Unlocking the potential of game-based learning for soft skills development: A comprehensive review


  • Bee Sian Tan Faculty of Information Technology and Computing, Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology, Malaysia.
  • Kim Soon Chong Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Built Environment, University College of Sedaya International, Malaysia




game-based learning, soft skills development, educational technologies, teaching strategies


Soft skills are critical for undergraduate students to succeed in the workplace, but there exists a gap between the skills possessed by undergraduate students and those required by the industry. This review explores the use of game-based learning (GBL) for developing soft skills among undergraduate students. The review aims to answer four research questions that cover essential aspects of GBL, such as its theoretical foundation, skill development, game design elements, and assessment methods. Following the Preferred Reporting for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, we selected 24 journal articles with empirical results from Scopus databases spanning 2017 to 2023, applying inclusion and exclusion criteria to finalize 18 articles for review. The review identified potential challenges in using GBL for soft skills development, such as the exploration of least developed soft skills, effectiveness of theoretical foundation adoption, game design elements development, and validation of assessment methods. This study aims to provide recommendations for game designers and educators to enhance GBL for soft skills development. The study proposes integrating established learning theories with emerging technologies and social media to provide a personalised learning experience, exploring generative AI in soft skills games, designing open-ended or sandbox game environments to develop innovation skills, incorporating in-game assessment features to assess self-management skills, aligning game rewards with learning objectives, encouraging peer-to-peer assessment, and collaborating with psychometricians to align captured data with the intended soft skills assessment. The study also highlights limitations and suggests future studies to address them, such as adopting emerging technologies to address limitations. Overall, the study contributes to the understanding of GBL for soft skills development and provides valuable insights and recommendations for future research and practice in this domain.


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Author Biographies

Bee Sian Tan, Faculty of Information Technology and Computing, Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology, Malaysia.

Tan Bee Sian is a assistant professor from Faculty of Computing and Information Technology, Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology (TARUMT). Her research area focuses on game design, game development, augmented reality and virtual reality application development. She has a Bachelor degree in Information Technology majoring in multimedia studies and Master degree of Computer Science majoring in software technologies from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. She also has a PhD in Game-based Learning from University of Education Sultan Idris (UPSI). She is also a certified Unity Developer since 2018, Unity certified user programmer and Unity certified virtual reality developer since 2023. 

Kim Soon Chong, Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Built Environment, University College of Sedaya International, Malaysia

Chong Kim Soon is an assistant professor from Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Built Environment, University College Sedaya International (UCSI). His research area focuses on IoT, electronic engineering, games for health and biomedical devices. He has a Bachelor degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Master degree of Science majoring in Electrical, Electronic and System Engineering and PhD in Electrical, Electronic and System Engineering from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.


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How to Cite

Tan, B. S., & Chong, K. S. (2023). Unlocking the potential of game-based learning for soft skills development: A comprehensive review. Journal of ICT in Education, 10(2), 29–54. https://doi.org/10.37134/jictie.vol10.2.3.2023