Vol. 32 No. 2 (2017)
Research Articles

Designing inclusive learning for twice exceptional students in Minecraft

Muireann O’Sullivan
University College Dublin
Nigel Robb
University College Dublin
Stephen Howell
University College Dublin
Kevin Marshall
Microsoft Ireland
Lizbeth Goodman
University College Dublin

Published 2017-12-16


  • Twice exceptional learners,
  • Minecraft,
  • giftedness,
  • inclusive design,
  • virtual worlds,
  • computational thinking
  • ...More

How to Cite

O’Sullivan, M., Robb, N., Howell, S., Marshall, K., & Goodman, L. (2017). Designing inclusive learning for twice exceptional students in Minecraft. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education Revue Internationale Du E-Learning Et La Formation à Distance, 32(2). Retrieved from https://www.ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/1043


Twice exceptional learners are intellectually or creatively gifted yet also experience one or more learning difficulties. These students face a unique set of challenges in educational settings. Recommended strategies for accommodating twice exceptional learners focus on – among other things – (1) providing freedom and variety, so that students can engage with learning in a way that interests them, plays to their strengths, and compensates for their learning difficulties; (2) allowing students to engage with simulated and real-world problems; and (3) providing an adaptable  environment that is pleasing to students, and sensitive to any specific needs they may have as a result of learning difficulties. In this article, we show how the video game Minecraft can facilitate learning environments that embody these recommendations. We describe in detail a variety of specific techniques for implementing such environments, including contextualised learning artefacts and puzzle rooms. We then demonstrate examples of learning environments that we have previously implemented using these techniques. These environments are currently being used in an empirical evaluation, as part of a larger project investigating the effectiveness of Minecraft as an educational resource for twice exceptional students.



Bien qu’ils éprouvent une ou plusieurs difficultés d’apprentissage, les étudiants doublement exceptionnels (c’est-dire ayant des besoins éducatifs spéciaux) sont doués intellectuellement ou au niveau de la créativité. Ces étudiants font face à un ensemble unique de défis en contexte éducatif. Les stratégies recommandées pour accommoder les apprenants doublement exceptionnels sont, en autres, centrés sur (1) proposer de la liberté et de la variété afin que les étudiants puissent s’engager dans leur apprentissage de la manière qui les intéresse, qui fonctionne avec leurs forces et compense leurs difficultés ; (2) permettre aux étudiants de s’engager dans des problèmes réels ou simulés; et (3) offrir un environnement adaptable qui plait aux étudiants et qui est sensible à tout besoin particulier qu’ils peuvent avoir en fonction de leurs difficultés d’apprentissage. Dans cet article, nous montrons comment le jeu vidéo Minecraft peut faciliter les environnements d’apprentissage qui intègrent ces recommandations. Nous décrivons en détail une variété de techniques spécifiques pour implémenter de tels environnements, y compris des artefacts d’apprentissage contextualisés et de casse-tête. Nous montrons ensuite des exemples d’environnements d’apprentissage que nous avons précédemment implémentés en utilisant ces techniques. Ces environnements font en ce moment l’objet d’une évaluation empirique, en tant que partie d’un plus grand projet d’enquête sur l’efficacité de Minecraft comme ressource éducative pour les étudiants doublement exceptionnels.

Mots-clés: apprenants doublement exceptionnels, Minecraft, douance, conception inclusive, mondes virtuels, théorie du calcul



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