modeling

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  • Electronic games have the potential to support learning by doing and enhance student motivation (Ma, Williams, Richard, & Prejean, in press). However, there is little guidance in the literature on how to leverage the affordances of electronic games to design effective instruction. In our design of an electronic educational game that teaches life science, we are exploring the use of in-game characters to facilitate the modeling and coaching needed for scaffolding student learning.
  • Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark (2006) found in the literature that pure discovery learning with minimal guidance does not work. They questioned the effectiveness of constructivist approaches such as problem-based learning. Computer games have the potential to provide students with more agency (ability to make decisions and interact with the game) and choices, but we also want to provide structure and guidance so that students achieve certain learning outcomes. These are two conflicting perspectives. In the initial design of our game, we provided less support and guidance. We showed students the scenario, provided tools and resources and asked them to complete the quest, which is to figure out what has caused fish depletion. We found that it did not work well. Students did not know what information to attend to when they were given the clues or case studies. They depended on their prior knowledge of water quality when determining what data sources they need to answer the research questions. After these ongoing testing, we decided to add more scaffolds in the game. Two figures in the game may serve as the mentors who may provide the scaffolds. One is an alien from another planet. He has advanced knowledge and tools. The other is the player’s uncle, a learned elder in the player’s community. We thought these two in-game characters may provide the scaffolds needed by the player.
  • In science education, guidance should be embedded in the learning environment to scaffold scientific processes, social interactions, articulation, reflection, conceptual models, and formative assessment (National Research Council, 2006). Modeling and coaching using cases and worked-out examples may serve these purposes. Case studies may help children understand conceptual models. Modeling of worked-out examples of how an expert complete a scientific inquiry task may enable formative assessment and scaffold scientific processes, social interactions, articulation, and reflection.
  • Fantasy can be leveraged to enhance case-based learning. It provides analogies and metaphors that enable the learner to use existing knowledge to make sense of new information. Fantasies also have emotional appeal in that they arouse strong emotions through stories related to conflict and war, competition, and interpersonal relationships. In electronic educational games, the learner plays a role in the fantasy and s/he interacts with other player characters (PCs) or non-player characters (NPCs). Therefore, games may support the creation of a community of practice which is important for learning. In case-based learning (Kolodner et al., 2003) and analogical encoding (Kurtz et al., 2001), learners are typically asked to fill out forms as a means to guide them to learn from the cases. We expect that providing the support through the interaction between the PC and a NPC mentor might be more engaging because of the sense of immersion in the game environment.
  • The game takes place amid an ancient conflict between two sentient species and their struggle for dominance on a planet in another solar system. While not technologically sophisticated, the planet’s two rival sentient species have reached a turning point in their evolutionary history where it is likely that one—the Mruk-ma—will likely drive the other—the Sheft-ma—into extinction. The Mruk-ma are an aggressive, sea-faring species, while the Sheft-ma are city-builders who make their home in “The Coastlands,” along the marshy seashores and river valleys of Mertis’ lone continent. For the vulnerable Sheft-ma, the strategic key to their self-defense is a deteriorating system of fortifications built in the coastal wetlands surrounding their cities. But these wetlands are mysteriously disappearing at an alarming rate, and the threat of invasion by Mruk-ma fleets is growing.
  • Define Problem: Fish Depletion Hypothesis Handheld for Data Collection: turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH Analysis/Interpretation Reporting Support: Embedded in Tools, Non-player Characters
  • During the focus group interviews, students were very positive about the scaffolds. In addition, they gained a lot in their life science knowledge from pretest to posttest. Based on our experience working with students before and after we added the scaffolds, we believe that students need a lot of scaffolding in order to learn from educational games We are interested in trying to embed less scaffolding might be provided in future quests when students acquire more skills in scientific inquiry Some advanced students commented that they already knew some of the information provided by the scaffolds. Personalized scaffolding might be needed depending on students’ abilities. As a matter of fact, we are creating a web-based assessment system that is connected to the game, so that we choose the amount of scaffolding needed for students based on their levels of abilities.
  • modeling

    1. 1. The Design of Modeling and Coaching Scaffolds in an Electronic Educational Game Yuxin Ma, Douglas Williams, Guolin Lai Center for Innovative Learning and Assessment Technologies University of Louisiana
    2. 2. Introduction <ul><ul><li>Increased interest in learning with games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Little guidance in the literature on how to leverage the affordances of electronic games to design effective instruction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our goal: Explore the use of in-game characters to provide modeling and coaching scaffolds </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Reasons for Providing Scaffolding in Educational Games <ul><ul><li>Minimal guidance during instruction does not work (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult decision: Should we give learners more agency and choices or provide more structure and guidance? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ongoing testing shows that students need a lot of guidance in completing the glim quest </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Modeling and Coaching <ul><ul><li>Modeling and coaching are two strategies emphasized by cognitive apprenticeship and Jonassen’s constructivist learning environments. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeling: Providing opportunities to observe expert performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coaching: Observing students’ performance and providing hints, feedback, further modeling, reminders, and new tasks </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Case-based Learning and Worked-out Examples <ul><ul><li>Roles of case-based learning and worked-out examples are critical in modeling and coaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case-based learning may support the learning of conceptual models </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeling of worked-out examples may enable formative assessment and scaffold scientific processes, social interactions, articulation, and reflection. </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Unique Opportunities for Modeling and Coaching Provided by Games <ul><ul><li>Fantasy can be leveraged to enhance case-based learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fantasy provides analogies and metaphors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fantasy has emotional appeal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In-game characters may provide modeling and coaching </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. An Educational Role Playing Game for 7 th Grade
    8. 8. Narrative Overview <ul><ul><li>Sheft-ma / Murak-ma Conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geography / Climate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>View Opening Scenario </li></ul><ul><li>and Council Scene Movie </li></ul>
    9. 9. Scientific Inquiry <ul><ul><li>Define Problem: Fish Depletion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hypothesis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Handheld for Data Collection: turbidity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis/Interpretation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support: Embedded in Tools, Non-player Characters </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Educational Outcomes <ul><ul><li>Scientific Inquiry: develop question, design an investigation, gather data, draw conclusions, and communicate the results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ecosystems: interdependence of components, disruption of balance, invasive species </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptations: Illustrate how variations in organisms determine the success of the population </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Math </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Functional Overview <ul><ul><li>Role Playing Game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Science Fiction/Fantasy Setting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Series of Quests Challenge the Player </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Example Scaffolds in Glim Quest <ul><ul><li>Map room encounter: Scaffold the development of hypotheses using existing data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cilati encounter: Scaffold case-based learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cilati encounter: Scaffold the development of Data Collection Plan (scientific inquiry skill) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skull encounter: Model the analysis of a skull to determine the characteristics of a species (scientific inquiry skill) </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Formative Evaluation Results <ul><li>Question 1: Do student participants demonstrate improved performance on life science knowledge measure? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Paired t-test result: t(20) = -8.51, p = .000 (M pre = 34.26; M post = 56.68) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant increase from pretest to posttest </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Formative Evaluation Results <ul><li>Question 2: How well do student participants experience flow in the game? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The mean values of the indicators of flow and consequence of flow show that students experienced flow while playing the game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The mean values of the flow antecedents indicate that the game was well designed and provided appropriate circumstances for players to experience flow. </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Flow Dimension Mean Standard Deviation Flow antecedent Challenge-skill balance 3.72 0.91 Clear goals 4.3 0.48 Unambiguous feedback 4.22 0.68 Playability 3.57 0.80 Gamefulness 3.47 0.89 Frame story 4.17 0.66 Indicator of Flow Concentration 3.78 1.12 Autotelic experience 3.87 0.93 Time distortion 3.75 0.94 Sense of control 4.03 0.62 Loss of self-consciousness 3.62 1.05 Flow Consequence Exploratory behavior 3.62 0.89
    16. 16. Formative Evaluation Results <ul><li>Question 3: How do students perceive the game? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Overall, positive perceptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pedagogical aspect is well designed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Challenge students to think </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Case studies, feedback, and guidance were helpful </li></ul></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Discussions <ul><ul><li>Scaffolds can be effective in facilitating learning in educational games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students need a lot of scaffolding in order to learn from educational games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less scaffolding might be provided in future quests when students acquire more skills in scientific inquiry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personalized scaffolding might be needed depending on students’ abilities </li></ul></ul>

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