Using Narrative and Game-Schema Acquisition Techniques to Support Learning from Educational Games

Using Narrative and Game-Schema Acquisition Techniques to Support Learning from Educational Games

Alan D. Koenig (University of California-Los Angeles, USA) and Robert K. Atkinson (Arizona State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-158-2.ch016
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The first part of this chapter explores how narrative can be used as a cognitive aid in educational video games. It discusses how narrative is currently used in games, and how that modality of presentation, when combined with instruction, is complimentary to the way we comprehend, store, and retrieve information. The second part of the chapter reviews the cognitive prerequisites needed in the minds of players to adequately attend to and leverage the instructional aspects of games. To this end, it offers suggestions for how to instill a functional game-schema in the minds of novice players so that they can be productive in the game environment. The focus on the interplay of narrative and game schema construction in this chapter is also meant to serve as a model for a holistic approach to games research in which a game’s cognitive prerequisites are explicitly studied alongside the more traditional pedagogical measures.
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As of the close of 2006, game usage in the United States continued to soar, not only among the traditional gamer demographic (i.e. teenage boys), but among all age groups from infants to senior citizens. According to The Nielson Company’s Fourth Quarter 2004 Video Game Console Usage Report (The Nielson Company, 2004), almost 94 million Americans played a console video game for one minute or longer between Sept. 18th and Dec. 31st 2006. Furthermore, during any given minute of that 3 1/2 month time period, approximately 1.6 million Americans aged 2 and older were actively engaged with playing a console video game. And from a total usage standpoint, the Neilson report suggests that approximately 52 million males and 42 million females across all age ranges used a video game console at least once during the 4th quarter of 2006.

With such widespread adoption in our society, video games are beginning to change the nature of entertainment – from that of individuals being passive consumers of media to people becoming more active participants in the shaping of their amusement. Among kids in particular, this societal transformation arguably raises the bar of student expectations and capabilities when it comes to interacting with information presented in the classroom. As educators, we must not only acknowledge the existence of such changes, but must make concerted efforts to leverage potential learning opportunities afforded by the use of breakthrough game engine technology.

However game engine technology is becoming increasingly complex, and the notion of game-play and engagement can vary widely across different genres of games. Indeed the very notion of a video game nowadays has become a vague generalization, evoking images of 1st person style shoot-em’ up gore in the minds of some, while for others the term evokes images of solitaire or 3-D Tetris.

When exploring the potential benefits video games offer to learning and instruction, the gaming literature is surprisingly vague in distinguishing one type of game genre from another. Unsuspecting readers may easily be led to believe, for example, that findings concerning motivation and engagement from the use of a 2-D puzzle game to help students practice their multiplication times tables would be applicable in predicting motivation and engagement for students playing a 3-D role-playing game that endeavors to teach global economic commerce among warring nations. Despite the fact that these two environments are regarded as video games, their relation to one another is practically non-existent. At best, any similarities found between the two could arguably be regarded as mere coincidence.

When discussing the educational nuances of games, we need to break the tendency of speaking in generalities concerning video games, and instead focus our discussions on the myriad sub-genres of video games that exist so that we can more accurately make “apples-to-apples” comparisons. Indeed, the cognitive aspects associated with playing a 2-D puzzle game are arguably very different from those associated with a 3-D role playing game.

With that said each sub-genre of the video game family offers its own potential benefits to learning and instruction, as each involves subtle differences in the way players interact in the game-playing experience. As educators, we ought to begin to examine the nuances of interaction associated with each genre of game-play and identify how those interactions can be married to sound instructional design in order to develop innovative, next-generation learning experiences.

Although research specific to how interactivity in games relates to learning is scarce, there is evidence to suggest that providing students with the ability to physically interact and/or manipulate objects in an instructional realm may help improve their recall of the experience. Engelkamp (1998) described this phenomenon as the “enactment effect”. His research has shown that when asked to recall certain action phrases (such as “bend the wire” or “close the umbrella”), participants exhibited a greater ability to recall the phrases if they actually performed the tasks compared to when these phrases were merely heard. One explanation for this effect is that in order to carry out the action, one must first semantically process the command, resulting in greater attentiveness to the phrase. This may bode well for gaming environments that endeavor to teach – especially ones that leverage movement, interaction, and the manipulation of objects in the process.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Robert Zheng
Chapter 1
Renae Low
Our knowledge of human cognitive architecture has advanced dramatically in the last few decades. In turn, that knowledge has implications for... Sample PDF
Cognitive Architecture and Instructional Design in a Multimedia Context
Chapter 2
Peter E. Doolittle
This chapter addresses the role that working memory capacity (WMC) plays in learning in multimedia environments. WMC represents the ability to... Sample PDF
Multimedia Learning and Working Memory Capacity
Chapter 3
Anne E. Cook
This chapter focuses on issues dealing with the definition and measurement of cognitive load in multimedia and other complex learning activities.... Sample PDF
Measurement of Cognitive Load During Multimedia Learning Activities
Chapter 4
Stephen K. Reed
This chapter discusses a theoretical framework for designing multimedia in which manipulation, rather than perception, of objects plays the... Sample PDF
Manipulating Multimedia Materials
Chapter 5
Katharina Scheiter, Eric Wiebe, Jana Holsanova
Multimedia environments consist of verbal and visual representations that, if appropriately processed, allow for the construction of an integrated... Sample PDF
Theoretical and Instructional Aspects of Learning with Visualizations
Chapter 6
Florian Schmidt-Weigand
This chapter introduces eye tracking as a method to observe how the split of visual attention is managed in multimedia learning. The chapter reviews... Sample PDF
The Influence of Visual and Temporal Dynamics on Split Attention: Evidences from Eye Tracking
Chapter 7
Tad T. Brunyé, Tali Ditman, Jason S. Augustyn
Multiformat and modality interfaces have become popular and effective tools for presenting information in training and instructional systems.... Sample PDF
Spatial and Nonspatial Integration in Learning and Training with Multimedia Systems
Chapter 8
Mike DeSchryver
We claim that the Web has the potential to be a quintessential multimedia environment for complex learning, particularly in ill-structured domains.... Sample PDF
New Forms of Deep Learning on the Web: Meeting the Challenge of Cognitive Load in Conditions of Unfettered Exploration in Online Multimedia Environments
Chapter 9
Renae Low
In the field of multimedia learning, although research on cognitive effects and their implications for instructional design is rich, research on the... Sample PDF
Motivation and Multimedia Learning
Chapter 10
Min Liu, Paul Toprac, Timothy T. Yuen
The purpose of this study is to investigate students’ engagement with a multimedia enhanced problem-based learning (PBL) environment, Alien Rescue... Sample PDF
What Factors Make a Multimedia Learning Environment Engaging: A Case Study
Chapter 11
Michael J. Hannafin, Richard E. West, Craig E. Shepherd
This chapter examines the cognitive demands of student-centered learning from, and with, Web-based multimedia. In contrast to externally-structured... Sample PDF
The Cognitive Demands of Student-Centered, Web-Based Multimedia: Current and Emerging Perspectives
Chapter 12
Lloyd P. Rieber
This chapter presents a review of research on the use and role of interactive simulations for learning. Contemporary theories of learning... Sample PDF
Supporting Discovery-Based Learning within Simulations
Chapter 13
Gina J. Mariano
The role and promotion of transfer in multimedia instructional environments is an oft-neglected concept in instructional multimedia research.... Sample PDF
Fostering Transfer in Multimedia Instructional Environments
Chapter 14
Kirsten R. Butcher, Sebastian de la Chica, Faisal Ahmad, Qianyi Gu, Tamara Sumner, James H. Martin
This chapter discusses an emerging theme in supporting effective multimedia learning: developing scalable, cognitively-grounded tools that customize... Sample PDF
Conceptual Customization for Learning with Multimedia: Developing Individual Instructional Experiences to Support Science Understanding
Chapter 15
Mingming Zhou
We suggest that multimedia environments can benefit from learning as well as offer significant capacity to serve as research purposes. Because... Sample PDF
Designing Multimedia to Trace Goal Setting in Studying
Chapter 16
Alan D. Koenig, Robert K. Atkinson
The first part of this chapter explores how narrative can be used as a cognitive aid in educational video games. It discusses how narrative is... Sample PDF
Using Narrative and Game-Schema Acquisition Techniques to Support Learning from Educational Games
Chapter 17
Marian J.A.J. Verhallen
Advanced digital storybooks offer, in addition to an oral rendition of text, the possibility of enhancing story content through the use of video. In... Sample PDF
How Literacy Emerges from Living Books in the Digital Era: New Chances for Young Linguistically Disadvantaged Children
Chapter 18
Wolff-Michael Roth
To learn by means of analogies, students have to see surface and deep structures in both source and target domains. Educators generally assume that... Sample PDF
Emergence of Analogies in Collaboratively Conducted Computer Simulations
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