CyGaMEs for Learning and Assessing Conceptual Knowledge: The How-To Primer
Debbie Denise Reese
An instructional videogame demands that its designer align the game with targeted learning outcomes. Without alignment, targeted learning will fail.
We have created a design approach — GaME — that offers a how-to guide for designing videogames that support concept learning and embedded assessment. GaME, or game-based, metaphor enhanced (GaME) design, helps make challenging concepts intuitive. With GaME, we aligned a number of theories: concept learning (Jonassen, 2006), learning science (Schwartz, Bransford, & Sears, 2005), instructional design (Merrill, 2002; Smith & Ragan, 1993), analogical reasoning (Gentner, 1983; Gentner & Holyoak, 1997), game design (Fullerton, Swain, & Hoffman, 2004; Salen & Zimmerman, 2004; Wright, 2003), and flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).
Every game has a goal. Win a race. Defeat an enemy. Rescue someone in peril. For an instructional game, that goal should require players to discover and use targeted knowledge. GaME design helps learners comprehend something new by relating it to something they already have learned or experienced. This process is at the heart of analogical reasoning. Once learners can make viable inferences about what they are to learn based on what they already know, the learning becomes intuitive. GaME design builds videogames that prepare learners with requisite prior knowledge for learning challenging concepts. This workshop introduces you to the GaME design method for ensuring that your instructional game makes learning intuitive for players.
The workshop emphasizes cyber-enabled (thus, CyGaMEs) assessment and evaluation methods: how to collect, read, and interpret player data generated in-game.
This workshop surveys GaME design principles and embedded assessment using Selene: A Lunar Creation GaME. Attendees will:
- Reconstruct a player’s game from an XML record of gameplay gestures,
- Construct traces of timed reports tracking a player’s progress toward goal attainment,
- Interpret player’s self-reported flow within an eight-channel flow model,
- Identify critical data collection components necessary to compile a player log, and
- Recognize how to structure gameplay data for statistical analysis.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper & Row.
Fullerton, T., Swain, C., & Hoffman, S. (2004). Game design workshop: Designing, prototyping, and playtesting games. San Francisco: CMP Books.
Gentner, D. (1983). Structure mapping: A theoretical framework for analogy. Cognitive Science, 7, 155–170.
Gentner, D., & Holyoak, K. J. (1997). Reasoning and learning by analogy: Introduction. American Psychologist, 52(1), 32–34.
Jonassen, D. H. (2006). On the role of concepts in learning and instructional design. Educational Technology, Research, & Development, 54(2), 177–196.
Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology, Research, & Development, 50(3), 43–59.