Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master Arts in Game Design


Game Design

First Advisor

Jeremiah Ratican

Second Advisor

Benjamin Fulcher

Third Advisor

Steven Cody


The technology of virtual reality (VR) and the gamification of education and learning has had proven educational benefits, especially in secondary education. However, there remains little to no research on the heuristic elements and mechanics that contribute to learning at the postsecondary level of education. Most research conducted has been refined to science programs, but even in these instances, a study of the effects and interests of different demographics has yet to be considered. Given the visual nature of how the discipline of art history has traditionally been taught, there are a number of virtual reality (VR) applications to assist instructors in the field better engage students in immersive environments to provide a more accurate understanding of subjects covered. In order to capitalize on the strengths of the new digital medium, including immersion, engagement, and presence, the end user needs to be considered. This heuristic study investigates the different experiences, preferences, learning styles, and expectations relating to educational gaming of art history students at a private, Midwestern college. Results demonstrate that effective game design and development need consider the target audience to optimize user experience and learning outcomes.


Copyright 2022, James Hutson.