Principles and Signatures in Serious Games for Science Education

Principles and Signatures in Serious Games for Science Education

Otto Borchert (North Dakota State University, USA), Lisa Brandt (North Dakota State University, USA), Eric J. Gutierrez (Northern Arizona University, USA), Guy Hokanson (North Dakota State University, USA), Brian M. Slator (North Dakota State University, USA) and Bradley Vender (North Dakota State University, USA )
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-717-6.ch014
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Abstract

The World Wide Web Instructional Committee at North Dakota State University has developed a number of serious games aimed at science education. Their games are all multiuser, with a role-based orientation, promoting a task-and-goal cultural awareness. Constructed in collaboration with content experts, these games were developed under a proven set of design guidelines (design principles and signature elements) that serve to preserve consistency among the applications. As a consequence of this high-concept design constraint, their systems share important cognitive and pedagogical features that assist players in learning the serious game content while also allowing for consistent evaluation of learning outcomes across games. The authors have formatively evaluated these games and found them to be effective. It is now their hope that by sharing their design guidelines, others may be able to use and evaluate them to their advantage. The authors continue to develop and refine these design principles and signature elements through basic and evaluative research.
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Design Principles

IVE Cultural Context

Contextual learning is the catalyst for new frontiers of learning research between anthropology and immersive virtual role-based learning computer sciences. The IVE “world” is both cultural artifact and sociocultural experience. This virtual world can be described as a semi-isolated cultural system.

The anthropological contribution to a science of learning involves understanding how student engagement of problems in a cultural context affects learning and affects individual and group knowledge. Following examples of ethnographic studies in education (Wolcott, 1985, 1991), immersive virtual role-based environments can be described as cognitive artifacts for education, that is, as tools for learning. Cognitive artifacts are fundamental to most of humanity’s learning processes (Bidney, 1947; D’Andrade, 1989; Norman, 1993). As cognitive artifacts, the virtual role-based worlds for education are constructed purposefully for student immersion in scientific and humanities problems.

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