Geography Map Knowledge Acquisition by Solving a Jigsaw Map Compared to Self-Study: Investigating Game Based Learning

Geography Map Knowledge Acquisition by Solving a Jigsaw Map Compared to Self-Study: Investigating Game Based Learning

Srishti Dang, Arunima Ved, Kavita Vemuri
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2018040107
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Efficacy of games as learning medium is of interest to researchers and the gaming industry. A critical metric for learning is knowledge retention and very few studies have conducted in-depth comparisons of: a) game versus no-game learning, b) collaborative versus individual learning. Towards this, the study reported in this article will present the findings from an experiment using Asia and world maps, cut into pieces as in a jigsaw puzzle. The participants were primary school children who were randomly assigned to the puzzle and no-puzzle group. To understand the role of collaborative interactions in learning, each group was further divided into two subgroups. Each subgroup either solved the puzzle or studied the full map (no-puzzle) individually or collaboratively. Three post-tests were conducted over a period of 10 days. The mean scores and Mann Whitney test shows: a) In the no-puzzle condition, no difference in the average scores of the individual and collaborative groups for both maps was observed, b) In the puzzle condition, the collaborative group score was slightly more than that of the individual group for Asia map, while the difference was significant for the continent map, and c) Puzzle and no-puzzle individual group scores were comparative for Asia map but the continent map groups showed a major difference. The findings are mixed with collaborative puzzle solving showing higher retention while puzzle solving does not show significant effect on learning and retention.
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The fundamental goal of learning is knowledge acquisition and that of teaching is to convey the knowledge. In a traditional classroom, the teacher uses a plethora of tools to convey the different categories of knowledge – reasoning, facts and narratives, phonology and constructs in language and spatial skills to name a few. The first step towards achieving the teaching goal is to motivate and engage the children. Role-playing, games, discussions are some of the creative means the teacher applies to sustain focus in the class. Industry and educators have collaborated to design games to address some of the requirements. For example, the 1903 board game of monopoly (called “Landlord’s game”) by Elizabeth Magie was conceived to teach the concept of single-tax theory and over the years modified to teach many concepts in finance, social lessons, trade and negotiations. The National Park Service put together its own version of Monopoly game (Smith, 2008). Adaptations of Monopoly for educational purposes include Mnemolpoly, a game for psychology courses (Schoen, 1996) and Sociopoly a game similar to monopoly game (Jessup, 2001), designed to teach social inequality.

Thus, since long game industry and educators are trying to revolutionize education system so that learning can be made practical conditions and fun at the same time. Mayer (2016) discusses the role of computer games in education and according to him, “Game effectiveness is improved by using conversational language, spoken format, prompts to explain, explanatory feedback, and pregame activities.” He groups the on-going research in understanding the effectiveness of games in learning as (a) value addition - the features that makes learning better (b) cognitive consequences -focusing on improving the cognitive skills and (c) media comparison studies – which conducts experiments and analysis to understand whether games are better than conventional media for academic learning (Mayer, 2011b, 2014). Stressing the importance of post-assessments to evaluate student implicit learning, Rowe et al., (2017) tested with three science puzzles. Halloran et al., (2013) show the importance of simulation game in learning (the Society for Advancement of Games and Simulations in Education and Training) (SAGSET) defines simulation game as, “A simulation game combines the features of a game (competition, cooperation, rules, participants, and roles) w ith those of a simulation (incorporation of a critical feature of reality)” (Ruohomaki, 1995, p.14)). They made use of realistic adaption of a monopoly game to help students learn lodging industry and property development knowledge and the results showed that such simulation games could be used as an interactive learning tool for students.

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