Authenticity in Learning Game:
How it is designed? and perceived?
Celso Gonçalves (PhD in Sep. 2011), Muriel Ney, Nicolas Balacheff
Laboratory of Informatics of Grenoble (LIG)
Marie-Caroline Croset, Jean-Luc Bosson
Techniques for biomedical engineering and complexity management (TIMC)
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What authenticity means in learning?
To whom? According to whom?
Learning by living experiences that are in nature
multidimensional (social, conceptual, perceptual…)
According to whom?
(Science) teachers bring the “real” world into the school.
Students are engaged over time, they come to own the activity.
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Background and proposed model
The serious game LOE
What attributes make the game LOE authentic?
Are students engaged into the game (in moments of interaction)?
Do students perceive the game as authentic?
What cues enable them to make judgment of authenticity?
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Authenticity and computer environment design
Immersion – make players feel they are « there » and « now »
Fidelity – realism of a simulation
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Trust (Human Computer Interaction), Presence (Psychology)…
Perception of unrealness in movies (Communication Theory,
Brusselles & Bilandzik, 2008):
• This story is a fiction (fictionality)
• It is not like the actual world
• It is incoherent (narrative realism)
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Proposed model: authenticity in learning games
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The game LOE: Laboratorium of Epidemiology
Critical Reading of Medical papers (based on statistics)
Learning by doing (make my own research and paper)
Students main tasks (170 students in 45 teams, 8 4h-sessions):
Design and carry out an epidemiological survey, analyse a medical
data base and present results to a congress
Play the role of a physician (public health)
Authorization must be obtained in order to visit patients
Papers assessed by congress scientific committee: Best papers
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LOE: (simulated) web sites
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LOE: simulated hospital and patients (video)
LOE: interactions with caracters of the game
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Attributes of authenticity
– Mission content and resources
– Original data
• Mise en scene
– Graphical representation
– Structure of the environment
• User freedom
– Level of control of the users
– Characters’ personification
– Behaviour and feedback from characters
– Mode and media of communication
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Students’ engagement: method and results
Grid of analysis of moments of interaction
The message includes:
1. Status of the speaker (student, physician)
2. Name and/or function of addressee
3. Goal of the interaction
5. Context (teacher, commission) Hi, I’m Mike Smith
and I want to come
and visit 20 patients
in your department
Results (phone messages):
1+2+3+4 : 37% of 167 messages (15% to 50%).
24% teams never fulfill theses 4 criteria.
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Student’s judgements: method
Phone interviews after each of 8 sessions with about 22 students
(over 45 teams of 3 to 4 students each):
1. Looks real or not?
2. Useful or not?
Goal of analysis:
When do most students perceived the activity of the day as
authentic, or not?
What cues enable them to make judgements of authenticity?
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Student’s judgements: method and results
Perceived authenticity, three dimensions:
• Internal incoherence: write a protocol, what for if data are given
• Unrealistic: talk to an answering machine
• Irrelevant: the patient cannot answer twice to the same question
(learn to control data, listen carefully)
Cues (-> Match cues and attributes):
• Figures are unquestionable: figures and variability make it real.
• Characters (how they are represented, what they say, how they
behave): no high presence is required.
• No graphical cues: low visual fidelity is enough.
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Conclusions and future work
One model to design game and to analyse perceptions:
Authenticity in game design, a compromise between
realism, coherence and relevance.
Two measures of perceived authenticity:
- during the activity: students make the problems their owns, and
have appropriate behaviour /real life.
- afterwards: interviews on usefulness and credibility.
What are the attributes that make a game authentic (for adults)?
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