Affective Computing and Serious Games


Hiran Ekanayake - BSc, MPhil
PhD candidate, University of Skövde and Stockholm University, Sweden
Lecturer, University of Colombo School of Computing, Sri Lanka

Thesis Work (a more focused title):

Automated task assessment of trainees using affective/bio -feedback techniques in complex training games

Research Problem and Question:

E-learning has transformed traditional teacher-centered learning to more student-centered learning with the use of electronic media to benefit a large number of students. However, current e-learning systems lack accountability to cognitive and emotional aspects of individual learners, and as a result, learners often end up with deeply frustrated or bored during learning sessions. Although, a number of techniques have been proposed to overcome these limitations, such as personalized or adaptive learning, a most promising approach is by integrating learning content into a game which is formally studied in serious games. Today, high-tech simulator technologies along with serious games build up very complex learning environments making it possible to offer many different types of learning including skills training and experienced-based learning. However, serious games for skills training still require assistance from human instructors to guide and assess trainees, which brings additional cost and time, and does not scale to the expected objective of student-centered learning. Another problem is balancing player's engagement between entertainment and learning practice, especially in training games, because existing approaches, such as score and levels, are not effective as such and psychological theories explaining such aspects lead to some confusion. Moreover, although there are many reports presenting successful use of complex virtual training environments for skills training, still there is an uncertainty in the conjecture that virtual performance imply similar real-world performance.

Therefore, my investigation looks into psychophysiological signals and their use for the assessment of meaningful engagement and development of task specific competency of human learners in complex game-based virtual training environments.

People and Support:

Prof. Tom Ziemke, Cognition & Interaction Lab, University of Skövde, Sweden
Prof. Robert Ramberg, Knowledge and Communication Engineering Lab (K2lab), Stockholm University, Sweden
Dr. K.P. Hewagamage, University of Colombo School of Computing, Sri Lanka
Dr. Per Backlund, InGaMe Lab, University of Skövde, Sweden

Related Publications:

[1] Ekanayake, H., Backlund, P., Ziemke, T., Ramberg, R. and Hewagamage, K. (2010). Game Interaction State Graphs for Evaluation of User Engagement in Explorative and Experience-based Training Games. International Conference on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions (ICTer), September 29 – October 1, 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Available at:

[2] Ekanayake, H.B., Karunarathna, D.D. and Hewagamage, K.P. (2009), Determining the Psychological Involvement in Multimedia Interactions. The International Journal on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions, Vol. 02, No. 01 (2009), 11-20

[3] Ekanayake, H.E.M.H.B. (2009), Cognitive-Emotional User Correction for Multimedia Interactions Using Visual Attention and Psychophysiological Signals. MPhil Thesis, University of Colombo School of Computing, Universiry of Colombo, Sri Lanka

[4] Ekanayake, H., Karunarathna, D.D. and Hewagamage, K.P. (2006), Behavior-based Cognitive Architecture for Meditative E-Learning. Proceedings of 8th International Information Technology Conference, October 12-13, Colombo, Sri Lanka

[5] Ekanayake, H., Karunarathna, D.D. and Hewagamage, K.P. (2006), Cognitive Architecture for Affective eLearning. Special Issue of International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management (IJCIM) Volume 14, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on eLearning for Knowledge-Based Society, August 3-4, 2006, Bangkok, Thailand