Play Styles and Learning

Play Styles and Learning

Carrie Heeter (Michigan State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-808-6.ch047
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Abstract

This chapter reviews player types found in commercial MMOs and educational games and a palette of play styles and learning is proposed from which game designers and educators can more easily imagine (or perhaps “paint”) their target audience. Two studies show how the palette might be applied. Study 1 examines the impact of different in-game reward schemas on player types. Study 2 compares classroom play with one child per computer versus paired play of the same educational game. Educational game design and the way a teacher structures in-class educational game play both influence emergent play and learning. Player archetypes (more commonly called player types) help game designers imagine the needs and interests of potential players. Considering learner types would be similarly useful. Learning styles relevant to educational game design and classroom use are described, including intrinsic and extrinsic achievement orientation, motivation, individual traits, and competition and other social factors.
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Introduction

Different players play in different ways. Players are often characterized as either achievers or explorers (Bartle, 1990, 2006; Heeter & Winn, 2008; Klug & Schell, 2006; Salen & Zimmerman, 2004). Multi-player games introduce a social dimension, enabling pro-social and anti-social play styles. If their preferred play style is not available in a game, players must adopt a less preferred, available play style.

Different learners learn in different ways. Learners are often characterized by whether they learn better through visual, auditory, or kinesthetic channels (Dunn, Dunn, & Price, 1984). Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning styles are based on two axes, a preference for learning from concrete examples versus abstract concepts and from reflection versus action. If their preferred learning style is not available in a lesson, learners must adopt a less preferred, available learning style. Many factors encourage or inhibit learning, such as achievement orientation, self theories about learning, individual abilities, and the pleasures and complications of competition and other social dynamics of the circumstance of play and learning context.

Interface design guru Alan Cooper (1999) decries the vague goal of designing software for “the user.” The word “user” is generic. It encompasses novice and expert users, children and the elderly, computer phobics and computer geeks. User is such an elastic concept it can “bend and stretch and adapt” (p. 127) to justify almost any design decision. Cooper’s solution is to design for personas. Personas are tangible, carefully constructed archetypal users with particular needs and expertise, so specific they are even given a name and photograph. Design teams plan how their software will meet the needs of one or more specific personas. Instead of asking, “how would I use this software,” personas help a design team ask “how would Mary [the primary persona] use this software” (Spool, 2007). Personas provide a common vocabulary for discussing, understanding, and designing for a tangible, less elastic target user.

Designing a game for “the player” is just as vague as designing software for “the user.” The word player is amorphous, elastic, and each designer tends to imagine her or his own self as the player. Some entertainment game design teams have begun to work with player archetypes (more commonly called player types) to focus the design process and to ensure that the game includes enough elements to appeal to each important player type (Klug & Schell, 2006). Entertainment player types are useful but not sufficient for educational game design. Because educational games have learning as well as entertainment goals, learning game player types need to incorporate player-learner characteristics such as learning styles, abilities, and achievement orientation.

In this chapter I review research on player types and learning to generate a palette of play styles and learning. The palette serves as a reminder of the many different types of players and learners who might play an educational game. Designers can use the palette to focus in on the subset of player types and learning styles they want to consider, accommodate, and encourage in their game. Following the philosophy of persona analysis, it makes sense for a game to aim to please certain player types and learning styles very well rather than pleasing every type a little. Like an oil painter’s palette, the play styles and learning palette can be used to “paint” a vivid picture of specific target players.

The palette can help educators as they plan to use a game in their classroom. Reviewing the palette can be a reminder of player types and learning styles for whom the game is not optimal and who may need special attention. The circumstance of play can include pre-game activities, plans for playing in pairs or individually, and follow-up activities to address needs and interests of different kinds of learners.

The palette helps to focus my own research agenda and may be useful to other educational game scholars. I close the chapter by describing results from two studies that show how game design features including in-game rewards and circumstance of play can adapt to and even influence player types and learning styles.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Achievement Orientation: Achievement or goal orientation describes how individuals perceive and respond to achievement situations such as learning, classroom performance, or game play. Individuals may be intrinsically motivated by the pleasure of mastering a new topic or content being learned, curiosity about the subject matter, or the sense of expertise as knowledge grows. Or they can be extrinsically motivated by grades, teacher approval, earning points or money, finishing first, or being recognized as the best.

Player Types: Player types are archetypes of extreme player behavior characterized along observable, meaningful dimensions. Play styles are different ways of playing (such as masculine and feminine play styles). Player types are different kinds of players. Player types embody essential, prototypical player behaviors. This chapter links player behavior and underlying motivations in describing different player types, as a means to facilitate game design for different player types. In practice, individual players often exhibit characteristics of two or more player types at different times.

Learning Game Player Types: Four player types of educational games are proposed, based on speed and accuracy of play. Achievers are problem solvers who play quickly and make few errors. They enjoy playing and winning are motivated by extrinsic achievement goals. Explorers play slowly and make few errors/problem solve but are more focused on their own curiosity and imagination than on the game requirements. They enjoy exploring ideas, role play, and game mechanics more than earning top scores. Careless players play quickly and make many errors. They tend to be random guesses interested in finishing quickly and enjoy playing but are not particularly motivated to learn. Lost players play slowly and make many errors. They are random guessers who tend not to enjoy either playing or learning from the game.

Social Player Types: The social to anti-social dimension of player types describe individuals whose predominant pleasure from playing stems from interactions with other people. Anti-social players include “Killers,” “Griefers,” and bullies who find pleasure in frustrating other players or interfering with their experience. Pro-social players include “socializers” and those who enjoy “people fun.” They find pleasure in cooperation, competition, and communication as well as developing or exercising meaningful relationships with other players.

Learning Game Affordances: Learning game affordances are the kinds of actions and perceptions a player-learning recognizes as being available at any given time within a game, including available learning styles and available play styles. Affordances are based on how the game was created (intended affordances) as well as player knowledge, experience, and imagination and how clearly what is possible is communicated to the player. In addition to intended affordances, some games also enable player-generated content and goals whereas other games are much more narrow in what is possible.

In-Game Rewards: The payoffs a player can earn during a game such as points, leveling up, acquisition of special powers, or collecting objects are means by which game designers can encourage or discourage player behaviors and attitudes. In-game rewards can be designed to encourage growth mindsets and facilitate intrinsic motivation, or they can inhibit exploratory play and reinforce a helpless mindset.

Personas: Personas were developed by user interface designers to overcome problems associated with designing for the vague, elastic construct of “the user.” A persona is a user or player archetype, conceptualized as if he or she were an actual person, with a name, goals, needs, and experience (or lack thereof). Personas are used by design teams to conceptualize and discuss a shared vision of a tangible primary and secondary target audience.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Dedication
Table of Contents
Foreword
Mark J. P. Wolf
Preface
Richard E. Ferdig
Acknowledgment
Richard E. Ferdig
Reviewer Acknowledgment
Chapter 1
Fengfeng Ke
Drawing on grounded theory approach and a qualitative meta-analysis, this chapter intends to systematically review and synthesize the theories... Sample PDF
A Qualitative Meta-Analysis of Computer Games as Learning Tools
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Chapter 2
Aroutis N. Foster, Punya Mishra
We offer a framework for conducting research on games for learning. Building on a survey of the literature on games, we suggest a categorization... Sample PDF
Games, Claims, Genres, and Learning
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Chapter 3
Sara de Freitas, Mark Griffiths
This chapter explores whether massively multiplayer online role-play games (MMORPGs) can be used effectively to support learning and training... Sample PDF
Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Play Games for Learning
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Chapter 4
Yufeng Qian
Electronic games are becoming an important part of many American children’s life today. Electronic educational gaming, as a new instructional... Sample PDF
An Investigation of Current Online Educational Games
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Chapter 5
Cathy Cavanaugh
In augmented reality games, game experiences combining electronic game content take the form of narrative materials and game-play elements exchanged... Sample PDF
Augmented Reality Gaming in Education for Engaged Learning
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Chapter 6
Michael A. Evans
This chapter proposes that the convergence of mobile devices and digital game-based learning may have profound implications for educational... Sample PDF
Mobility, Games, and Education
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Chapter 7
David Parisi
This chapter discusses the way that new video game interfaces such as those employed by Guitar Hero™, Dance Dance Revolution, and the Nintendo Wii™... Sample PDF
Game Interfaces as Bodily Techniques
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Chapter 8
Elhanan Gazit
This chapter presents an analysis of the dynamics of children’s digital games interactions, which take place in their home surroundings, based on... Sample PDF
A Window on Digital Games Interactions in Home Settings
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Chapter 9
James Oliverio, Dennis Beck
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Enhanced Interaction in Mixed Social Environments
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Chapter 10
Andreas Breiter, Castulus Kolo
Electronic gaming in education remains a theoretical or at best marginal issue as long as it is not adopted in general educational settings. The... Sample PDF
Electronic Gaming in Germany as Innovation in Education
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Chapter 11
Richard Van Eck
Many of the educational outcomes we seek to promote in public education, such as problem solving and critical thinking, are difficult to achieve... Sample PDF
A Guide to Integrating COTS Games into Your Classroom
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Chapter 12
Shree Durga, Kurt Squire
This chapter examines the potential of video games as a learning tool given their productive capacity for content creation and dissemination. Based... Sample PDF
Productive Gaming and the Case for Historiographic Game-Play
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Chapter 13
Erik Malcolm Champion
Serious games research typically uses modified computer games as virtual learning environments. Virtual heritage projects typically aim to provide... Sample PDF
Game-Based Historical Learning
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Chapter 14
Phillip J. VanFossen, Adam Friedman, Richard Hartshorne
In this chapter, the authors will report evidence for the potential of MMORPGs for social studies education by providing a detailed review of... Sample PDF
The Role of MMORPGS in Social Studies Education
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Chapter 15
Brock Dubbles
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Video Games, Reading, and Transmedial Comprehension
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Chapter 16
Carol Luckhardt Redfield, Diane L. Gaither, Neil M. Redfield
This chapter looks at the effectiveness of commercially available educational computer games. It defines what a game is from game theory and what an... Sample PDF
COTS Computer Game Effectiveness
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Chapter 17
Christopher L. James, Vivan H. Wright
The purpose of this study was to identify secondary teachers with video game-play experience and determine if perceived levels of comfort in regard... Sample PDF
Teacher Gamers vs. Teacher Non-Gamers
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Chapter 18
Brian Ferry, Lisa Kervin
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Chapter 19
Zahide Yildirim, Eylem Kilic
This chapter explores prospective computer teachers’ perceptions of and experiences in goal-based scenario (GBS) centered 3D educational game... Sample PDF
Pre-Service Computer Teachers as 3D Educational Game Designers
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Chapter 20
Kathy Sanford, Leanna Madill
This chapter describes a study conducted with nine adolescents hired to instruct week-long video game making camps over the course of one summer and... Sample PDF
Adolescents Teaching Video-Game Making—Who is the Expert Here?
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Chapter 21
Richard T. Cole, Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam
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Online Games as Powerful Food Advertising to Children
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Chapter 22
Erin Edgerton
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Changing Health Behavior Through Games
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Chapter 23
Wei Peng, Ming Liu
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An Overview of Using Electronic Games for Health Purposes
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Chapter 24
Yong Zhao, Chun Lai
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Chapter 25
Kim Feldmesser
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Chapter 26
Ahmed BinSubaih, Steve Maddock, Daniela Romano
The design of serious games based on sound learning and instructional principles is important to ensure learning is integrated in the ‘game-play’.... Sample PDF
Developing a Serious Game for Police Training
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Chapter 27
Barbara Martinson, Sauman Chu
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Chapter 28
Martha Garcia-Murillo, Ian MacInnes
Advances in computing and telecommunications make it possible to take advantage of immersive electronic environments to deliver content. In this... Sample PDF
A Policy Game in a Virtual World
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Chapter 29
Chong-wei Xu
This chapter introduces an innovative pedagogical method for teaching object-oriented programming (OOP) and component-oriented programming (COP) via... Sample PDF
Teaching OOP and COP Technologies via Gaming
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Chapter 30
Pollyana Notargiacomo Mustaro, Luciano Silva, Ismar Frango Silveira
This chapter discusses some possibilities of using computer games to effectively reach didactic goals in undergraduate teaching. Nowadays... Sample PDF
Using Games to Teach Design Patterns and Computer Graphics
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Chapter 31
Paul A. Fishwick, Yuna A. Park
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Chapter 32
Surviving the Game  (pages 560-575)
Linda van Ryneveld
A large body of research exists on the topics of computer-based educational gaming on the one hand and the role of playing traditional games in... Sample PDF
Surviving the Game
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Chapter 33
David William Shaffer
In this chapter, I look at the relationship between games and assessment—and more broadly at what that tells us about the relationship between... Sample PDF
Wag the Kennel: Games, Frames, and the Problem of Assessment
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Chapter 34
Melissa L. Lewis, René Weber
The Entertainment Education Paradigm (EEP) offers a new way to think about education by blending entertainment with educational experiences. Video... Sample PDF
Character Attachment in Games as Moderator for Learning
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Chapter 35
Joseph C. DiPietro, Erik W. Black
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Visual Analysis of Avatars in Gaming Environments
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Chapter 36
Matthew Thomas Payne
This chapter introduces and operationalizes an innovative interpretive strategy called “existential ludology” to explain how the game-play mechanics... Sample PDF
Interpreting Game-Play Through Existential Ludology
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Chapter 37
Katrin Becker, James R. Parker
This chapter will discuss the growing importance of applying considered rationales to which games are chosen for study, whether it be for... Sample PDF
On Choosing Games and What Counts as a "Good" Game
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Chapter 38
Teddy Moline
Quality teachers and quality digital games (video and computer) are dynamic resources that experience ongoing changes based primarily on their... Sample PDF
Descriptors of Quality Teachers and Quality Digital Games
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Chapter 39
David Gibson
What would a game or simulation need to have in order to teach a teacher how people learn? This chapter uses a four-part framework of knowledge... Sample PDF
Designing a Computational Model of Learning
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Chapter 40
Clint Bowers, Peter A. Smith, Jan Cannon-Bowers
The use of computer games and especially online games for educational purposes is growing in popularity. In this chapter we attempt to summarize... Sample PDF
Social Psychology and Massively Multiplayer Online Learning Games
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Chapter 41
Slava Kalyuga, Jan L. Plass
This chapter provides an overview of our cognitive architecture and its implications for the design of game-based learning environments. Design of... Sample PDF
Evaluating and Managing Cognitive Load in Games
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Chapter 42
Nicholas Zap, Jillianne Code
Video games engage players in rapid and complex interactions of self-regulatory processes. The way individuals regulate their cognitive, affective... Sample PDF
Self-Regulated Learning in Video Game Environments
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Chapter 43
Johannes Fromme, Benjamin Jörissen, Alexander Unger
The goal of this chapter is to emphasize a certain notion of self-induced education, to discuss it in the context of digital games and to provide... Sample PDF
(Self-) Educational Effects of Computer Gaming Cultures
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Chapter 44
Meredith DiPietro
There is current interest from the field of education into the value of video games to support learning. Research investigating outcomes associated... Sample PDF
Experience, Cognition and Video Game Play
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Chapter 45
P. G. Schrader, Kimberly A. Lawless, Michael McCreery
This chapter describes the manner in which gamers engage in multiple text comprehension and intertextual practices within the context of the World... Sample PDF
Intertextuality in Massively Multi-Player Online Games
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Chapter 46
Yam San Chee, Kenneth Yang Teck Lim
This chapter considers the use of computer games to help students construct their personal identity and develop dispositions that become active and... Sample PDF
Development, Identity, and Game-Based Learning
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Chapter 47
Play Styles and Learning  (pages 826-846)
Carrie Heeter
This chapter reviews player types found in commercial MMOs and educational games and a palette of play styles and learning is proposed from which... Sample PDF
Play Styles and Learning
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Chapter 48
Martin Oliver
This chapter explores the roles players created, and how these structured their online relationships, in an online massively multi-player... Sample PDF
Playing Roles in the MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing
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Chapter 49
Vasa Buraphadeja, Kara Dawson
Many game scholars claim that the emergent authorship opportunities provided within The Sims may lead to positive game play outcomes. This study... Sample PDF
Exploring Personal Myths from The Sims
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Chapter 50
Edward L. Swing, Douglas A. Gentile, Craig A. Anderson
Though video games can produce desirable learning outcomes, such as improved performance in school subjects, they also can produce undesirable... Sample PDF
Learning Processes and Violent Video Games
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Chapter 51
Patrick Felicia, Ian Pitt
This chapter explains the importance of acknowledging users’ personalities, learning styles, and emotions in the design of educational games. It... Sample PDF
Harnessing the Emotional Potential of Video Games
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Chapter 52
Diane Carr, Caroline Pelletier
The issue of gender reoccurs in debates about the introduction of computer games into formal learning contexts. There is a fear that girls will be... Sample PDF
Gamers, Gender, and Representation
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Chapter 53
Yi Mou, Wei Peng
While the violent content of video games has caused wide concern among scholars, gender, and racial stereotypes in video games are still an... Sample PDF
Gender and Racial Stereotypes in Popular Video Games
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Chapter 54
David J. Leonard
This chapter examines and responds to the silencing, resistance to any intrusion of questions about race and racism, and overall erasure of race... Sample PDF
Can the Subaltern Play and Speak or Just be Played With?
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Chapter 55
Colleen Swain
Electronic games and simulations are powerful learning tools for many learners; yet, the learning environments in these games and simulations... Sample PDF
Culturally Responsive Games and Simulations
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Chapter 56
Robert Jones
Due to its nature as an interactive medium, the video game offers uniquely different approaches to the project of activism. Unlike other... Sample PDF
Saving Worlds with Videogame Activism
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Chapter 57
Conceptual Play Spaces  (pages 989-1009)
Sasha A. Barab, Adam Ingram-Goble, Scott Warren
In this chapter we provide a framework for designing play spaces to support learning academic content. Reflecting on our four years of design... Sample PDF
Conceptual Play Spaces
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Chapter 58
Brian M. Winn
This chapter introduces a framework for the design of serious games for learning, called the design, play, and experience framework. The author... Sample PDF
The Design, Play, and Experience Framework
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Chapter 59
Youngkyun Baek
This chapter examines hidden curricula and pedagogy of digital games in order to clarify their educational meaning and importance. The experiences... Sample PDF
Revealing New Hidden Curriculum and Pedagogy of Digital Games
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Chapter 60
Wei Qiu, Yong Zhao
This study explored the nature and design of a compelling experience: game design. Thirty-six college juniors in the software engineering major... Sample PDF
Game Design as a Compelling Experience
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Chapter 61
Laurie N. Taylor
This chapter explains the significance of informal and unwritten rules in order to show the connections among formal rules of play, formalized... Sample PDF
Gaming Ethics, Rules, Etiquette, and Learning
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Chapter 62
Penny de Byl
This chapter presents the embedded authentic serious game-based learning experiences (EASLE) architecture which has been developed to assist in the... Sample PDF
Designing Games-Based Embedded Authentic Learning Experiences
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Chapter 63
James Belanich, Karin B. Orvis, Daniel B. Horn, Jennifer L. Solberg
Instructional video game development is occurring in both the commercial game development and the instructional design/development communities, but... Sample PDF
Bridging Game Development and Instructional Design
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Chapter 64
Debbie Denise Reese
Game-based, metaphor-enhanced (GaME) design is a process for engineering instructional games to prepare learners with the prior knowledge they need... Sample PDF
GaME Design for Intuitive Concept Knowledge
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Chapter 65
Yuxin Ma, Douglas Williams, Charles Richard, Louise Prejean
Electronic games have the potential to support learning by doing and enhance student motivation. However, there is little guidance in the literature... Sample PDF
Leveraging the Affordances of an Electronic Game to Meet Instructional Goals
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Chapter 66
Wenhao David Huang, Tristan Johnson
This chapter proposes an instructional game design framework based on the 4C/ID-model and cognitive load theory, its associated theoretical... Sample PDF
Instructional Game Design Using Cognitive Load Theory
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Chapter 67
Mahboubeh Asgari, David Kaufman
While there are thousands of educational computer and video games in the market today, few are as engaging and compelling as entertainment games.... Sample PDF
Motivation, Learning, and Game Design
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Chapter 68
Designing Games for Learning  (pages 1183-1203)
Scott J. Warren, Mary Jo Dondlinger
This chapter discusses two games that were designed to target learning as well as implications for the design of future games intended for this... Sample PDF
Designing Games for Learning
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Chapter 69
Panagiotis Zaharias, Anthony Papargyris
E-learning is emerging as one of the fastest organizational uses of the Internet as a supplementary or alternative mode for corporate training.... Sample PDF
Interaction with MMOGs and Implications for E-Learning Design
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Chapter 70
Douglas Williams, Yuxin Ma, Charles Richard, Louise Prejean
This chapter explores the challenge of balancing narrative development and instructional design in the creation of an electronic game-based learning... Sample PDF
Narrative Development and Instructional Design
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Chapter 71
Lloyd P. Rieber, Joan M. Davis, Michael J. Matzko, Michael M. Grant
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Children as Critics of Educational Computer Games Designed by Other Children
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Chapter 72
Leanna Madill, Kathy Sanford
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Video-Game Creation as a Learning Experience for Teachers and Students
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Chapter 73
Brian Magerko
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The Future of Digital Game-Based Learning
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Chapter 74
Artists in the Medium  (pages 1289-1302)
Kurt Squire
This chapter discusses emerging trends in games and learning. It argues for an approach that examines games as a new medium. With the increased... Sample PDF
Artists in the Medium
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Chapter 75
Rusel DeMaria
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Chapter 76
Chad M. Harms
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Chapter 77
Clark Aldrich, Joseph C. DiPietro
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Chapter 78
Göknur Kaplan Akilli
Computer games and simulations are considered powerful tools for learning with an untapped potential for formal educational use. However, the lack... Sample PDF
Games and Simulations: A New Approach in Education?
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Chapter 79
Chee Siang Ang, Panayiotis Zaphiris
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Developing Enjoyable Second Language Learning Software Tools: A Computer Game Paradigm
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Chapter 80
Elizabeth Fanning
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Game Mods: Customizable Learning in a K16 Setting
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Chapter 81
Lisa Galarneau, Melanie Zibit
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Online Games for 21st Century Skills
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Chapter 82
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Chapter 83
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Chapter 84
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Chapter 85
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Chapter 86
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