child with headset and laptop smiles while streaming


Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a process through which children and adults develop the skills to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Many video games, including those based in virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), teach children and adolescents social-emotional learning. This guide provides content related to video games and SEL.

Books & Chapters

Current and Potential Uses of Technology to Enhance SEL: What’s Now and What’s Next (2015)
This chapter examines the current, emerging, and potential future uses and challenges of various technologies in addressing social-emotional learning.

Gaming SEL: Games as Transformational to Social and Emotional Learning (2021)
This book explores research on games and SEL and opportunities for using games to teach SEL.


British Journal of Educational Technology
Computers & Education
Computers in Human Behavior
Educational Technology & Society
International Journal of Game-Based Learning
Journal of Games, Self, & Society
Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching & Learning
Well Played


Cejudo, J., Losada, L., & Feltrero, R. (2020). Promoting social and emotional learning and subjective well-being: Impact of the “Aislados” Intervention Program in Adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(2), 609.

Cejudo, J., López-Delgado, M. L., & Losada, L. (2019). Effectiveness of the videogame “Spock” for the improvement of the emotional intelligence on Psychosocial Adjustment in adolescents. Computers in Human Behavior, 101, 380–386.

Hromek, R., & Roffey, S. (2009). Promoting social and emotional learning with games. Simulation & Gaming, 40(5), 626–644.

Ip, H. H. S., Wong, S. W. L., Chan, D. F. Y., Byrne, J., Li, C., Yuan, V. S. N., Lau, K. S. Y., & Wong, J. Y. W. (2018). Enhance emotional and social adaptation skills for children with autism spectrum disorder: A virtual reality enabled approach. Computers & Education, 117, 1–15.

Ke, F., & Moon, J. (2018). Virtual collaborative gaming as social skills training for high-functioning autistic children. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49(4), 728–741.

Nikolayev, M., Clark, K., & Reich, S. M. (2016). Social-emotional learning opportunities in online games for preschoolers. Emotions, Technology, and Digital Games, 211–229.

Parsons, S., & Mitchell, P. (2002). The potential of virtual reality in social skills training for people with autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 46(5), 430–443.

Walker, G., & Venker Weidenbenner, J. (2019). Social and emotional learning in the age of virtual play: Technology, empathy, and learning. Journal of Research in Inno

Weissblueth, E., & Nissim, Y. (2018). The contribution of virtual reality to social and emotional learning in pre-service teachers. Creative Education, 09(10), 1551–1564.

Zheng, L. R., Oberle, C. M., Hawkes-Robinson, W. A., & Daniau, S. (2021). Serious games as a complementary tool for Social Skill Development in young people: A systematic review of the literature. Simulation & Gaming, 52(6), 686–714.


Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
CASEL’s website includes the latest research on social-emotional learning as well as a library of SEL-related assessments.

Common Sense Education – Emotional Intelligence Apps and Games
This website offers reviews of apps and games that address and foster emotional intelligence and other aspects of social-emotional learning.

Researchers of Note

Karen Schrier
Matthew Farber
Stephanie Jones


Rethinking Learning A Review of Social and Emotional Learning for Education Systems
Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace