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Leading Issues in Games-Based Learning Research Edited by

Thomas Connolly

Leading Issues in Games-Based Learning Research Volume One Copyright Š The authors First published September 2011 by Academic Publishing International Ltd, Reading, UK All rights reserved. Excepted for the quotation of short passages for the purposes of critical review, no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. ISBN: 978-1-908272-24-9 Note to readers. Some papers have been written by authors who use the American form of spelling and some use the British. These two different approaches have been left unchanged.

Printed by Ridgeway Press in the UK.

List of Contributors

Wilfried Admiraal, Graduate School of Teaching and Learning of the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Sanne Akkerman, IVLOS Institute of Education of the University of Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Dietrich Albert, University of Graz, Austria. Vincenza Benigno, Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Genova, Italy. Nicolas Balacheff METAH, CNRS and University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France. Luca Bisognin, Symetrix, Grenoble, France. Rosa Maria Bottino, Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Genova, Italy. , Jean-Luc Bosson THEMAS, University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France. Thibault Carron, University of Savoie, France. Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen, IT-University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Celso Gonçalves, METAH, CNRS and University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France. Birgitte Holm Sørensen, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. Jantina Huizenga, Graduate School of Teaching and Learning of the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. . Harri Ketamo, Tampere University of Technology, Pori, Finland Kristian Kiili, Tampere University of Technology, Pori, Finland. Michael D. Kickmeier-Rust, University of Graz, Austria Tiphaine Lalonde, ORT France, Paris, France. Timo Lainema, Turku School of Economics, Turku, Finland Stephanie Linek, University of Graz, Austria. Birgit Marte, University of Graz, Austria. Jean-Charles Marty, University of Savoie, France. Bente Meyer, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark. Muriel Ney, METAH, CNRS and University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France.


Michela Ott, Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Genova, Italy. Neil Peirce, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Mauro Tavella, Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Genova, Italy. , Geert ten Dam Graduate School of Teaching and Learning of the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Erik van der Spek, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Herre van Oostendorp, Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Michael Vogel, Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences, Bremerhaven, Germany Vincent Wade, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Pieter Wouters, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.



List of Contributors ....................................................................................... ii Contents ....................................................................................................... iv Introduction to Leading Issues in Games-Based Learning Thomas Connolly .................................................................................... xiii Cognitive and Affective Effects of Learning History by Playing a Mobile Game Jantina Huizenga, Wilfried Admiraal, Sanne Akkerman, Geert ten Dam.. 1 The Effects of Individualized Feedback in Digital Educational Games Michael D. Kickmeier-Rust, Birgit Marte, Stephanie Linek, Tiphaine Lalonde and Dietrich Albert .................................................................... 12 Meaningful Double-Loop Learning in Educational Games Michael Vogel ......................................................................................... 32 Cognition-based Learning Principles in the Design of Effective Serious Games: How to Engage Learners in Genuine Learning Pieter Wouters, Erik van der Spek and Herre van Oostendorp ............... 51 Student’s Problem Appropriation in an Epidemiology Game Celso Gonçalves, Muriel Ney, Nicolas Balacheff and Jean-Luc Bosson ... 67 Serious Games – Research and Design for Game-Based Language Learning in a Global Perspective Bente Meyer and Birgitte Holm Sørensen .............................................. 87 Learning Games Factory: Construction of Learning Games Using a Component-Based Approach Luca Bisognin, Thibault Carron and Jean-Charles Marty ...................... 105 iv

Can Digital Mind Games be Used to Investigate Children’s Reasoning Abilities? Rosa Maria Bottino, Michela Ott, Mauro Tavella and Vincenza Benigno .............................................................................................................. 124 The Challenges to Diffusion of Educational Computer Games Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen....................................................................... 141 Personalised Learning for Casual Games: The 'Language Trap' Online Language Learning Game Neil Peirce and Vincent Wade .............................................................. 159 Reflective Thinking in Games: Triggers and Constraints Kristian Kiili, Harri Ketamo and Timo Lainema...........................................178


Introduction to Leading Issues in Games-Based Learning

Effective learning, efficient acquisition of new skills and knowledge and overall personal development have become key factors in today’s global competition. Thus, developing methodologies and tools to achieve such targets is a clear need particularly for countries that that aim to have a knowledge-based economy and society. This ever growing focus on education is clearly shown by policies such as the Lisbon strategy, with a particular reference to LifeLong Learning. Attention to education is due in an extensive sense, since education is the basic and common foundation onto which to build in order to strengthen the power of citizens and institutions. Development of new methods for teaching and learning is necessary to accelerate learning, develop new skills for the knowledge economy, to reach new learner groups currently unreached by conventional techniques of learning and to facilitate development of new knowledge, mainly in scientific fields, where the competition is harder and more critical. One relatively new method is games-based learning. During the past few years there has been a significant amount of work carried out into the use of computer games-based technologies and concepts to enhance teaching and learning, both for education and training purposes. Games-based learning has been defined as “the use of a computer games-based approach to deliver, support, and enhance teaching, learning, assessment, and evaluation� (Connolly, Stansfield and Hainey, 2007). This is a


research area that may be conceptualized as the intersection of learning theory, computer games theory and design, user interfaces, and subject matter expertise. In this conceptualization, learning theory serves as the foundation to ensure that technology does not become the dominant factor. It is argued that computer games build on theories of (Connolly et al., 2004): Constructivism, a philosophical, epistemological, and pedagogical approach to learning, where learning is viewed as an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. The learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on a cognitive structure to do so. Situated learning, where learning is viewed as a function of the activity, context and culture in which it occurs. Cognitive apprenticeship, an instructional strategy that models the processes experts use to handle complex tasks. The focus is on cognitive and metacognitive skills, requiring the externalization of processes that are usually carried out internally. Observing the processes by which an expert thinks and practices these skills teach students to learn on their own. Problem-based learning, an instructional strategy for posing significant, contextualized, real world situations, and providing resources, guidance, and instruction to learners as they develop content knowledge and problem-solving skills. At the same time, there is an increasing realization that the skills required in today’s complex, social, networked world are different from those required in the industrial era. To keep pace with


changes in technology and to meet the increasing demands of the knowledge-based economy requires a highly-skilled and educated workforce capable of working collaboratively to address problems of a diverse economic, social, technical and environmental nature. Dede (2000) identifies three abilities that are of growing importance: a) collaboration with diverse teams of people to accomplish a task; b) creation, sharing and mastering knowledge by assessing and filtering quasi-accurate information; and c) thriving on chaos (that is, being able to make rapid decisions based on incomplete information to solve novel problems). Again, there is a growing body of research that suggests that computer games may be able to help develop these skills (e.g. Connolly and Stansfield, 2007). One of the key concepts in many theories of learning is motivation and for learning to occur the learner must be motivated to learn. Malone and Lepper (1987) present a theoretical framework of intrinsic motivation (doing something because it is inherently interesting or enjoyable) in the design of educational computer games. They suggest that intrinsic motivation is created by four individual factors: challenge, fantasy, curiosity and control and three interpersonal factors: cooperation, competition, and recognition. Computer games induce conditions within players that encourage them to continue involvement with the game. Such conditions include satisfaction, desire, anger, absorption, interest, excitement, enjoyment, pride in achievement, and the (dis)approbation of peers and of others. It is in provoking and harnessing some of these emotions and their consequences that computer games might benefit education. This is borne out by a study by Ricci et al. (1996) that found that incorporating game features into instruction increased motivation and consequently produced greater attention and retention. An empirical study by


Chen, Shen, Ou, and Liu (1998) demonstrated the positive effects of computer games on motivation and learning. There are many possible advantages of the use of games-based learning, such as increased motivation and engagement, an enhanced learning experience, and improved student achievement and student retention. The computer games approach can be useful in situations or events that would be too costly, difficult, or hazardous in real life. For example, in medical education gamesbased learning provides risk-free training without real-life consequences that might normally result in serious inquiry or loss of life. The instant feedback and risk-free environment of computer games invite exploration and experimentation, stimulating curiosity, discovery learning, and perseverance. It is also useful where access to human expertise or knowledge may be scarce or very expensive, providing a viable substitute that can be available at all times and organized to suit the user. Games-based learning is at its most powerful when it is “personally meaningful, experimental, social, and epistemological all at the same time� (Shaffer et al., 2004). In addition, other advantages of games-based learning are cited in the literature such as: It may encourage learners who lack interest or confidence and enhance their self-esteem. In training and educational settings it can reduce training time and instructor load, for example affording opportunities for drill and practice, thereby enhancing knowledge, acquisition, and retention. Complex games have the potential to support cognitive processing and the development of strategic skills; they can increase users’


learning and recollection capabilities and encourage greater academic, social, and computer literacy skills. Within an organizational setting, it can be an ideal learning environment for the training of social, management, and leadership skills in which participating staff can use their own organization as a reference system for understanding the culture, structure and processes. Use of metacognition and mental models; improved strategic thinking and insight; better psychomotor skills, and development of analytical and spatial skills, iconic skills, and visual selective attention. However, there are a number of disadvantages associated with games-based learning. The most frequently cited concerns are around the long term effects of violence on game players, although there is no agreed consensus. For example, it is claimed that computer games: (a) can lead to violent, aggressive behaviour; (b) employ destructive gender stereotyping; (c) promote unhealthy ‘rugged individualist’ attitudes, and stifle creative play. On the other hand, catharsis theory states that games playing may be a useful means of coping with, or releasing, pent-up aggression. Developments in computer games design suggest the ideas of a link between violent games and social maladjustment are changing: “thematically, video games are increasing in complexity, incorporating story, character development, and collaboration in the game design” (Squire, 2003). The field of games-based learning show significant promise for overcoming some of the barriers to effective learning for particular groups of learners or particular learning styles. While some


potential users are open to the use of computer games for nonentertainment purposes, others are closed and significant work has to be undertaken to demonstrate the effectiveness (or otherwise) of this approach. There are a number of the key challenges that need to be addressed (Connolly, Stansfield, Boyle, 2009): The construction of empirical data to support the assertion that learning with games is effective. While there are studies that review and bring together some of the evidence, this may require further baseline studies that assess the effectiveness and efficacy of games-based learning. The investigation of which learners, and in which contexts, gamesbased learning is most effective. Again this work has begun but much more research is required. There is still a perception that games are fun and not to be used in learning and, although this is changing, more studies that investigate differentiated use of games will help. The identification of mechanisms to bring games developers and educationalists together to work together to produce pedagogically-based games-based learning that is effective is key. The identification of mechanisms to empower the learner to produce their own content through games. This raises questions as to how the features often provided in a number of game development systems, for creating and editing components such as terrain or physical objects, be extended to include the ability to specify game activities and operations without programming in the formal sense, in order to engage a wide user community in collective learning game development.


The identification of ways in which tutors can add assessment seamlessly to games-based learning. As well as perception shifts on the part of tutors, institutions need to rethink some of their structures to better facilitate games-based learning (for example, to allow for longer periods of learning, informal learning, cross disciplinary learning etc.). This means engaging senior management as to the value of serious games. Games technologies are at the forefront of providing multi-sensory immersive human-computer interfaces, and allowing the seamless integration of virtual and physical environments through advances in sensor and display technologies. A key challenge is how these technical developments can be integrated into pedagogical frameworks to allow them to be legitimately used to contribute to the effectiveness of learning. Virtual worlds, such as Second Life, are increasingly defining a new paradigm for how online communication, interaction and collaboration take place. Furthermore, they have created new business models of how virtual and real worlds can interact. Clearly it would not be sensible to limit learning experiences within these worlds to simulations of conventional learning methods in reproductions of existing learning spaces. A key challenge is how these systems can be optimally used for learning, including for work-based learning and through the integration of these technologies into business processes. Thus, the key challenges are strategic, institutional and pedagogic. The aims of book are to explore the use of computer games within teaching and learning and to provide empirical evidence to support


this approach. The book contains ten papers, each looking at a different aspect of this subject area. Thomas Connolly University of the West of Scotland, UK.

References Chen, G.D., Shen, G.Y., Ou, K.L., & Liu, B. (1998). Promoting motivation and eliminating disorientation for web based courses by a multi-user game, In Proceedings of the EDMEDIA/ED-TELECOM 98 World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia and World conference on Educational Telecommunications, June 20-25, 1998, Germany. Connolly, T.M., Stansfield, M.H. and Boyle, E. (2009). Games-based Learning Advancement for Multisensory Human Computer Interfaces: Techniques and Effective Practices. IGI Global Publishing: Hershey Connolly, T.M. and Stansfield, M.H. (2007). From eLearning to Games-based eLearning, International Journal of Information Technology and Management, Volume 26, Numbers. 2/3/4, pp. 188-208 Connolly, T.M., Stansfield, M.H. and Hainey, T. (2007). An application of games-based learning within software engineering. British Journal of Educational Technology. Volume 38, Issue 3, pp. 416–428. Connolly, T.M., McLellan, E., Stansfield, M.H., Ramsay, J. and Sutherland, J. (2004). Applying Games Concepts to Teach Database Analysis and Design. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Games: Artificial Intelligence, Design and Education, 8-10 November 2004, Reading, UK, 352-359. Dede, C. (2000). A new century demands new ways of learning: An excerpt from the digital classroom, In D.T.E. Gordon (Ed.), The Digital Classroom (Cambridge: Harvard Education Letter).


Malone, T.W. and Lepper, M.R. (1987). Making Learning fun: A Taxonomy of intrinsic motivations for learning. Aptitude, learning and instruction. Volume 3: Conative and affective process analysis. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, N.J, 223-253. Squire, K. (2003). Video games in education. International Journal of Intelligent Simulations and Gaming, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 49-62. Ricci, K., Salas, E. and Cannon-Bowers, J. A. (1996). Do computerbased games facilitate knowledge acquisition and retention? Military Psychology, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp. 295-307. Shaffer, D.W., Squire, K.T., Halverson, R. and Gee, J.P. (2004) Video Games and the Future of Learning. Phi Delta Kappan.


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Leading Issues in Games-Based Learning  

This is a 15 page extract from the book. It has been said that the future will never be the same again, which is undoubtedly true, as is the...

Leading Issues in Games-Based Learning  

This is a 15 page extract from the book. It has been said that the future will never be the same again, which is undoubtedly true, as is the...

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