Investigating Epistemic Stances in Game Play Through Learning Analytics

Investigating Epistemic Stances in Game Play Through Learning Analytics

Mario Martinez-Garza (Independent Researcher, USA) and Douglas B. Clark (University of Calgary, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7461-3.ch004


The authors apply techniques of statistical computing to data logs to investigate the patterns in students' play of The Fuzzy Chronicles and how these patterns relate to learning outcomes related to Newtonian kinematics. This chapter has two goals. The first goal is to investigate the basic claims of the proposed two-system framework for game-based learning (or 2SM) that may serve as part of a general-use explanatory framework for educational gaming. The second goal is to explore and demonstrate the use of automated log files of student play as evidence of learning through educational data mining techniques. These goals were pursued via two research questions. The first research question examines whether students playing the game showed evidence of dichotomous fast/slow modes of solution. A second research question investigates the connection between conceptual understanding and student performance in conceptually-laden challenges. Implications in terms of game design, learning analytics, and refinement of the 2SM are discussed.
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Digital games are potentially powerful vehicles for learning (de Freitas; 2018; Gee, 2007; Prensky, 2006; Mayo, 2009; Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee, 2005; Rieber, 1996; Squire et al., 2003), and numerous empirical studies have linked classroom use of educational games to increased learning outcomes in science (e.g., Annetta, Minogue, Holmes, & Cheng, 2009; Dieterle, 2009; Neulight, Kafai, Kao, Foley, & Galas, 2007; Squire, Barnett, Grant, & Higginbotham, 2004). Several reviews have concluded that game-based learning offers numerous theoretical and practical affordances that can help foster students' conceptual understanding, engagement, and self-efficacy (Aldrich, 2003; Cassell & Jenkins, 1998; Kafai, Heeter, Denner, & Sun, 2008; Kirriemuir & Mcfarlane, 2004; Martinez-Garza, Clark, & Nelson, 2012, Munz, Schumm, Wiesebrock, & Allgower, 2007). That said, not all games effectively support learning for all learners (Young et al., 2012). Clark, Tanner-Smith, and Killingsworth (2015) found favorable support for the use of educational games overall, but particularly in cases where games were augmented through the application of sound learning theory.

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