Using a Social Network Game as a Teaching Tool for Visual Merchandising

Using a Social Network Game as a Teaching Tool for Visual Merchandising

Erica O'Toole (Central Michigan University, USA) and Seung-Eun Lee (Central Michigan University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3432-7.ch015
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The purpose of this study was to apply a Social Network Game (SNG) for teaching visual merchandising to college students. Based on design-based research paradigm, the present study utilized the EGameFlow model to measure students' perceived enjoyment of using the SNG, Fashion World, in visual merchandising classes. In addition, this study examined which dimensions of EGameFlow were significant indicators of student satisfaction. Findings from this study suggest that the use of an SNG can be an effective tool in teaching visual merchandising. A majority of positive trends in constructs of EGameFlow suggested students enjoyed the use of this SNG as a learning tool. In addition, challenge and immersion were significant indicators of student satisfaction through the game. Discussion and implications for using SNGs as a teaching tool were provided based on the results of this study.
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Social Networking Sites (SNSs) are gaining importance in the spread of technology for the current generation, who are categorized as “wiki kids” (Selwyn, 2007, p. 1). These sites are currently used by over 1 billion people worldwide (Cheung, Chiu, & Lee, 2011), and the majority of users are between the ages of 20 and 30 (Arnold & Paulus, 2010; Chang & Chin, 2011; Cheung et al., 2011; Hung & Yuen, 2010). An average of 98% of users ages 18–24 log on to Facebook every month (Mershon, 2011). SNSs, such as Facebook, focus primarily on communication; users can connect and share thoughts with other users (Cheung et al., 2011; Hung & Yuen, 2010; Selwyn, 2007; Smith & Sanchez, 2011) and gain a sense of “community” (Arnold & Paulus, 2010). These sites also offer social network games (SNGs) as a means of enjoyment. Chang and Chin (2011) define social network games as simple games that users can access, on their own time, and that promote communication between users. SNGs, such as Farmville and Fashion World on Facebook, provide incentives that promote communication throughout the game. Players may earn points and move on to higher levels, connecting to other players or neighbors as they progress. According to Lightspeed Research Group, 53% of current Facebook users have played a social game at some point since joining the SNS (Caoili, 2010). In addition, 20 million apps are downloaded daily on the site (Mershon, 2011).

Teachers, instructors, and professors face a ubiquitous challenge in motivating this new generation of students in the learning process. Enjoyment plays a key role in a student’s ability to learn. Enjoyment can be a predominant factor for improving a student’s overall knowledge about a particular topic (Fu, Su, & Yu, 2009). As a result, games are becoming more prevalent in the classroom (Ger, Burgos, Martinez-Ortiz, Sierra, & Manjon, 2008; Smith & Sanchez, 2011) and can be utilized to provide enjoyment and enhance motivation for learning in a particular topic. Based on the concepts of experiential learning and edutainment, games can be useful in education because they generate high levels of interest and motivation among students (Garris, Ahlers, and Driskell, 2002; Kiili, 2004; Ruben, 1999). In addition, the results from Huang (2011) indicated that students gained confidence in their learning after using a game-based learning activity. SNGs should therefore be examined as a means of increasing student motivation and enjoyment in learning environments, particularly in higher educational settings.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of Fashion World, an SNG on Facebook, for teaching visual merchandising to college students. Visual Merchandising is the study of creating store-based displays and presentations for a store or display to attract consumers to the business and encourage them to buy a particular product (Diamond & Diamond, 2007). In traditional classroom settings, the instructors are challenged to provide students with hands-on experiences, which are crucial to their future careers. The supplies for creating and maintaining display areas can be very costly. These classroom-created displays sometimes appear to be unrealistic to students because quality window displays are frequently expensive. There is a need for creative and relevant methods to facilitate the student learning of effective visual merchandising.

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