Observation as a Requisite for Game-Based Learning Environments

Observation as a Requisite for Game-Based Learning Environments

Jean-Charles Marty (University of Savoie, France), Thibault Carron (University of Savoie, France) and Jean-Mathias Heraud (Graduate Business School of Chambery, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-360-9.ch004
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Abstract

In this chapter, the authors propose a Game-Based LMS called the pedagogical dungeon equipped with cooperation abilities for particular activities. The main purpose of this chapter is to explain how to keep awareness of the on-going activities while remaining involved in the game itself. The difficulty is to provide the teacher with this awareness in an immersive way, making the teacher more involved in the game when s/he obtains feedback on the activity. The chapter is split into three sections. The authors propose a first section that deals with the description of our view of learning games illustrated through the pedagogical dungeon. They briefly describe the generation of a dungeon from activity preparation and the links between pedagogical concepts and their representation in the dungeon. The second section concentrates on the observation features needed in these environments in order to obtain interesting facts on what is going on. The authors need to collect traces of the collaborative activity during the enactment phase. They describe the trace life cycle and explain how facts constituting awareness can be calculated from the traces. The third part deals with the restitution of this awareness to the teacher. The problem here is to find an appropriate way to represent awareness both of students’ knowledge and behavior. This awareness must be perceived through appropriate graphical representations to preserve the “immersion” property, implying that these representations must be directly present in the game. The pedagogical dungeon has been experimented during several practical works with real classrooms at the University of Savoie and the Graduate Business School of Chambery, France. This experimental approach illustrates the different aspects of the work, concerning the learning game itself, the observation features, and the restitution of the awareness to the teacher.
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Introduction

Nowadays, Learning Management Systems (LMS) offer functionalities that are recognized as being valuable from different points of view. For instance, students can learn at their own speed. These environments also allow the teacher to evaluate specific activities in a uniform way. However, although these environments enable powerful features, they also incur two major kinds of criticism. The first one deals with the non-attractiveness of such environments for the students, as very often students tend to consider them as unexciting. The second one relates to the lack of awareness (see (Greenberg, Gutwin, & Cockburn, 1996) for a definition of awareness) from the teacher’s point of view as shown by (Kian-Sam & Chee-Kiat, 2002): s/he no longer has the usual and helpful student’s feedback (eye contact, general attitude). As reported in (Hijon & Carlos, 2006), where the authors compare the built-in student tracking functionality of various CMS tools, this functionality is far from satisfactory. The regulation of the activity is thus much more difficult.

Concerning the first point, agreeing with Vygotski’s school of thought and activity theory, we consider that the social dimension is crucial for the cognitive processes involved in the learning activity. Consequently, the question was how to enhance the social dimension in such environments.

Observing the emergence and success of online multiplayer games with our students – the so-called “digital natives”-[Summit on educational Games, October 2006 (http://www.fas.org/gamesummit/)], more generally in the world (Rosenbloom, 2004) and even in education (Purdy, 2007), (Scott, 2007), it was decided to use one as a support for our course. This led us to apply the metaphor of exploring a virtual world, a dungeon, where each student collects knowledge related to a learning activity. It is our view that the way to acquire knowledge during a learning session is similar to the exploration of a dungeon. This approach reveals advantages such as a recreation-type process, a large usability of the tool or its adaptation to the student’s speed. Such game-based learning environments can thus be proposed as a way of implementing learning sessions, in which teachers can prepare and follow a pedagogical scenario (see (Kinshuk, & Patel, 1996) for a definition of a pedagogical scenario).

Concerning the second point; for usability purposes, it is essential that Computer-Based Education offer the possibility of monitoring the activity performed by the students and of obtaining information or feedback about it. For example, being aware of the learning progression of each student is an important goal for the teacher. Here, we explain how we can avoid the loss of perception for the teacher in these environments.

In this chapter, we propose a Game-Based LMS called the pedagogical dungeon equipped with cooperation abilities for particular activities (see (Dillenbourg, Baker, Blaye, & O’Malley, 1996) for a list of cooperation abilities). The main purpose of this chapter is to explain how to keep awareness of the on-going activities while remaining involved in the game itself. The difficulty is to provide the teacher with this awareness in an immersive way, making the teacher more involved in the game when s/he obtains feedback on the activity. The chapter is split into three parts. We propose a first part that deals with the description of our view of learning games illustrated through the pedagogical dungeon. We briefly describe the generation of a dungeon from activity preparation and the links between pedagogical concepts and their representation in the dungeon. The second part concentrates on the observation features needed in these environments in order to obtain interesting facts on what is going on. We need to collect traces of the collaborative activity during the enactment phase. We describe the trace life cycle and explain how facts constituting awareness can be calculated from the traces. The third part deals with the restitution of this awareness to the teacher. The problem here is to find an appropriate way to represent awareness both of students’ knowledge and behaviour. As stated previously, this awareness must be perceived through appropriate graphical representations to preserve the “immersion” property, implying that these representations must be directly present in the game.

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Kurt Squire
Preface
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Liz Boyle
Chapter 1
Stephen Tang, Martin Hanneghan, Abdennour El Rhalibi
Games-based learning takes advantage of gaming technologies to create a fun, motivating, and interactive virtual learning environment that promotes... Sample PDF
Introduction to Games-Based Learning
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Chapter 2
Nicola Whitton
This chapter examines the rationale for the use of computer games in learning, teaching, and assessment in Higher Education. It considers their... Sample PDF
Learning and Teaching with Computer Games in Higher Education
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Chapter 3
Daniel Livingstone, Jeremy Kemp, Edmund Edgar, Chris Surridge, Peter Bloomfield
Alongside the growth of interest in Games-Based Learning, there has been a notable explosion of interest in the use of 3D graphical multi-user... Sample PDF
Multi-User Virtual Environments for Learning Meet Learning Management
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Chapter 4
Jean-Charles Marty, Thibault Carron, Jean-Mathias Heraud
In this chapter, the authors propose a Game-Based LMS called the pedagogical dungeon equipped with cooperation abilities for particular activities.... Sample PDF
Observation as a Requisite for Game-Based Learning Environments
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Chapter 5
Marco A. Gómez-Martín, Pedro P. Gómez-Martín, Pedro A. González-Calero
A key challenge to move forward the state of the art in games-based learning systems is to facilitate instructional content creation by the domain... Sample PDF
Content Integration in Games-Based Learning Systems
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Chapter 6
Matt Seeney, Helen Routledge
One of the most important differentiators between Commercial Games and Serious Games is content; delivered in a way that is successfully integrated... Sample PDF
Drawing Circles in the Sand: Integrating Content into Serious Games
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Chapter 7
Mark McMahon
This chapter proposes a document-oriented instructional design model to inform the development of serious games. The model has key features in that... Sample PDF
The DODDEL Model: A Flexible Document-Oriented Model for the Design of Serious Games
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Chapter 8
Daniel Burgos, Christof van Nimwegen
Serious games are suitable for learning. They are a good environment for improving the learning experience. As a key part of this setting, feedback... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning, Destination Feedback and Adaptation: A Case Study of an Educational Planning Simulation
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Chapter 9
Patrick Felicia, Ian Pitt
For a long time, users’ emotions and behaviours have been considered to obstruct rather than to help the cognitive process. Educational systems have... Sample PDF
Profiling Users in Educational Games
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Chapter 10
Marco Greco
The use of Role-Playing is becoming prominent in Serious Games due to its positive effects on learning. In this chapter the author will provide a... Sample PDF
The Use of Role–Playing in Learning
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Chapter 11
Sanna-Mari Tikka, Marja Kankaanranta, Tuula Nousiainen, Mari Hankala
In the context of computer games, learning is an inherent feature of computer game playing. Computer games can be seen as multimodal texts that... Sample PDF
Telling Stories with Digital Board Games: Narrative Game Worlds in Literacies Learning
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Chapter 12
Colin Price
The power of computer game technology is currently being harnessed to produce “serious games”. These “games” are targeted at the education and... Sample PDF
The Path between Pedagogy and Technology: Establishing a Theoretical Basis for the Development of Educational Game Environments
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Chapter 13
Sara de Freitas, Steve Jarvis
This chapter reviews some of the key research supporting the use of serious games for training in work contexts. The review indicates why serious... Sample PDF
Towards a Development Approach to Serious Games
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Chapter 14
Pieter Wouters, Erik D. van der Spek, Herre van Oostendorp
Despite scant empirical substantiation, serious games are in widespread use. The authors review 28 studies with empirical data from a learning... Sample PDF
Current Practices in Serious Game Research: A Review from a Learning Outcomes Perspective
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Chapter 15
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Thomas Hainey
The field of games-based learning (GBL) has a dearth of empirical evidence supporting the validity of the approach (Connolly, Stansfield, & Hainey... Sample PDF
Towards the Development of a Games-Based Learning Evaluation Framework
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Chapter 16
Helen Routledge
Based on real-world experiences using a variety of digital games, this chapter presents a guide for teachers on how to use games-based learning in... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning in the Classroom and How it can Work!
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Chapter 17
Elizabeth A. Boyle, Thomas Connolly
Developing educational computer games that will appeal to both males and females adds an additional level of complexity to an already complicated... Sample PDF
Games for Learning: Does Gender Make a Difference?
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Chapter 18
Maria Saridaki, Dimitris Gouscos, Michael G. Meimaris
Students with Intellectual Disability (ID) are often described as “slow learners” and cannot easily integrate to the normal curriculum. Still, the... Sample PDF
Digital Games-Based Learning for Students with Intellectual Disability
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About the Contributors