Groups for DA


Professor Raian Ali


Dr. Raian Ali holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Trento, Italy. He joined Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, as a Professor in the College of Science and Engineering. Before that he was a Professor in Computing at Bournemouth University in the UK and founded and led the Engineering and Social Informatics Research Group (ESOTICS), focusing on the interrelation between technology and social requirements such as motivation, transparency, and wellbeing. Dr. Raian is in the editorial board, organising and program committee of leading conferences and journals in the area of information systems and social informatics
He leads multiple projects on the theme of making digital media and online gaming and gambling fairer through data-driven real-time transparency to empower users, support the conscious and regulated nature of their usage, and increase digital wellness. He frequently provides consultancy and policy advice, nationally and internationally, around the theme.

More info

Course schedule

Date: 17-19.11.2020

Days: Tue, Wed & Thu: 14.00-18.00.

Hours: 4 hours of lectures daily

Credit Point


Mode of delivery

Remote lectures and exercises, independent study


OASIS research unit

Contact person

Last updated: 10.11.2020