Health promotion and health education through Digital Game-Based Learning within the framework of the Cyprus curriculum

Digital education games are becoming increasingly popular as an educational tool in both primary and secondary education. The primary aim of these games is to engage individuals in interactive and enjoyable activities that can improve their knowledge, skills, and behaviours. The educational games in the form of software for Digital game-based learning (DGBL) which will be developed as part of the iLearn4Health Erasmus+ project are expected to make learning more accessible and fun and reach larger and more diverse audiences in the domain of Health Εducation.

The aforementioned health education games will cover the following thematic areas for specific target age groups:

  • 6-7 year olds – Healthy dietary habits
  • 7-8 year olds – Be Active-Train yourself
  • 8-9 year olds – Accidents and Protection
  • 9-10 year olds – Stereotypes and stigma in community
  • 10-11 year olds – Internet addiction
  • 11-12 year olds – Sexual health promotion and interpersonal relationships-The gender difference

Health education has been for years part of the Cyprus curriculum being taught from the age of six until the age of as it is considered to be a critical component of the overall wellness of human beings and since it plays an essential role in disease prevention and management. However, traditional methods of health education, i.e., textbooks, may not always be engaging or effective for all learners. As technology continues to evolve, digital games have emerged as a promising tool for teaching Health Education in an iterative manner.

Therefore, the aim of this article is to explore the benefits the iLearn4Health digital games are expected to have on Health Education in the Cyprus reality and how these can improve learners’ understanding and retention of important health concepts.

Health Education in Public Primary Schools in Cyprus

According to the Cyprus Curriculum, the main objective of Health Education is to promote the mental, physical and social well-being of students, as a means of life, on one hand by developing their personal and social skills as well as values, and on the other hand through collective action so as to upgrade their social and natural environment.

In Primary Education, the aim is for students not simply to be informed about the physical consequences of certain behaviours, but mainly to enable them judge the factors which influence these behaviours, practice communication and cooperation skills, conflict management and dealing with peer pressure. Additionally, to enable students face social stereotypes, acquire cooking skills and deal with issues such as safety, consumer education, rights and responsibilities, use and abuse of addictive substances, sex education, etc.

Below, the main thematic areas of the Health Education derived from the Health Education National Curriculum (Department of Health Education, n.d.) are presented:

Self-development and empowerment

1.1. Development and self-development

1.2. Emotional education and self-esteem

1.3. Life values

Developing a safe and healthy lifestyle

2.1. Healthy lifestyle and living conditions

2.2. Food and health

2.3. Physical activity

2.4. Use and abuse of substances

2.5. Security 

3. Creating and improving a social self

3.1. Family planning, sexual and reproductive health

3.2. Development of social skills and relationships

3.3. Acceptance and management of diversity and interculturality

4. Becoming an active citizen

4.1. Consumer education

4.2. Economic and vocational education

4.3. Rights and obligations

It is evident from what has been stated so far, that all six thematic topics of iLearn4health for which digital games will be created are within the frame of reference of the Cyprus Health Education Curriculum. More precisely they cover the areas 2 and 3 above of the curriculum, namely Developing a safe and healthy lifestyle and Creating and improving a social self. Hence, primary school health education teachers will have tools in their hands which will, enhance their teaching and consequently students’ learning outcomes, in multiple ways.

Expected benefits of the iLearn4Health digital games

The use of these digital education games in health promotion are expected to have a great number of benefits to our students in Cyprus.

They can provide students with increased engagement. More specifically, these games are expected to capture learners’ attention and motivate them to actively participate in the learning process. This engagement will surely lead to better retention of information and improved learning outcomes (Smetana & Bell, 2012). Secondly, they will provide learners with safe and controlled environment. It goes without saying that in a game-based learning environment, learners can safely explore and experiment with health-related concepts and behaviors without fear of negative consequences (Gee, 2007).

The digital games can be customized to the individual needs and preferences of the users and can provide instant feedback and rewards to keep them motivated.  The immediate and personalized feedback, will allow them to assess their understanding of health-related concepts and behaviours and make necessary adjustments (Smetana & Bell, 2012). Moreover, digital games designed to adapt to learners’ different age groups and individual needs and preferences will allow them to learn at their own pace and in their own style.

They will also simulate health-related scenarios and allow learners to experiment with different strategies and solutions, helping them to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Last but not least, these games are due to provide opportunities for our learners to collaborate and interact with peers, enhancing their communication and teamwork skills (Mayer, 2014).

Overall, these digital games can become in the hands of our educators an effective and engaging tool to health education and at the same time provide our learners with a safe, controlled, and interactive environment for learning and experimentation.


In conclusion, digital education games have emerged as a powerful and valuable tool in health education, promoting healthy lifestyles and empowering individuals to take control of their own health. These games will, without any doubt, offer a fun and interactive way to educate students about health-related topics, improve knowledge retention, and motivate them to make positive health changes. As technology continues to advance, there is a great opportunity for game developers and health educators to collaborate so as to create innovative and effective games. Looking towards the future it is very likely that digital education games will become an integral part of health education and why not education in general.

By Claire Kouppas and

Stella Timotheou


Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Computers in entertainment (CIE)1(1), 20-20.

Mayer, R. E. (2014). Computer games for learning: An evidence-based approach. MIT press.

Smetana, L., & Bell, R. L. (2012). Computer Games That Teach: Science, Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(4), 913–921.

Department of Health Education of Cyprus Ministry of Education, Sport, and Youth. (n.d.).