Mitigation of Cognitive Bias with a Serious Game: Two Experiments Testing Feedback Timing and Source

Mitigation of Cognitive Bias with a Serious Game: Two Experiments Testing Feedback Timing and Source

Norah E. Dunbar, Matthew L. Jensen, Claude H. Miller, Elena Bessarabova, Yu-Hao Lee, Scott N. Wilson, Javier Elizondo, Bradley J. Adame, Joseph Valacich, Sara Straub, Judee K. Burgoon, Brianna Lane, Cameron W. Piercy, David Wilson, Shawn King, Cindy Vincent, Ryan M. Schuetzler
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2017100105
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One of the benefits of using digital games for education is that games can provide feedback for learners to assess their situation and correct their mistakes. We conducted two studies to examine the effectiveness of different feedback design (timing, duration, repeats, and feedback source) in a serious game designed to teach learners about cognitive biases. We also compared the digital game-based learning condition to a professional training video. Overall, the digital game was significantly more effective than the video condition. Longer durations and repeats improve the effects on bias-mitigation. Surprisingly, there was no significant difference between just-in-time feedback and delayed feedback, and computer-generated feedback was more effective than feedback from other players.
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Proponents of digital game-based learning maintain that games and simulations can facilitate learning because they (a) cater to the digital generation of learners (Prensky, 2005), (b) allow for immersive, active learning increasing engagement and retention, and (c) encourage new forms of knowledge interaction unavailable in a traditional curricula (e.g., perspective-taking, slowing down or speeding up time processes, accessing hazardous or distant environments (Jackson, 2008). Importantly, digital games allow for immediate feedback that can help learners correct their mistakes and reward learners for making correct decisions.

The provision of feedback generally improves learning, however there are important caveats regarding how and when feedback is given. Digital games can provide feedback based on learners’ pace and decision making (Azevedo & Bernard, 1995). Recent studies have examined the costs and benefits of offering feedback during instruction (Hays, Kornell, & Bjork, 2010), the timing (Butler, Karpicke, & Roediger, 2007) and the source of feedback (e.g., a teacher, parent, peer, or a computer agent in the game (Goldberg & Cannon-Bowers, 2015; Hattie & Timperley, 2007). We add to this body of research by presenting two studies exploring the effects of feedback timing (immediate vs. delayed) and feedback source (computer agents vs. human partners) in a game-based learning environment designed to teach learners about the pitfalls of cognitive biases. To test these effects, we created a serious game called MACBETH (MitigatingAnalystCognitiveBias byEliminatingTaskHeuristics)1, wherein players are tasked with detecting and preventing a series of terrorist threats by gathering and assessing intelligence data (for MACBETH development see author citation). The game focuses on knowledge and mitigation of confirmation bias (CB) and fundamental attribution error (FAE). The training effectiveness of the game was compared to a traditional instructional video explaining FAE and CB, which of course excluded feedback.

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