Interactive Design and Gamification of eBooks for Mobile and Contextual Learning


  • Jose Bidarra Open University of Portugal (Universidade Aberta)
  • Mauro Figueiredo University of Algarve
  • Carlos Natálio Open University of Portugal (Universidade Aberta)



mobile learning, e-learning, multimedia, ebook, gamebook, iBooks, EPUB3


Given the global spread of mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android, it is relevant to consider the potential of these devices in teaching and learning. Our exploratory research was designed to evaluate the possibility of using common ebook formats to create gamebooks (gamified books) that are effective in teaching and learning. After analyzing the features available in many free or open tools, we decided to use iBooks Author to build a model of a dynamic book that may function as an educational game for "Environmental Studies", aimed at children in the 4th grade, mostly 9-10 years old, in Portuguese schools. This paper presents the design and features of this interactive book titled "Adventures in the Guadiana River", developed using the Apple iBook format, and especially set for the iPad retina. Because this is a proprietary format we also built a prototype following the EPUB3 standard and developed new ways to interact with content within this universal format. Preliminary tests with our prototypes revealed very good usability and promising pedagogical potential in the proposed models.

Author Biographies

Jose Bidarra, Open University of Portugal (Universidade Aberta)

Professor at Universidade Aberta (the Portuguese Open University), Head of the Informatics, Physics and Technology Section (SIFT), and coordinator of a master degree in multimedia.

Mauro Figueiredo, University of Algarve

Professor at the University of Algarve in Portugal. Member of CIMA (Marine and Environmental Research Center) and of CIAC (Center for the Arts and Communication Research).

Carlos Natálio, Open University of Portugal (Universidade Aberta)

Researcher of ebooks, multimedia and interactive systems. Specialized in digital authoring and organizational training on ebook design.




How to Cite

Bidarra, J., Figueiredo, M., & Natálio, C. (2015). Interactive Design and Gamification of eBooks for Mobile and Contextual Learning. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM), 9(3), pp. 24–32.