Learning Analytics in serious games

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Talk at VS-GAMES 2012 about learning analytics in educational games.
Ángel Serrano-Laguna, Javier Torrente, Pablo Moreno-Ger and Baltasar Fernández-Manjón. Tracing a little for big Improvements: Application of Learning Analytics and Videogames for Student Assessment
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Learning Analytics in serious games

  1. 1. Tracing a little for big Improvements: Application of Learning Analytics and Videogames for Student Assessment Baltasar Fernández-Manjón balta@fdi.ucm.es e-UCM research group www.e-ucm.es VS-GAMES 2012, Genoa, Italy
  2. 2. Educational videogames• Teachers are starting to use educational videogames in order to explore new ways to educate their students – Still low adoption• Videogames left as “low-weight” complementary content – Mainly used for motivational purposes – No actual impact on the final mark
  3. 3. Serious games assessment• No many serious games include in-game evaluation• Serious games with integrated assessment usually rely in Q&A structures• … but games produce a lot of data that can be analyzed with educational/assessment purposes• The “box” game should be open …(white box)
  4. 4. What do we analyze?• Every game is very different – But we can group them by: • Game mechanics • Game genre • ….. – There some regularities that can be exploited• Can we define a simple set of universal traces to analyze?
  5. 5. Start, end, quit game traces• Start game: whenever a student launches the game – Information: How many students played the game, who they were and when they played.• End game: whenever a student successfully the game. – Information: who accomplished the goals established for the game – Does the optimal goal attain?• Quit game: whenever a student quits the game, before finishing – Information: who abandoned the game before finishing it, and with the appropriate context, where he quitted.
  6. 6. Phase changes• Usually, games are divided in phases. – In an educational videogame, these phases can mark several educational sub-goals.• Tracing phases changes can be used to: • Identifying most time-consuming phases • Understand how each part of the game is being accessed (if the phase exploration sequence is not linear)• … helping to improve the educational game
  7. 7. Significant variables• Games rely on variables to represent their state – Some of those variables can be relevant for the assessment – Logging when and with which values these variables are updated
  8. 8. User interaction• Raw user interaction (mouse clicks, screen touches, keys pressed…) can be used to retrieve some useful information – Heat maps: • To detect game design flaws• If all user interaction is logged, the whole game play could be reproduced
  9. 9. Some requirements• Most of games are black boxes. – No access to what is going on during game play.• We need access to game “guts”• Or… the game must communicate with the outside world, using some logging framework – Not applicable to COTS games (yet)
  10. 10. Gleaner: Game Learning Analytics for education research• Framework oriented to capture game traces
  11. 11. An example: Lost in Space <XML>
  12. 12. An example: Lost in Space <XML> – Game for teaching XML – Played by students in the classroom • 1 to 2 hours playing • 2 hours defining new levels – Uses Gleaner to log students interactions
  13. 13. Metrics in “Lost in Space <XML>”• Start and end game• Phases changes• Significant variables: – XML commands introduced by the students – Phases scores• User interaction – Clicks on help button
  14. 14. Some early results• Real time metrics – Teacher could see student progress in real time from its computer – At the end of the class, he knew how many students had completed the game• Post-analysis – Most common pitfalls in XML commands where detected – Interactions with the help button indicated those phases where students had more trouble
  15. 15. Yet Another eAdventure example• “The big Party” – Game to teach students with disabilities about habits on their daily life
  16. 16. Metrics in “The big party”• Implemented with a add-on to an eAdventure game• Information collected – User interactions • All mouse interactions (including movement) – Phases changes – Times spent in every phase – Order in phase discovery
  17. 17. Some results• Heatmaps showing elements with most interaction• Tracing ALL interactions allow us to reproudce the entire game play
  18. 18. Conclusions• With simple traces, we can know a lot of about what is going on in our educational games• We can provided real-time feedback to teachers and students, and significantly improve the educational process• This process can also help to improve the game quality• However, rigorous assessment should be based on a deeper data analysis. This is only a first step.
  19. 19. • http://e-adventure.e-ucm.es – New 1.5 version (include Chinese, Rusian and Brasilian version) – Multiplatform (Windows, Linux, Mac) – Videos (also in youtube in the eAdventureUCM channel) – Tutorials – Games (that you can reuse and modify)• Open source code – Sourceforge.net – You can contribute (e.g. coding, eA translation)• Baltasar Fernandez-Manjon balta@fdi.ucm.es

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