A pedagogical approach to teaching game programming: Using the PRIMM approach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

475 Downloads (Pure)


Students repeatedly find programming a complex subject to grasp and this can be compounded when teaching within a computer game context. Comprehending the concept of programming beyond the syntax of the chosen programming language can present many barriers for the student to overcome. Students frequently associate the term "programming" with the creation of "text-based" language-specific code neglecting the associated problem-solving activities of developing pseudocode algorithms, computational thinking, problem identification and pattern recognition. Specialising the programming for games can persuade students to neglect problem-solving activities and perceive the programming fundamentals taught in introductory first-level courses as not applicable. Suggesting that the teaching methodology employed at an introductory level does not meet the needs of the student. Various academic studies would suggest there is a need for an approach to programming that brings together as many, if not all, the cognitive aspects of programming - pseudocode algorithms, computational thinking, problem identification, pattern recognition as well as the development of coded solutions. The Predict, Run, Investigate, Modify and Make (PRIMM) approach carefully developed for effective use in schools lends itself nicely for use in a game programming setting. The PRIMM approach is predicated on the spheres of programming research - Use-Modify-Create, Levels of Abstraction, and reading and tracing code for understanding. It provides a framework for the educator to administer "scaffolded" and directed exercises to the student to aid their understanding. Although developed as a general pedagogy for teaching the fundamental aspects of programming, the methodology provides an approach that could improve the teaching and delivery of game programming modules. This paper will discuss an initial attempt to improve the teaching and student understanding of games programming through the application of the PRIMM methodology to the module delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th European Conference on Games Based Learning
EditorsPanagiotis Fotaris
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences International
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2020
Event14th European Conference on Game-Based Learning - The University of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Sep 202025 Sep 2020
Conference number: 14

Publication series

NameEuropean Conference on Games Based Learning
PublisherAcademic Conferences International Limited
ISSN (Print)2049-0992
ISSN (Electronic)2049-100X


Conference14th European Conference on Game-Based Learning
Abbreviated titleECGBL 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • programming, pedagogy, methodology, PRIMM


Dive into the research topics of 'A pedagogical approach to teaching game programming: Using the PRIMM approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this