Encouraging Engagement in Game-Based Learning

Encouraging Engagement in Game-Based Learning

Nicola Whitton (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2011010106
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Abstract

It is a common misconception that game-based learning is, by its very nature, engaging for the majority of learners. This is not necessarily the case, particularly for learners in Higher Education who may need to be persuaded of the value of learning games. For some learners, games may simply not be perceived as engaging–either in terms of an initial motivation to play or sustained participation. This paper describes the Alternate Reality Games for Orientation, Socialisation and Induction (ARGOSI) project, which experienced unexpectedly low motivation and participation. Despite extensive marketing, only a small fraction of potential students participated in the game and of those a far smaller number were highly engaged. Evidence from the project is presented and the reasons for the lack of engagement in the game created are considered. Finally the paper reflects on ways in which engagement with game-based learning might be encouraged.
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Learning With Alternate Reality Games

Alternate reality games (ARGs) present an opportunity for educators to create affordable and technologically-feasible computer games with the potential to engage learners. They are a comparatively recent genre of game, with the first fully-formed ARG considered to be a game called The Beast, which was created in 2001 to promote the film AI. Alternate reality games create a fictional game world and storyline that are interspersed with real people, places and events so that they ‘take the substance of everyday life and weave it into narratives that layer additional meaning, depth, and interaction upon the real world. The contents of these narratives constantly intersect with actuality, but play fast and loose with fact, sometimes departing entirely from the actual or grossly warping it’ (Martin et al., 2006, p. 6).

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