THE
MONKEY
TALES
STORY
1.
GAME
DEVELOPM
ENT
“The development
must be costeffective to be able
to compete with noneducational games”
2.
GAME
DESIGN
“Iterative & multistakeholder design
processes yield
more successful
outcomes”
3.
EFFECTIVEN
ESS
“The most effective
educational game is
one that balances
challenge to both
learning & gaming
skills”
Accuracy

Calculation speed

6%

30%

4%

30%

2%

10%

Game
exercises

Paper
exercises

No extra
exercises

Motivation
4.
LAW
“Law discourages
tapping into UGC as
content source”
5.
BUSINESS
MODELS
“Pay for access
+ browser based
+ worldwide B2C focus”
@biekezaman
Project-video:
https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=RXSlm29rMzk
Slideshare:
http://www.slideshare.net/
biekezaman
Publications
Vandewaetere, M., Cornillie, F., Clarebout, G., & Desmet, P. (2013). Adaptivity in Educational Games: Includi...
What the future of educational games may bring to us - Lessons learned from a 2-year research project
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What the future of educational games may bring to us - Lessons learned from a 2-year research project

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More info: http://www.iminds.be/en/research/overview-projects/p/detail/g-at-s-2
"Although no one would dispute that effective educational games are complicated design undertakings, it is often overlooked that it takes more than reconciling great game design talent with the skills of designing an effective learning tool. In this presentation, we report on an interdisciplinary project on next-generation educational game platforms, i.e., the Belgian iMinds-funded project Games @ School (G@S).
In recent years, commercial and academic interest in educational uses of video games has grown significantly. Due to their systematic and self-motivational nature, games are often seen as an important future aid in primary and secondary school education. Nevertheless, the development of enjoyable, challenging games and the integration with tailored, effective learning content require a complex and expensive process. This is one of the reasons why available content is currently still limited. The G@S project aimed to overcome this problem by creating a platform that supports easy creation and distribution of user-generated educational game content.
The challenges in creating such a platform are numerous, and require expertise in various domains. They include authoring, adaptive content and feedback, user and market insights, and legal and distribution issues. To succeed and innovate in these areas, the initiating project partners, game developer Larian Studios and educational publisher die Keure, composed a consortium of industrial and academic partners with complementary expertise. In the presentation, the interdisciplinary game design and research project will be described. The focus will be on how the design process benefited from this interdisciplinary collaboration and how it contributed to the state-of-the art on the best practices regarding the design, development, implementation and validation of educational games.
Examples from the G@S design and research process will be used to illustrate the innovations. For instance, in order to enable common users such as teachers to create inviting game content, the G@S project contributed to the development of a new generation of game authoring tools, with a suggestion framework for supervised and more user friendly level generation. In order to allow storage and exchange of educational game content, an open, non-proprietary data specification with powerful compression was developed. Furthermore, to achieve optimal learning combined with a satisfactory game experience, the G@S consortium invested in gathering in-depth insights into the user needs, capabilities and usage context, researching a powerful adaptive content and feedback framework as well as extensive testing of the effectiveness of the games. Finally, the distribution aspect was analysed in depth, dealing with the educational, legal and business issues that come along with the implementation of a platform for educational game content.

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  • What if we could make school exercises more fun?What if we could make learners more motivated?What if we could create a game for that?We all understand that the reality is more complex than that. And I will illustrate that via a concrete example, that is the Monkey Tales StoryThe Monkey Tales story began a couple of years ago, when an educational publisher and a game developer decided to create an educational game to exercise mathematics.It resulted in the birth and commercial launch of the award winning game Monkey Tales, which is en educational game, story driven, action and platform based. BUT the creators of the game were looking at the future, and had the ambition to go international with this game. However to succeed in this, there was a need to make the game more cost-effective and more easily deployable internationally. To realize this, the creators were dreaming of an open-ended, next-generation platform that would support the creation and distribution of user-generated content. But elaborating upon this idea, it soon turned out that there remained a lot of questions unanswered for instance questions related to intellectual property right, game design, adaptivity, effectiveness, business modeling etc.. AND these questions brought the industry to the academia. And that’s where my role in this story starts. My name is BiekeZaman, and I work for the Belgian university KU Leuven iMinds. Over the last two years, I brought 10 partners together to research these challenges. And what I will do in the next 15 minutes, is sharing our 5 lessons learned with you.
  • ______In order to create successful educational games, the first thing we have to realize is that we are competing with non-educational games. Let me get this straight.So this brings me to the first lesson learned: Game developmentGame design// quoteWhat this implies is that we need the best looking games, developed at a reasonable cost. Sounds like impossible, right? Today, I want to reveal to you on way in which we optimized the game development process.
  • This software allows the capturing of facial recognition points of an actor, that can be easily ‘translated’ in 3D virtual avatars. This process runs fully automated which significantly reduces studio time and costs. Realize that what would otherwise take weeks and weeks of manual development time, could now be realized in an automated way and this in a couple of hours.A high-quality, novel and cost-effective process for performing 3D facial capturing during audio-recordings means that game-avatars can now be used as means of believable instruction and remediation___Overall, the facial recognition software, together with the newest techniques for compression, real life rendering and a suggestion framework for game world editing, we illustrated how we could invest in a more efficient and low-cost development process. However, the creation of games does not only poses development challenges, but also design challenges. Because we haven’t given an answer yet to the question how we can create games that are bot effective and fun to play?
  • In the past, mini-games were developed without participation of the stakeholders involved, including children/teachers/parents. The games where then evaluated in a school and home context and adapted afterwards. When changes were deemed necessary, this resulted in an additional high development cost. In our project, we radically changed this game design approach because we learned that : / “QUOTE NEXT SLIDE”____Let me give some examples of the rich insights gained from this more participative approachMore particularly, when new mini-game concepts are prototyped and developed in a 360° fashion with participation of all stakeholders, this leads to a shorter development cycle due to a reduced amount of iterations. As shown in the pictures, we engaged in several brainstorms with domain experts, game designers, teachers, created various designs from sketches to paper prototypes, tested these with the child players, and only then, after these improvements, the digital games were being designed.LET me give some examples of insights gained from this participative design approach.Firstly, during the brainstorm sessions with the game designers and educational publishers, we discussed how we can give feedback in games on the educational topics. To ensure enjoyable game play, it soon became clear that integrating feedback mechanisms into the mini-games is no option, because this would have a negative impact on the actual gameplay. Therefore, it was decided that feedback mechanisms should be either be integrated before or after the mini-game, thus realized as instructions or remediation that is given outside the actual educational minigame, but still inside the overall 3D world. Secondly, from observing the children, we learned that we need flexible games in terms of balancing the fun and the serious in the game. This way we can account for various learner profiles: those who ‘hack’ the educational content, those who enjoy the educational content and like to play math games again. 3. Thirdly, by consulting teachers in the design process, we learned that we have to invest time in getting them acquainted with the possibilities of digital media and secondly, that we have to design games that fit in the time constraints of class setting (and thus fit within the approach of instructional practices.4. Finally, from interviewing the parents, we learned that the replayability of the games makes it worth the monetary investment and that the educational part of the game motivated parents to let their children play more of these games than they were allowed to play regular games. Eventually, and in conclusion we got better designs tailored to the needs and capabilities of the end-users, reflecting the ambitions of both game designers and the domain experts, and this at reduced time and money spent in the development progress__
  • But how do you make this educational games work? Or in other words, how do you ensure that the game will increase the learning skills of the gamers?In this context, it is important to understand that he effectiveness of a game greatly depends on the way it accounts for adaptivity. Indeed, not all children are equal in their mathematics skills, and similarly, not all children are the best gamers. Our research shows that when we integrate learning content in games, learners find these motivating, but they also experience more difficultyAlso learners do better when they can reduce the amount of interactivity. In games that involve a lot of interactivity, good gamers do betterSo in conclusion: we learned that: “READ QUOTE NEXT SLIDE”___So in conclusion: we learned that: “READ QUOTE”///So knowing how to develop and design these games, and make them work. The pressing question remains eventually, will it really work? In order to answer this question, we put Monkey Tales to the test and performed an effectiveness study.
  • Over a period of three weeks, we followed 88 children : divided in three groups. Children who played Monkey Tales math exercisesChildren who were given a similar amount of math exercises as Monkey Tales, but then to be performed on pen and paper Control group: children who did not receive any additional exercisesSo overall, our study showed that Monkey Tales increases math accuracy, calculation speed and player motivation. ___//Until now, I’ve told you the positive side of the story. I explained the potential of educational games, and how we create more successful ones by accounting for issues in the development, adaptivity, and by involving the end-users in the design process.Our dream of going international with it, and opening the platform for user-generated content by users, teachers, parents, children seemed to come true. But as in each good story, there are severe bottlenecks that prevent our dreams. And in our story, the bottleneck turned out to be the lack of an appropriate legal framework to realize our dreams. ___Photo 1 credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/15132846@N00/5640557375/sizes/m/in/photostream/ CC: Attribution license for sharing and adaption under the condition of attribution (by Ray_from_LA )Photo 2 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/15923063@N00/2965625438/">CarbonNYC</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a> Photo 3 Credit:<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/79538062@N00/3268806794/">jypsygen</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
  • “Quote”This lead to a radical shift in our ambition, we had to leave the idea of creating an open platform and chose for a closed platform instead. Well why was that? What did we learn from studying the law in more depth:The first reason for that is that the inputs that different participants will supply to the game platform are very likely to enjoy Intellectual Property protections which severely complicates it for the game platform owners to integrate and use these content. Secondly, law puts also certain restrictions on the use of these personal data. And these privacyconcerns are vary pertinent when we start collecting personal data to ensure the adaptivity in games. In this context, the law clearly stipulates what can and can’t be done. It includes aspects as data minimization in terms of the amount of data collected, expiration of data that data should be deleted as soon as it is not relevant more, as well as security and transparency rules. Last but not least, is that game platform owners face the risk of liability for integrating and using unlawful inputs. An example of unlawful input is when someone is just coping content from a text book without consent to do this and uploading this in a game platform. In this case the criminal or civil liability goes out not only to the participant providing this input,, but also to the game platform user who is further using this input However, the law provides a conditional exception from liability, but this can only be called upon if the person operating the game platform is found providing a mere technical role of automatic and passive storage of user inputs, = purely hosting activities and a truly neutral role towards the content it hosts= having no intention of actually using these inputs in marketable products. Given these insights from law with respect to both intellectual property rights and privacy, my main advise is to find solutions for that AT DESIGN TIME! And do not wait to realize this after your launch because that may totally destroy your business!. ___Photo credit: http://heinonline.blogspot.be/2010_08_01_archive.html
  • //The shift in our goals is also clearly related to the best business strategy to be followed. Because of the legal restrictions, we moved away from the idea of an open platform, and opted for a more closed environment with centralized control towards the content provided in the games. In sum, from the business model research, we learned that : “QUOTE NEXT SLIDE’QUOTE:Let me explain that a bit: Based on the business research, we detected a pattern namely that when there is a more centralized control on the content, successful commercial games are most likely to rely on direct revenues. Which means that they opt for getting the revenues from the players (thus the consumers) rather than via advertisements. 1. Firstly, in finding the best strategy to realize this, our research showed that Pay to access and a subscription based model is the most financially attractive model, and that this should go hand in hand with the possibility to update games in a modular fashion, which can be easily realized in the case of browser-based games. 2. Secondly, , the the willingness to spend from B2C is very important and preferable over Business to Business which implies finding the money with consumers, not e.g. in schools. 3. Finally, when considering the Flemish market in Belgium, even the business to consumer model may even not be enough because the local market is too small to recuperate the developmental costs. So if one aims for providing high quality local content, governmental support is needed. Photo 1 credit: http://www.mobypicture.com/user/dulk/view/286187 CC: Attribution license for sharing and adaption under the condition of attribution (by Jaap Den Dulk )
  • My conclusion here is that there is no one-size fits it all formula for the design of educational games. In this perspective, I all invite you share my story with the best practices as well astell your story about your lessons learned from the design of educational games. Because the more stories we share, the more ingredients we have for our cookbook on the various trajectories that can be followed to make a fun educational game.
  • What the future of educational games may bring to us - Lessons learned from a 2-year research project

    1. 1. THE MONKEY TALES STORY
    2. 2. 1. GAME DEVELOPM ENT “The development must be costeffective to be able to compete with noneducational games”
    3. 3. 2. GAME DESIGN “Iterative & multistakeholder design processes yield more successful outcomes”
    4. 4. 3. EFFECTIVEN ESS “The most effective educational game is one that balances challenge to both learning & gaming skills”
    5. 5. Accuracy Calculation speed 6% 30% 4% 30% 2% 10% Game exercises Paper exercises No extra exercises Motivation
    6. 6. 4. LAW “Law discourages tapping into UGC as content source”
    7. 7. 5. BUSINESS MODELS “Pay for access + browser based + worldwide B2C focus”
    8. 8. @biekezaman Project-video: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=RXSlm29rMzk Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/ biekezaman
    9. 9. Publications Vandewaetere, M., Cornillie, F., Clarebout, G., & Desmet, P. (2013). Adaptivity in Educational Games: Including Player and Gameplay Characteristics. International Journal of Higher Education 2(2). http://www.sciedu.ca/journal/index.php/ijhe/article/view/2761 Castellar, E.N., Van Looy, J., Szmalec, A., & de Marez, L. (2013). Improving arithmetic skills through gameplay: Assessment of the effectiveness of an educational game in terms of cognitive and affective learning outcomes. Information Sciences. Online first http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020025513006725 Vissers, J., De Bot, L., Zaman, B. (2013). MemoLine. Evaluating long-term UX with children. Proceedings of the Interaction Design and children conference, ACM Digital library. Hollemeersch, C., Pieters, B., Demeulemeerster, A., Lambert, P., Van de Walle, R. (2012). Combining Texture Streaming and Run-Time Generation. Proceedings of the UROGRAPHICS 2012, CGF Vol 31, No 2 Hollemeersch, C., Pieters, B., Demeulemeerster, A., Lambert, P., Van de Walle, R. (2012). Texture-size-independent address translation for virtual texturing. Poster presentation at SIGGRAPH 2012 conference. Maertens et al. (2013). The added value of adaptivity for providing challenge in serious math games. Presented at the EARLIconference. Maertens et al. (2013). It's all in the game. Assessing the difficulty of math exercises in an educational game. Presented at the EARLI-conference. Maertens, M., Cornillie, F., Desmet, P., & Vandewaetere, M. (2013). Adaptive and adaptable gameplay. An instructional design approach for individual differences. Presented at the EDEN-conference. Maertens, M., Cornillie, F., Desmet, P., & Vandewaetere, M. (2013). Adaptive and adaptable gameplay for children_challenges and pitfalls. Presented at the CHI conference. Ranaivoson, H., Bleyen, V., & Braet, O. (2013). Business Models for Educational Video Games. Presented at the EMMA Conference: Digital Transformations and Transactions in Media Industries. Ranaivoson, H., Bleyen, V., & Braet, O. (2013). Business Models for Educational Video Games. An exploratory analysis. Ranaivoson, H., & Bleyen, V. (2012). Modèles économiques du jeu vidéo éducatif. Presented at the Journée d’études sur le Serious Game, MSH Paris Nord Labex ICCA (Industries de la Culture et Création Artistique) + several publications status: submitted. This list will be updated.

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