The Electronic Journal of e-Learning provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Learning initiatives
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Journal Article

Game Inspired Tool Support for e‑Learning Processes  pp101-110

Marie-Thérèse Charles, David Bustard, Michaela Black

© Jun 2009 Volume 7 Issue 2, Editor: Shirley Williams, pp85 - 190

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Abstract

Student engagement is crucial to the success of e‑learning but is often difficult to achieve in practice. One significant factor is the quality of the learning content; also important, however, is the suitability of the process through which that material is studied. In recent years much research has been devoted to improving e‑ learning content but considerably less attention given to enhancing the associated e‑learning process. This paper focuses on that process, considering in particular how student engagement might be improved using techniques common in digital games. The work is motivated by a belief that, with careful design, e‑learning systems may be able to achieve the levels of engagement expected of digital games. In general, such games succeed by entertaining players, building on their natural curiosity and competitiveness to encourage them to continue to play. This paper supports a belief that by adopting some of the engagement techniques used in games, e‑ learning can become equally successful. In particular, the paper considers how the learning process might become a form of game that helps sustain continued study. Factors affecting engagement and elements of digital games that make them engaging are identified. A proposal for improving engagement is then outlined. The approach is to encourage student involvement by rewarding desirable behaviour, including the completion of optional challenges, and giving regular feedback on performance, measured against others in the same class. Feedback is provided through a web‑based tool. The paper describes an exploratory assessment of both the tool and approach through action research. Results for two linked university modules teaching software development are presented. The results so far are very encouraging in that student engagement and performance have increased, especially at the weaker end of the class. Limitations of the approach are also outlined, together with an indication of future research plans.

 

Keywords: e-learning, digital games, engagement, feedback, action research

 

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Journal Article

Framing the Adoption of Serious Games in Formal Education  pp159-171

Sylvester Arnab, Riccardo Berta, Jeffrey Earp, Sara de Freitas, Maria Popescu, Margarida Romero, Ioana Stanescu, Mireia Usart

© Jul 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, Special ECGBL Issue, Editor: Dimitris Gouscos, pp159 - 256

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Abstract

Nowadays formal education systems are under increasing pressure to respond and adapt to rapid technological innovation and associated changes in the way we work and live. As well as accommodation of technology in its ever‑diversifying forms, there is a fu ndamental need to enhance learning processes through evolution in pedagogical approaches, so as to make learning in formal education more engaging and, it is hoped, more effective. One opportunity attracting particularly close attention is Serious Games ( SG), which offer considerable potential for facilitating both informal and formal learning. SG appear to offer the chance to hookŽ todays (largely) digital‑native generation of young learners, who are at risk of falling into an ever‑widening gap betw een networkedŽ lifestyles and the relative stagnant environment they experience in school and university. However, there are a number of inhibitors preventing wider SG take‑up in mainstream education. This paper investigates SG in formal education, initi ally by concentrating on pedagogical issues from two different but complementary perspectives, game design and game deployment. It then goes on to examine game based practice in formal settings and focuses on the pivotal role of the educator within the em erging panorama. This is followed by a brief look at some specific implementation strategies, collaboration and game building, which are opening up new possibilities. Finally some points for further consideration are offered.

 

Keywords: serious games, game-based learning, pedagogical issues, formal learning, teachers role, collaboration

 

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Journal Article

Inferring a Learner´s Cognitive, Motivational and Emotional State in a Digital Educational Game  pp172-184

Michael Bedek, Paul Seitlinger, Simone Kopeinik, Dietrich Albert

© Jul 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, Special ECGBL Issue, Editor: Dimitris Gouscos, pp159 - 256

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Abstract

Digital educational games (DEGs) possess the potential of providing an appealing and intrinsically motivating learning context. Usually this potential is either taken for granted or examined through questionnaires or interviews in the course of evaluat ion studies. However, an adaptive game would increase the probability of a DEG being actually motivating and emotionally appealing. In order to adapt the game to the learner´s motivational and emotional state while engaged with a particular game scenario, an ongoing assessment of these states is required. An explicit assessment, e.g. by questionnaires occurring repeatedly in short time intervals on the screen would probably destroy the learner´s flow experience. Thus, it is necessary to apply an approach that assesses the learner´s current states in a non‑invasive way. In the course of this paper we describe such a non‑invasive, implicit assessment procedure which is based on the interpretation of behavioral indicators. A set of behavioral indicators has been elaborated whereby some of them are derived from the theory of information foraging (Pirolli and Card, 1999). Values for each behavioral indicator (e.g. amount, frequency, seconds, etc.) are gathered after equally long lasting time slices. After each time slice, these values serve as weighted predictors to multiple regression equations for the dimensions of a motivation model, an emotion model and a construct called clearness. The motivation model is based on the two dimensions of approach and av oidance motivation. The emotion model encompasses the dimensions valence and activation. Clearness is defined as appropriate problem representation. A comparison of the resulting values on these dimensions between the current and previous time slices cove rs fluctuations of the learner`s states over time. The assessment of such changes forms the prerequisite for providing in‑game adaptations which aim to enhance the learner`s state, targeting towards a full exploitation of DEGs pedagogical potential.

 

Keywords: digital educational games, motivation, emotion, problem representation, non-invasive assessment.

 

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Journal Article

Playing in School or at Home? An Exploration of the Effects of Context on Educational Game Experience  pp199-208

Frederik De Grove, Jan Van Looy, Joyce Neys, Jeroen Jansz

© Jul 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, Special ECGBL Issue, Editor: Dimitris Gouscos, pp159 - 256

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Abstract

The goal of this study is to gain insight into the effects of context on educational game experience. Using a quasi‑experimental setup, it compares the playing and learning experiences of adolescent players of the awareness‑raising game PING in a domestic (N=135) and a school (N=121) context. Results indicate that both gaming (identification, enjoyment) and learning experiences are more intense in a home compared to a school context. However, all of the variance in gaming and part of that in learning experience are caused by longer playing times and better computer equipment. Moreover, the overall impact of context on perceived learning is significantly smaller than that of other experiential factors such as identification and enjoyment. Thus context should be considered as a significant yet relatively small determinant of learning experience.

 

Keywords: context, serious games, game-based learning, situated play, game experience

 

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Journal Article

Students Constructionist Game Modelling Activities as Part of Inquiry Learning Processes  pp235-248

Zacharoula Smyrnaiou, Moustaki Foteini, Chronis Kynigos

© Jul 2012 Volume 10 Issue 2, Special ECGBL Issue, Editor: Dimitris Gouscos, pp159 - 256

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Abstract

Learning science requires the understanding of concepts and formal relationships, processes that ‑in themselves‑ have been proved to be difficult for students as they seem to encounter substantial problems with most of the inquiry‑learning processes in wh ich they engage. Models in inquiry‑based learning have been considered as powerful tools that may help students in enhancing their reasoning activity and improving their understanding of scientific concepts. Modelling, however, in the form of exploring, designing and building computer models of complex scientific phenomena has also been embedded in the constructionist learning approach. Working collaboratively with constructionist game microworlds that by design invite students to explore the fallible m odel underpinning the game and change it so as to create a new game, may provide students opportunities to bring into the foreground their conceptual understandings related to motion in a Newtonian space and put them into test making them at the same time objects of discussion and reflection among the members of the group. Apart from the meaning generation, we also study in this paper, the students' group learning processes i.e. the construction of emergent activity maps to either plan their actions as th ey engage in game modelling activities or to report on the outcomes generated when these actions are implemented. The connections between the students activities as they work with a constructionist medium and the inquiry‑based learning activities from wh ich the students are considered to pass when engaging in scientific inquiry also constitute one of the main issues this paper attempts to study.

 

Keywords: modelling, games, half-baked microworlds, constructionist and inquiry-based learning.

 

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Journal Article

A Platform Independent Game Technology Model for Model Driven Serious Games Development  pp61-79

Stephen Tang, Martin Hanneghan, Christopher Carter

© Feb 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1, ECGBL, Editor: Patrick Felicia, pp1 - 79

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Abstract

Game‑based learning (GBL) combines pedagogy and interactive entertainment to create a virtual learning environment in an effort to motivate and regain the interest of a new generation of ‘digital native’ learners. However, this approach is impeded by the limited availability of suitable ‘serious’ games and high‑level design tools to enable domain experts to develop or customise serious games. Model Driven Engineering (MDE) goes some way to provide the techniques required to generate a wide variety of interoperable serious games software solutions whilst encapsulating and shielding the technicality of the full software development process. In this paper, we present our Game Technology Model (GTM) which models serious game software in a manner independent of any hardware or operating platform specifications for use in our Model Driven Serious Game Development Framework.

 

Keywords: game technology model, platform independent game technology model, serious games engineering, model driven engineering, games based learning, model driven serious games development

 

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Journal Article

Digital Games and the Hero's Journey in Management Workshops and Tertiary Education  pp3-15

Carsten Busch, Florian Conrad, Martin Steinicke

© Feb 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1, ECGBL, Editor: Patrick Felicia, pp1 - 79

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Abstract

Joseph Campbell's Monomyth not only provides a well‑proven pattern for successful storytelling, it may also help to guide teams and team leaders through the challenges of change and innovation processes. In project "HELD: Innovationsdramaturgie nach dem Heldenprinzip" researchers of the University of the Arts Berlin and the Berlin Gameslab, part of the University of Applied Sciences HTW‑Berlin, team up to examine the applicability of the Hero's Journey to change management using an adaptation of Campbell's pattern called „Heldenprinzip®“. The project's goal is not to teach the stages of the Monomyth as mere facts but to enable participants of training courses and interventions to actually experience its concepts using a portfolio of creative and aesthetic methods. While a pool of aesthetic methods ‑ like drawing, performing or role‑playing ‑ is already being used, the Gameslab subproject qualitatively researches the potentials for enriching and complementing these methods with interactive digital media and games. This paper discusses three types of game based learning treatments to be used in training and intervention sessions as well as teaching the Monomyth in a game based learning university course. The first option is providing participants with a game that follows the Hero's Journey and inducing them to reflect on the experience and its relation to the learning goal. An alternative strategy is to make participants go through a game sequence broaching issues that are relevant for a stage or the journey of change in general. Last but not least, digital equivalents of the non‑digital aesthetic methods can be constructed using digital games or digitally enhanced set‑ups for playful interactions. All three treatments have their merits and pitfalls, which are discussed in relation to the identified game‑based learning scenarios: self‑study, blended game‑based learning and face‑to‑face sessions. Furthermore, these scenarios are compared while specific techniques boundary conditions are highlighted.

 

Keywords: blended game-based learning, physically interactive digital games, hero's journey, innovation and change management training, teaching game-based learning

 

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Journal Article

Games as a Platform for Student Participation in Authentic Scientific Research  pp259-270

Rikke Magnussen, Sidse Damgaard Hansen, Tilo Planke, Jacob Friis Sherson

© Jun 2014 Volume 12 Issue 3, Special Edition for ECGBL 2013, Editor: Carlos Vaz de Carvalho and Paula Escudeiro, pp227 - 311

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Abstract

Abstract: This paper presents results from the design and testing of an educational version of Quantum Moves, a Scientific Discovery Game that allows players to help solve authentic scientific challenges in the effort to develop a quantum computer. The pr imary aim of developing a game‑based platform for student‑research collaboration is to investigate if and how this type of game concept can strengthen authentic experimental practice and the creation of new knowledge in science education. Researchers and game developers tested the game in three separate high school classes (Class 1, 2, and 3). The tests were documented using video observations of students playing the game, qualitative interviews, and qualitative and quantitative questionnaires. The fo cus of the tests has been to study players' motivation and their experience of learning through participation in authentic scientific inquiry. In questionnaires conducted in the two first test classes students found that the aspects of doing real scient ific researchŽ and solving physics problems were the more interesting aspects of playing the game. However, designing a game that facilitates professional research collaboration while simultaneously introducing quantum physics to high school students prov ed to be a challenge. A collaborative learning design was implemented in Class 3, where students were given expert roles such as experimental and theoretical physicists. This significantly improved the students feeling of learning physics compared to Cla ss 1 and 2. Overall the results presented in this paper indicate that the possibility of participating in authentic scientific experiments, which this class of games opens, is highly motivating for students. The findings also show that the learning desig n in the class setting must be considered in order to improve the students experience of learning and that various design challenges remain to be addressed even further.

 

Keywords: Keywords: Scientific discovery games, science education, learning games, game-based learning

 

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