Design, motivation, and frameworks in game-based learning
 9781522560272, 1522560270

Table of contents :
Title Page
Copyright Page
Book Series
Editorial Advisory Board and List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Detailed Table of Contents
Section 1: Design
Chapter 1: How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom Learning
Chapter 2: A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments
Chapter 3: Sustain City
Section 2: Framework
Chapter 4: Linking the Elements of Learning, Assessment, and Play Experience in a Validation Framework
Chapter 5: Design and Develop a Cybersecurity Education Framework Using Capture the Flag (CTF)
Chapter 6: A Framework of Childhood Obesity Prevention Through Game-Based Learning
Chapter 7: A Coaching Framework for Meta-Games
Section 3: Motivation
Chapter 8: Accessible Mobile Rehabilitation Games for Special User Groups
Chapter 9: Exploring the Use of Prediction Markets as Digital Games to Support Learning in a Project Management Context
Compilation of References
About the Contributors

Citation preview

Design, Motivation, and Frameworks in GameBased Learning Wee Hoe Tan Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia

A volume in the Advances in GameBased Learning (AGBL) Book Series

Published in the United States of America by IGI Global Information Science Reference (an imprint of IGI Global) 701 E. Chocolate Avenue Hershey PA, USA 17033 Tel: 717-533-8845 Fax: 717-533-8661 E-mail: [email protected] Web site: Copyright © 2019 by IGI Global. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or distributed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without written permission from the publisher. Product or company names used in this set are for identification purposes only. Inclusion of the names of the products or companies does not indicate a claim of ownership by IGI Global of the trademark or registered trademark.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Tan, Wee Hoe, 1980- editor. Title: Design, motivation, and frameworks in game-based learning / Wee Hoe Tan, editor. Description: Hershey, PA : Information Science Reference, 2019. | Includes bibliographical references. Identifiers: LCCN 2017061846| ISBN 9781522560265 (hardcover) | ISBN 9781522560272 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Educational games. | Motivation in education. Classification: LCC LB1029.G3 D485 2019 | DDC 371.33/7--dc23 LC record available at https://

This book is published in the IGI Global book series Advances in Game-Based Learning (AGBL) (ISSN: 2327-1825; eISSN: 2327-1833) British Cataloguing in Publication Data A Cataloguing in Publication record for this book is available from the British Library. All work contributed to this book is new, previously-unpublished material. The views expressed in this book are those of the authors, but not necessarily of the publisher. For electronic access to this publication, please contact: [email protected]

Advances in Game-Based Learning (AGBL) Book Series ISSN:2327-1825 EISSN:2327-1833 Editor-in-Chief: Robert D. Tennyson, University of Minnesota, USA Mission

The Advances in Game-Based Learning (AGBL) Book Series aims to cover all aspects of serious games applied to any area of education. The definition and concept of education has begun to morph significantly in the past decades and gamebased learning has become a popular way to encourage more active learning in a creative and alternative manner for students in K-12 classrooms, higher education, and adult education. AGBL presents titles that address many applications, theories, and principles surrounding this growing area of educational theory and practice. Coverage • Curriculum Development Using Educational Games • Digital Game-Based Learning • Edutainment • Electronic Educational Games • Game Design and Development of Educational Games • MMOs in Education • Pedagogical Theory of Game-Based Learning • Psychological Study of Students Involved in Game-Based Learning • Role of instructors • Virtual worlds and game-based learning

IGI Global is currently accepting manuscripts for publication within this series. To submit a proposal for a volume in this series, please contact our Acquisition Editors at [email protected] or visit:

The Advances in Game-Based Learning (AGBL) Book Series (ISSN 2327-1825) is published by IGI Global, 701 E. Chocolate Avenue, Hershey, PA 17033-1240, USA, This series is composed of titles available for purchase individually; each title is edited to be contextually exclusive from any other title within the series. For pricing and ordering information please visit Postmaster: Send all address changes to above address. ©© 2019 IGI Global. All rights, including translation in other languages reserved by the publisher. No part of this series may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – graphics, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information and retrieval systems – without written permission from the publisher, except for non commercial, educational use, including classroom teaching purposes. The views expressed in this series are those of the authors, but not necessarily of IGI Global.

Titles in this Series

For a list of additional titles in this series, please visit:

Handbook of Research on Collaborative Teaching Practice in Virtual Learning Environments Gianni Panconesi (Esplica, Italy) and Maria Guida (National Institute for Documentation, Innovation, and Educational Researc, Italy) Information Science Reference • ©2017 • 637pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781522524267) • US $240.00 Gamification-Based E-Learning Strategies for Computer Programming Education Ricardo Alexandre Peixoto de Queirós (Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal) and Mário Teixeira Pinto (Polytechnic Institute of Porto, ortugal) Information Science Reference • ©2017 • 350pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781522510345) • US $200.00 Handbook of Research on Serious Games for Educational Applications Robert Zheng (The University of Utah, USA) and Michael K. Gardner (The University of Utah, USA) Information Science Reference • ©2017 • 496pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781522505136) • US $285.00 Handbook of Research on 3-D Virtual Environments and Hypermedia for Ubiquitous Learning Francisco Milton Mendes Neto (Federal Rural University of the Semiarid Region, Brazil) Rafael de Souza (Federal Rural University of the Semiarid Region, Brazil) and Alex Sandro Gomes (Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil) Information Science Reference • ©2016 • 673pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781522501251) • US $235.00 Handbook of Research on Gaming Trends in P-12 Education Donna Russell (Walden University, USA) and James M. Laffey (University of Missouri at Columbia, USA) Information Science Reference • ©2016 • 663pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781466696297) • US $325.00 Cases on the Assessment of Scenario and Game-Based Virtual Worlds in Higher Education Shannon Kennedy-Clark (Australian Catholic University, Australia) Kristina Everett (Australian Catholic University, Australia) and Penny Wheeler (Australian Catholic University, Australia) Information Science Reference • ©2014 • 333pp • H/C (ISBN: 9781466644700) • US $205.00 For an entire list of titles in this series, please visit:

701 East Chocolate Avenue, Hershey, PA 17033, USA Tel: 717-533-8845 x100 • Fax: 717-533-8661 E-Mail: [email protected] •

Editorial Advisory Board Shahrel Nizar B. Baharom, Universiti Teknologi MARA – Seri Iskandar, Malaysia Simon Lui, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore Maizatul Hayati Bt. Mohamad Yatim, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia Pradorn Sureephong, Chiang Mai University, Thailand Wang Yanzhen, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia

List of Reviewers Amine Hatun Ataş, Middle East Technical University, Turkey Berkan Celik, Middle East Technical University, Turkey Li Jing Khoo, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia Sari Merilampi, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland Herbert Remidez, University of Dallas, USA Chin Ike Tan, KDU University College, Malaysia Ying Tang, Rowan University, USA

Table of Contents

Foreword.............................................................................................................. xv Preface................................................................................................................ xvii Acknowledgment............................................................................................... xxv Section 1 Design Chapter 1 How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom Learning.........................................................................................1 Azita Iliya Abdul Jabbar, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland Patrick Felicia, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland Chapter 2 A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments: GELD Model....................................................................................................................30 Tugce Aldemir, Pennsylvania State University, USA Amine Hatun Ataş, Middle East Technical University, Turkey Berkan Celik, Middle East Technical University, Turkey & Van Yuzuncu Yil University, Turkey Chapter 3 Sustain City: Effective Serious Game Design in Promoting Science and Engineering Education..........................................................................................57 Ying Tang, Rowan University, USA Christopher Franzwa, Rowan University, USA Talbot Bielefeldt, Independent Researcher, USA Kauser Jahan, Rowan University, USA Marzieh S. Saeedi-Hosseiny, Rowan University, USA Nathan Lamb, Rowan University, USA Shengtao Sun, Rowan University, USA

Section 2 Framework Chapter 4 Linking the Elements of Learning, Assessment, and Play Experience in a Validation Framework...........................................................................................93 Chin Ike Tan, KDU University College, Malaysia Chapter 5 Design and Develop a Cybersecurity Education Framework Using Capture the Flag (CTF)....................................................................................................123 Li Jing Khoo, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia Chapter 6 A Framework of Childhood Obesity Prevention Through Game-Based Learning..............................................................................................................154 Yanzhen Wang, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia Maizatul Hayati Mohamad Yatim, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia Chapter 7 A Coaching Framework for Meta-Games: A Case Study of FPS Trainer..........184 Wee Hoe Tan, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia Section 3 Motivation Chapter 8 Accessible Mobile Rehabilitation Games for Special User Groups...................214 Sari Merilampi, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland Antti Koivisto, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland Andrew Sirkka, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland Chapter 9 Exploring the Use of Prediction Markets as Digital Games to Support Learning in a Project Management Context.......................................................239 Herbert Remidez, University of Dallas, USA Michael Stodnick, University of Dallas, USA Sri Beldona, University of Dallas, USA

Compilation of References............................................................................... 261 About the Contributors.................................................................................... 298 Index................................................................................................................... 304

Detailed Table of Contents

Foreword.............................................................................................................. xv Preface................................................................................................................ xvii Acknowledgment............................................................................................... xxv Section 1 Design Chapter 1 How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom Learning.........................................................................................1 Azita Iliya Abdul Jabbar, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland Patrick Felicia, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland This chapter discusses the results of a systematic literature review, a needs analysis through a pupil survey, and a case study of classroom observations in the context of primary education. The results of the overall findings, limitations, underlying issues, and emerging concepts are associated to how game-based learning (GBL) works and what it means for pupils, teachers, and classroom learning. This chapter presents the main contributions to the body of knowledge in GBL study, while offering best practice recommendations for designing engagement in GBL. This in turn outlines a framework of how GBL may work in the classroom. The framework identifies elements, features, and factors that shape how engagement occurs and how learning progresses in gameplay within GBL environments. Chapter 2 A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments: GELD Model....................................................................................................................30 Tugce Aldemir, Pennsylvania State University, USA Amine Hatun Ataş, Middle East Technical University, Turkey Berkan Celik, Middle East Technical University, Turkey & Van Yuzuncu Yil University, Turkey

This formative research study is an attempt to develop a design model for gamified learning experiences situated in real-life educational contexts. This chapter reports on the overall gamification model with the emphasis on the contexts and their interactions. With this focus, this chapter aims to posit an alternative perspective to existing gamification design praxis in education which mainly focuses on separate game elements, by arguing that designing a gamified learning experience needs a systematic approach with considerations of the interrelated dimensions and their interplays. The study was conducted throughout the 2014-15 academic year, and the data were collected from two separate groups of pre-service teachers through observations and document collections (n=118) and four sets of interviews (n=42). The results showed that gamification design has intertwined components that form a fuzzy design model: GELD. The findings also support the complex and the dynamic nature of gamified learning design, and the need for a more systematic approach to design and development of such experiences. Chapter 3 Sustain City: Effective Serious Game Design in Promoting Science and Engineering Education..........................................................................................57 Ying Tang, Rowan University, USA Christopher Franzwa, Rowan University, USA Talbot Bielefeldt, Independent Researcher, USA Kauser Jahan, Rowan University, USA Marzieh S. Saeedi-Hosseiny, Rowan University, USA Nathan Lamb, Rowan University, USA Shengtao Sun, Rowan University, USA Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in interactive narrative-based serious games for education and training. A key challenge posed by educational serious games is the balance of fun and learning, so that players are motivated enough to unfold the narrative stories on their own pace while getting sufficient learning materials across. In this chapter, various design strategies that aim to tackle this challenge are presented through the development of Sustain City, an educational serious game system that engages students, particularly prospective and beginning science and engineering students, in a series of engineering design. Besides narrative-learning synthesis, supplementing the player’s actions with feedback, and the development of a sufficient guidance system, the chapter also discusses the integration of rigorous assessment and personalized scaffolding. The evaluation of Sustain City deployment confirms the values of the serious games in promoting students’ interests and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Section 2 Framework Chapter 4 Linking the Elements of Learning, Assessment, and Play Experience in a Validation Framework...........................................................................................93 Chin Ike Tan, KDU University College, Malaysia Educational games are often described as a balancing act between the entertainment aspects of video games—be it the engagement, motivational, or immersive advantages of it—and the serious subject matter of teaching, learning, and assessment. Thus the key challenge of game-based learning is how the merging of these two aspects could assist in the knowledge retention and application of the subject matters within the real-world environment, especially in the realm of education. The chapter proposes a validation framework that can link elements of learning and assessment in a subject matter to play experience in educational games before those games are developed. The framework will allow game designers and developers to understand the cognitive processes of learning, not only in designing effective educational games, but also to comprehend the intricacies and connections between learning and principles of game design. This in turn enables game researchers to develop effective educational games which are pedagogically and ludologically sound. Chapter 5 Design and Develop a Cybersecurity Education Framework Using Capture the Flag (CTF)....................................................................................................123 Li Jing Khoo, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia The rise of cyber threats is projecting the growth of cybersecurity education. Malaysian students who are interested in studying computing and information technologies suffer from knowledge and skill gaps because the earliest exposure of formal computer knowledge happens only at tertiary level education. In addition, the ever-evolving cyber landscape complicated the gaps and exposure. This chapter reveals the learner’s motivation factor through an exploratory study in a national level cybersecurity competition. By simulating a real-world cyber landscape, a customized cybersecurity game, Capture the Flag was designed, developed, and validated as an experiment to study the relationship between learners’ motivation and achievement level.

Chapter 6 A Framework of Childhood Obesity Prevention Through Game-Based Learning..............................................................................................................154 Yanzhen Wang, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia Maizatul Hayati Mohamad Yatim, Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia Childhood obesity is a global health issue that should be resolved in order to prevent obesity prolonged into adulthood. This chapter presents a framework of childhood obesity prevention through game-based learning among preschool children. A provisional framework was developed by adopting to the obesity treatment algorithm set by the National Institutes of Health. A mobile game titled Fight Obesity 2.0 was created to examine the validity of this provisional framework. The technical validity of the framework was checked through the International Age Rating Coalition, while the ecological validity was endorsed through interview conducted with pediatricians. The framework was revised based on the input of the validation processes. A set of guiding principles was prepared for medical professionals, game designers, preschool teachers, and parents who intend to use the revised framework of gamebased childhood obesity prevention. Chapter 7 A Coaching Framework for Meta-Games: A Case Study of FPS Trainer..........184 Wee Hoe Tan, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia Since mid-2000s, online coaching games emerged as meta-games which support players who need professional training for knowledge and skills in playing specific games. This chapter presents a case study of a coaching game for first-person shooters (FPS) involving a collaboration between a game-based learning researcher, a professional FPS coach, and a team of game developers. The focus of this study is how the collaborative team balanced the seriousness of a coaching needs and the fun of game playing systematically. The object of this study was to propose a coaching framework for designing and developing meta-games for use in mastering various genres. To achieve this objective, the researcher discussed with professors in sport science, interviewed with professional gamers, conducted multiple brainstorming sessions with game developers, and analyzed design documents of published FPS titles. The proposed coaching game framework—when used appropriately—can be a guide for coaching in different game genres.

Section 3 Motivation Chapter 8 Accessible Mobile Rehabilitation Games for Special User Groups...................214 Sari Merilampi, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland Antti Koivisto, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland Andrew Sirkka, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland This chapter presents viewpoints of 104 users upon trials on four mobile games which combine cognitive stimulation and physical exercise in rehabilitation. The first game requires users to control by tilting a mobile phone embedded in a balance board; the second game can be controlled by tilting the tablet computer; the third game is a modified version of Trail Making Test A—a memory test that can be played by tapping figures on the screen of tablet computer; and the fourth game is an activation game with a special controller, dedicated for people with severe physical limitations. Users welcomed the use of games as self-rehabilitation tools that can be adjusted according to personal skills and limitations. The games not only gave them meaningful activities, but also saved time and efforts of professional care takers who might be unable to socialize frequently with clients. Chapter 9 Exploring the Use of Prediction Markets as Digital Games to Support Learning in a Project Management Context.......................................................239 Herbert Remidez, University of Dallas, USA Michael Stodnick, University of Dallas, USA Sri Beldona, University of Dallas, USA A growing area of study is the management of complex projects involving stakeholders dispersed across organizations. Key to the success of complex projects is encouraging stakeholders to learn and communicate useful information about work progress and potential risks. Increasingly, companies are using a gaming approach to encourage workers to learn and communication useful information. This chapter looks at one such gaming vehicle, namely prediction markets. Prediction markets are games in the form of marketplaces that adapt many of the same structures found in stock markets to aggregate information about the probability of future events. This chapter traces the developmental history and application of prediction markets, discusses issues in marketplace design, and explores how game-based learning principles can support the use of prediction markets in this context. The concluding section discusses the application of a prediction market to support the management of an IT project.

Compilation of References............................................................................... 261 About the Contributors.................................................................................... 298 Index................................................................................................................... 304



Digital game-based learning (DGBL) has been tested and proven to be an efficient and effective solution for our main stream education as well as our adult education in recent years. This book aims to study the several frameworks used to develop games for both children’s educational purposes as well as for our modern work place environment. The book will demonstrate the implementation of these frameworks in the design process of the game, as well as the early development of the game presented as a prototype. It is essential in the development of effective game-based learning solutions; there is a careful balance of education and play. It is necessary to develop a clear understanding of game mechanics (i.e., the tools of game-play) and how these relate to relevant educational or training strategies. In this book, you will find answers to the relationship between the content (learning outcome), game mechanics (technology), pedagogy (learning approach) and the conceptual level at which they connect. Eventually, we hope that there will be an established framework that encompasses an “input-process-outcome” game design model. We know that playing games is generally known for its contribution to improving motor skills or gaining knowledge about certain topics. Games may also foster the acquisition of more complex cognitive skills such as problem-solving and intercultural communication. The potential positive impacts of games is linked to a range of perceptual, cognitive, behavioral, affective and motivational impacts and outcomes. The most frequent outcomes and impacts were knowledge acquisition and content understanding, as well as affective and motivational outcomes. Assessment of such skills should be in line with the instruction within the game environment. Thus, the outcome (assessment) is very much a result of its game mechanics (technology) and its instruction (game content).


From the various frameworks, we can now demonstrate that game-based learning, with a well-conceived game design and clear learning objectives, is capable of transferring learnt skills (complex skills transfer). Training professionals and educators would then be able to use these frameworks to evaluate games for learning and training purposes. In developing theoretical framework linking outcomes, game mechanics and learning content, we aim to ease the work of the subject matter experts and the game designers in attempting to produce both fun and pedagogically sound games. This book is an invaluable tool for applying the appropriate framework in designing your game-based education or training strategy. With the appropriate framework and pointers, the process of developing your game-based strategy, would not only be a time and resource savings exercise, but it will produce the effective results which you hoped to see at the end. Ivan Boo Serious Games Association, Singapore

Ivan Boo served as a founding member of Serious Games Association (Singapore) and director of Serious Games Asia. The main purpose of Serious Games Association (Singapore) is to create the bridge between subject matter experts from the corporate organisations, healthcare and education sectors with the technologist for adopting, development and creating sustainable innovative technologyfocused solutions. Ivan specialises in introducing gamification strategies for healthcare and corporate organizations to increase organizational productivity and work process efficiency. He partners with various technologist including programmers, engineers, data scientist with healthcare clinicians and educators to develop game or gamification related projects.




Design, Motivation, and Frameworks in Game-Based Learning is an edited book that intends to connect three interrelated themes of game-based learning (GBL), namely frameworks for GBL practice, design of GBL practices, and GBL for enhancing learners’ motivation. In this book, framework is an essential supporting structure of a GBL practice, which can be used to design, validate, motivate, afford, evaluate, or improve learning through game playing or game making. The underlying algorithm that formulates a specific learning experience can be revealed by examining the framework of the GBL practice. In this sense, reading chapters in this book would drive targeted audiences to analyze various GBL frameworks, and ultimately affording audiences to synthesize an algorithm that meets their needs or intention to practice GBL. This edited book covers two core functions of GBL frameworks, which are design and motivation. As a function of GBL frameworks, design is a plan “produced to show the look and function or workings” of a GBL practice before learning happens (“Design,” 2018), while motivation is the conscious or unconscious stimulus for action towards an intended GBL outcome, especially as resulting from psychological or social factors which give purpose or direction to learners (“Motivation,” 2018). Understanding the interrelation between design, motivation, and framework is important to reveal the essence of GBL, that is the inherited attributes and properties from game and play for achieving intended learning outcomes. Despite positioning design and motivation as core functions of GBL frameworks, all three themes—design, motivation, and framework are addressed in parallel through a multidisciplinary perspective. In other words, the sequence of chapters presented in this edited book was not ranked according to their importance, instead they were arranged for ease of comprehension. In particular, the systematic literature review of Azita Iliya and Patrick was set as the first chapter of this book because it is based on a case study that attempted to explain how GBL works and what it means for pupils, teachers, and classroom learning.


The target audience of the book is composed of professionals, researchers, and practitioners working in the fields of education and design in various disciplines, such as educational psychology and sciences, instructional and learning management system design, game-based curriculum and syllabus design, gamification practices, serious games design and implementation, assessment and instrumentation for education, teaching and learning with technology, and creativity and innovation in education. Initially, this book was started as a summation of enhanced papers from the International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL). All articles published in IJGBL were screened and 20 articles were found suitable for three GBL themes of this book. Authors of ten articles responded to the invitation to enhance their articles, but only four articles eventually become chapters of this book. As a result, a call for book chapters was launched in October 2017. Nine proposals were gathered but only five chapters were ultimately composed and included in this book. The combination of enhanced articles of IJGBL and original academic works is geared towards meeting three objectives of this book: •

• •

To present game design models and design patterns for GBL, affording readers who are interested in designing games for use in GBL practice to understand how gameplay or game mechanics can be aligned to specific content knowledge and pedagogical strategies in order to achieve intended outcomes. To present frameworks for GBL practice, affording audiences from different professional background to understand theoretical frameworks, conceptual frameworks and research frameworks underlying GBL practices. To explain phenomena associated to motivation in GBL, justifying the roles and importance of motivation in making games fun and engaging for GBL practice.

GBL DEVELOPMENT TRENDS Since the establishment of IJGBL in 2011, three developments have brought GBL issues to the fore. First has been the increased interest of GBL practitioners on gamification, not only for use in educational settings (Barata, Gama, Jorge, & Gonçalves, 2014; de Byl, 2013; Wiggins, 2016), but also for exploiting the benefits of games in non-educational settings, such as marketing, corporate training, medical treatment, lifestyle intervention, etc. In this book, gamification is regarded as a process of setting and using elements of games in formal contexts or serious fields of profession which are not related to game playing originally (Tan, 2015). These xviii


elements of games may include six structural elements of game—goal, rules, interaction, feedback, problems, and narrative—suggested by Prensky (2013), plus five dimensions of game world—physical, temporal, environmental, emotional, and ethical—identified by Adams (2014). As shown in Figure 1, the outputs of the gamification process are either serious games or game-like activities, commonly used in GBL practice in education, business, health, and military (Sawyer & Smith, 2008). The study presented by Tang, et al. (see Chapter 3) is focusing on Sustain City, which is a serious game designed for promoting science and engineering education. Today because the inclusiveness of game-like activities and scope of digital GBL has evolved, practicing GBL is no longer restricted to using COTS games or bespoke educational games. One example is the chapter of Remidez, Stodnick and Beldona in this book (see Chapter 9), in which they demonstrated how prediction markets can be used as games in the form of marketplaces. The second development trend is the integration of GBL with artificial intelligence (AI). Concepts like big data, analytics, and machine learning (Conrad, Clarke-Midura, & Klopfer, 2014) gradually emerge in literature associated to GBL. Whereas in the past GBL practices could rely solely on instructor-led pedagogy, using non-digital games to cultivate learning experience and still managed to achieve effectiveness and efficiency to certain extent. Today GBL practitioners are increasingly becoming digital dependent and are finding means to be technologically sound by incorporating AI into learner-centered GBL. One instance of AI driven GBL is included in this book as Chapter 7, in which four different frameworks of designing and developing a coaching game were compared and discussed. The consequence of advances in AI technologies and the rising interest on making teaching and learning activities fun and engaging through gamification have brought the importance of framework and algorithm, particularly for determining specific design and motivation in GBL. This is because it is framework and the underlying algorithm that structures learning experience and affords learners to achieve intended learning outcomes in games or game-like activities. In the study illustrated by Wang and Maizatul Hayati (see Chapter 6), the obesity treatment algorithm published by the National Institute of Health in USA was adapted to develop a game-based childhood obesity prevention Figure 1. Outputs of gamification process are either serious games or game-like activities



framework, which was then applied to design and develop a mobile game for treating and preventing obesity among preschool children. The third development trend of GBL is the expansion of reality spectrum. In the digital GBL model of the past, practitioners like teachers and trainers to a large extent were confined to features of a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) game or a bespoke educational game. It was relatively difficult to alter those features in order to match intended learning outcomes of a course or training program. Since modification of game features or contents was usually achieved by involving game development experts, GBL practitioners became handicapped and they might need to compromise their pedagogy for the sake of using a particular game or a type of gaming technology. In fact, maneuvering between technology, pedagogy and content knowledge were the main tenants for practicing GBL (Mishra & Koehler, 2006). Meanwhile, there also seems to be a rising interest to extend the reality of game world to virtual reality (Lim, Lee, & Ke, 2017; Reitz, Sohny, & Lochmann, 2016), augmented reality (Richardson, 2016), and alternate reality (Lynch, Mallon, & Connolly, 2015), hence the notion of ‘mixed reality’ (Marty, Carron, Pernelle, Talbot, & Houzet, 2015). This is evidenced not only by increases in production of multiple reality apps for GBL, but also in integration of technologies to explore possibilities for learning experience beyond conventional games. One example is the case depicted by Merilampi, Koivisto, and Sirkka (see Chapter 8) where they combined physical exercise in rehabilitation and cognitive stimulation for older adults in Finland and China. Generification of AI on web-based and mobile technologies indeed poses both potentials and challenges for assuring quality GBL practices. In recent years, practitioners have been attempting to embrace mobile apps and web applications in order to gamify teaching and learning activities. Various authors have reported increases in success instances of gamification and GBL practices because of the technological affordance (Moseley, 2012). Nonetheless, advances in computing technologies have introduced a yet another kind of challenge for GBL practitioners which many regard as cybersecurity. In the study conducted by Khoo (see Chapter 5), capture the flag (CTF) competition in cybersecurity was gamified to fill in the computing knowledge and skill gap at tertiary education. Perhaps the emphasis of nowadays GBL practice should be on establishing frameworks with replicable algorithm for designing, validating, motivating, affording, evaluating, or improving learning experiences.



Given the increased interest of gamification in education, most GBL practitioners would need to have established a gamified learning environment and then validated the alignment between learning and game playing. This is the basis of having Aldemir, Atas, and Celik to propose a systematic design model for gamified learning environments (see Chapter 2), and Tan to introduce a validation framework that links elements of learning and assessment to play experience (see Chapter 4).

ORGANIZATION OF THE BOOK To achieve the objectives, the book is organized into nine chapters: three chapters were chosen for “Design,” four chapters were included for “Frameworks,” and two chapters for “Motivation,” as shown in Figure 2. A brief description of each of the chapters follows: Chapter 1 sets the scene for a discussion on how GBL works through a systematic literature review, a need analysis, and a case study of classroom observation in a primary education context. The object of this chapter is to outline a framework that explains how GBL may work in the primary school classroom. The chapter juxtaposes the perceptions of teachers and pupils on what GBL means for them and classroom learning. Chapter 2 develops a fuzzy design model for gamified learning experiences situated in various real-life educational contexts. The model serves as an alternative perspective to existing gamification processes that separate game elements. The authors assert the need for a systematic approach to design and support complex and dynamic gamified learning experiences. Chapter 3 presents an interactive narrative-based serious game called Sustain City. The chapter addresses the challenge of balancing fun and learning, in order to motivate players to unfold narrative stories at their own place, while exposing themselves to sufficient learning materials. Based on an evaluation of Sustain City deployment, the authors confirmed the values of serious games in promoting students’ interests and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Chapter 4 addresses the key challenge of designing educational games, that is balancing and merging the entertainment aspects of games and the serious subject matter of teaching, learning, and assessment. The chapter proposed a validation framework that can link elements of learning and assessment in a subject matter to play experience in educational games before those games are developed.



Chapter 5 reviews issues surrounding cybersecurity education in Malaysia. The author attempted to address the issues by organizing a Capture the Flag (CTF) event for a national level cybersecurity competition. Based on the findings of this study, the author proposed a teaching and learning framework for learning cybersecurity. Chapter 6 presents a framework of childhood obesity prevention through gamebased learning among preschool children. With reference to the framework, a bespoke mobile game was designed, developed, and validated. The chapter prepares a set of guiding principles for medical professionals, game designers, preschool teachers and parents who intend to use the framework for preventing or treating childhood obesity. Chapter 7 presents a coaching framework for meta-games, which can support players who need professional training for knowledge and skills in playing specific games. Based on a case study, the chapter unfolds how a game-based learning researcher collaborated with a professional FPS coach and a production team to balance the seriousness of a coaching needs and the fun of game playing systematically. Chapter 8 synthesizes the perceptions of 103 users on trials on four mobile games for rehabilitation. These games combine cognitive stimulation and physical exercise which are planned for people with cognitive impairments, physical limitations, and older adults. Targeted users were motivated by the affordance given in meaningful game playing activities, especially when they perceived the games as self-rehabilitation that can be adjusted according to their personal skills and limitations. Figure 2. Arrangement of chapters in this book



Chapter 9 turns a prediction market into a game in the form of marketplace by aligning similar structures between stock markets and games. This chapter traces the developmental history and application of prediction markets, discusses issues in marketplace design and explores how GBL principles can support the use of prediction markets in this context. The concluding section discusses the application of a prediction market to support the management of an information technology project. Wee Hoe Tan Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia

REFERENCES Adams, E. (2014). Fundamentals of game design (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: New Riders. Barata, G., Gama, S., Jorge, J., & Gonçalves, D. (2014). Identifying student types in a gamified learning experience. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 4(4), 19–36. doi:10.4018/ijgbl.2014100102 Conrad, S., Clarke-Midura, J., & Klopfer, E. (2014). A framework for structuring learning assessment in a massively multiplayer online educational game: Experiment centered design. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 4(1), 37–59. doi:10.4018/IJGBL.2014010103 De Byl, P. (2013). Factors at play in tertiary curriculum gamification. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 3(2), 1–21. doi:10.4018/ijgbl.2013040101 Design. (2018). In Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from Lim, T., Lee, S., & Ke, F. (2017). Integrating music into math in a virtual reality game: Learning fractions. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 7(1), 57–73. doi:10.4018/IJGBL.2017010104 Lynch, R., Mallon, B., & Connolly, C. (2015). The pedagogical application of alternate reality games: Using game-based learning to revisit history. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 5(2), 18–38. doi:10.4018/ijgbl.2015040102 Marty, J., Carron, T., Pernelle, P., Talbot, S., & Houzet, G. (2015). Mixed reality games. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 5(1), 31–45. doi:10.4018/ ijgbl.2015010103



Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00684.x Moseley, A. (2012). An alternate reality for education? Lessons to be learned from online immersive games. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 2(3), 32–50. doi:10.4018/ijgbl.2012070103 Motivation. (2018). In Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from Entry/122708 Prensky, M. (2013). Digital game-based learning (Kindle ed.). New York: Paragon House. Reitz, L., Sohny, A., & Lochmann, G. (2016). VR-based gamification of communication training and oral examination in a second language. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 6(2), 46–61. doi:10.4018/IJGBL.2016040104 Richardson, D. (2016). Exploring the potential of a location based augmented reality game for language learning. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 6(3), 34–49. doi:10.4018/IJGBL.2016070103 Sawyer, B., & Smith, P. (2008). Serious games taxonomy. In Slides from the Serious Games Summit at the Game Developers Conference. Academic Press. Tan, W. H. (2015). Gamifikasi dalam pendidikan: Pembelajaran berasaskan permainan. Tanjong Malin: Penerbit UPSI. Wiggins, B. E. (2016). An overview and study on the use of games, simulations, and gamification in higher education. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 6(1), 18–29. doi:10.4018/IJGBL.2016010102




I would like to acknowledge the help of all the people involved in this project and, more specifically, to the authors and reviewers that took part in the review process. Without their support, this book would not have become a reality. First, I would like to thank each one of the authors for their contributions. My sincere gratitude goes to the chapter’s authors who contributed their time and expertise to this book. Second, I wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of the reviewers regarding the improvement of quality, coherence, and content presentation of chapters. Most of the authors also served as referees; I highly appreciate their double task. Wee Hoe Tan Sultan Idris Education University, Malaysia

Section 1



Chapter 1

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom Learning Azita Iliya Abdul Jabbar Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland Patrick Felicia Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland

ABSTRACT This chapter discusses the results of a systematic literature review, a needs analysis through a pupil survey, and a case study of classroom observations in the context of primary education. The results of the overall findings, limitations, underlying issues, and emerging concepts are associated to how game-based learning (GBL) works and what it means for pupils, teachers, and classroom learning. This chapter presents the main contributions to the body of knowledge in GBL study, while offering best practice recommendations for designing engagement in GBL. This in turn outlines a framework of how GBL may work in the classroom. The framework identifies elements, features, and factors that shape how engagement occurs and how learning progresses in gameplay within GBL environments.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6026-5.ch001 Copyright © 2019, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

INTRODUCTION This chapter focuses on how game-based learning (GBL) provides opportunities for gameplay and how pupils choose to engage in curriculum content, gaming elements, and activities with the support and guidance provided through teachers, peers or in-game resources. The study investigates elements in games that provide pupils opportunities to engage within the gameplay created in the GBL, and how these elements create engagement and affect learning and motivational outcomes. The growing access and use of digital technology in early age children (Gee, 2007; Prensky, 2002, 2005), and the searching for digital resources as means of digital literacy or expertise (Helsper & Enyon, 2009) initiated the web-based or online education. Through web technology, developers display and deliver digital content to support learning of vast curricular topics (Whitworth & Berson, 2003). However, web-based learning feeds pupils with information instead of engaging pupils to build their own knowledge from seeking, acquiring and retaining information (Ayad & Rigas, 2010). In addition, studies on how multimedia technology can support and enhance teaching and learning practices (Kazanki & Okan, 2009; Raffle et al., 2010), resulted a wide range of entertaining digital learning programmes. Instructional designers should know how to manipulate and integrate learning principles and engaging gaming components to produce integrated GBL products and services on self-regulated learning platforms (Chen et al., 2012; Dickey, 2005; Walters & Taylor, 2012). Likewise, educators should balance entertainment and learning in the classroom (Rusu, Russel, Cocco, & DiNicolantonio, 2011). When showing the use of digital resources and formats in GBL practices (Clark, Tanner-Smith, Killingsworth & Bellamy, 2013; Connolly et al., 2012; Wastiau, Kearney & Van den Berghe, 2009; Young et al., 2012), digital GBL assumes that digital gaming is an engagement ‘phenomenon’ (Chaudary, 2008) that could bring ‘novel’ experience to learners (Hsu, Wu, Huang, Jeng, & Huang, 2008), which is ‘better’ at promoting learning to the digital native generation (Arnab et al., 2012; Gee, 2008; Prensky, 2002, 2005). However, existing literature shows few effective GBL programmes (Girard, Ecalle, & Magnan, 2012), and fewer appropriate bespoke games for schools (Lieberman, 2010). Similarly, as Pivec (2007) emphasises, “primary education games have a high presence in non-formal and informal segments of our learning” (p. 387). Although there are positive implications of digital gaming and GBL (Papastergiou, 2009; Przybylski, Rigby, & Ryan, 2010; Chen, & Huang, 2013), and the implication is maturing rapidly and tremendously while gaining increasing importance (Akilli, 2007; Pivec, 2007; Wu, Hsiao, Wu, Lin, & Huang, 2012; Oprins, Visschedijk, Roozeboom, Dankbaar, Trooster, & Schuit, 2015; Davidson & Candy, 2016) in education and training, some would insist reasoning that positive outcome is not always the case of GBL. 2

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

There is hesitancy about some approaches to game-based instructional design, namely puzzle-based, trivia or arcade games that provide memorisation of the content, in which players may lose interest after playing one or two rounds. Games that focus on complex mechanics with open objectives demand collective, collaborative and competitive activities and require high technical and network capacity to sustain gameplay. These games may be highly technical, too challenging, and could hinder engagement and learning (Simoes, Redondo, & Vilas, 2013; Ulicsak, 2010). Linderoth (2012) showed that progression in games does not necessarily imply learning and how that games facilitate progression may contain insufficient integration of and synchronisation with learning objectives and basic learning principles. This was because when GBL was created and made available, technology was the intimate focus, while pedagogical and management aspects of GBL were less thought through. This may lead to misperception about a concept or topic, thus hindering implementation and further development of GBL. Nevertheless, Whitton (2010) proposed that a more sophisticated understanding of learners’ engagement with games is required to fully appreciate the implications of adopting game-based approach. The key to engage pupils in learning activities is to understand how engagement processes occur during learning and how to provide pupils with a game-based approach to engage learning. Moreover, emphasis on best practices in classrooms to support teachers in GBL implementation (Felicia, 2009; Wastiau et al., 2009, 2013) requires research to be conducted in schools. Impact of intervention in schools can be hard to track, and it takes time to assess and publish results. As argued by Connolly et al. (2012), there was little evidence to support a long-term relationship between gameplay engagement and learning outcomes in a GBL environment. The use of games was not always successful in engaging pupils and influencing learning (O’Neil, Wainess & Baker, 2005; Tan, Johnston-Wilder, & Neill, 2008; Eseryel, Law, Ifenthaler, Ge & Miller, 2014). Iacovides, Aczel, Scanlon and Woods (2012) noted that games can enhance and limit learners’ choices and relatedness, which can influence engagement. Many researchers (e.g. Dickey, 2005; Kiili et al., 2014; Whitton, 2010; Liao, Chen, Cheng, Chen, & Chan, 2011; Oprins et al., 2015; Bouvier, Sehaba, Lavoue, & George, 2013; Bouvier, Lavoué, & Sehaba, 2014) regard engagement as the most significant measure of pupils’ attitudes to learning or learning experiences. The nature of gaming was noted to impose additional demands for the study of engagement within GBL—such condition would be important for learning environments to engage learners (Smith, 2012; Guthrie & McCann, 1997; Swan, 2003; Whitton, 2010; Muntean, 2011). Hence, examining gaming elements for engagement along with flow experiences indicates a direction for gameplay engagement (Ermi & Mayra, 2005; Csikszentmihalyi, 2008; Reynolds & Caperton, 2011), allowing gameplay sustainability over a long-time period. Researchers have 3

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

defined engagement attributes that contribute to the flow experience in gameplay, including goal, challenge, choice, control, feedback, and reward (Gee, 2007; Dickey, 2005; Killi, 2005; Csikszentmihalyi, 2008; O’Brien & Toms, 2008, 2010; Boyle, Connolly, Hainey, & Boyle 2012). Whitton (2010), Yang (2012), Wu and Richards (2012) recognised gaming elements and principles that explain the relationship between engagement and dynamic learning in gameplay. There is a growing body of research that demonstrates how engagement with technology (O’Brien & Toms, 2008; Markopolous, Read, MacFarlane & Hoysniemi, 2008) and entertainment-based gaming occur (e.g. Lee & LaRose, 2007; Sell, Lillie & Taylor, 2008; Teng, 2008; Yee, 2006), how engagement can promote and increase learning (e.g. Hess & Gunter, 2013; Ke & Abras, 2013; Tan, Goh, Ang & Huan, 2013) and how engagement occurs in learning a concept through logical and related activities (Allington & Johnston, 2002; Reutzel, 2006; Swan, 2003). However, there is limited discussion of concepts of engagement and its processes within GBL (Guthrie & Anderson, 1999; O’Brien & Toms, 2008). Little is known about principles and elements in game design (Moreno-Ger, Burgos, Martínez-Ortiz, Sierra, & Fernández-Manjón, 2008; Pinelle, Wong, & Stach, 2008; Van Staalduinen & de Freitas, 2011). To date, many reports allude to the effect and effectiveness of GBL (e.g. Tsai, Yu & Hsiao, 2012) and students’ motivation and achievement (e.g. Van Eck, 2006; Tuzun, Meryem, Karakusb, Inalb, & Kizilkaya, 2009; Gao, Lochbaum & Podlog, 2011). While there was research into the potential uses of digital games in the classroom (Wastiau et al., 2009) and into the increasing popularity of alternate reality games (ARGs) and gamification in education to motivate learners or raise engagement (Flatla et al., 2011; Moseley, Whitton, & Culver, 2009; DuBravac, 2012; Landers & Callan, 2011), there was less investigation into the educational value of these games for classroom learning. Few theories or empirical evidences support their use (Colvert, 2009; Landers & Callan, 2011). The potential of GBL has not been proven (DiCerbo, 2014). This chapter focuses on game-based instructional design for engaged learning: how gaming elements can contribute to engagement principles in curriculum-based content learning and how to best frame these engagement elements within a learning environment for intellectual engagement (i.e. cognitive and emotional engagement).


How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

HOW GBL WORKS Gameplay Engagement and Learning Process in GBL Environment A GBL approach is not merely about designing a game. The study suggests that simply producing or adopting game that is complex in design and highly interactive or commercial does not guarantee success of GBL in primary education. The design of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and customized games and their implementation need to fit appropriately into the school in general, and with the classroom context and facilities, pupils’ needs and interests, and teachers’ capacities specifically. The quality of GBL depends on the opportunities for pupils to interact with a variety of interesting materials and activities in manageable challenges. Engagement is not a matter of technology and entertainment; it depends on interaction between pupils and materials in activities that emerge throughout the gameplay. It is important to support this aspect of gaming as a GBL develops. Cognitive and emotional engagement theories in GBL that focus on psychology, game design, and user experience in human–computer interaction (HCI) might explain the process of engagement in GBL and the outcomes of engagement. The self-determination theory (SDT) proposed by Deci and Ryan (1985) may explain the motivational needs that influence engagement in gaming and learning by describing motivation around GBL based on corresponding situations in the GBL. The concept of flow and immersion introduced by Csikszentmihalyi (2008) revealed that a gamebased approach should be a result of understanding individual’s personal preferences and capabilities. User experience in HCI advocated by O’Brien and Tom (2008) could explain the engagement outcomes (e.g. Guthrie & McCann, 1997; Gunter, Kenny, & Vick, 2006; Verhoeven & Snow, 2001), as they described how engagement is formed or shaped in learning, outlining three phases of engagement processes: promoting, motivating, and supporting engagement.

Promoting Engagement Promoting engagement in GBL is the initial phase of gaming. Pupils are given a range of gaming tools and objects to freely locate and explore learning materials. Activities embedded in the tools and objects draw pupils’ attention to learning, aligning with Keller’s ARCS motivational model and Gagne’s nine events of instruction or instructional strategies. The locating and exploring experiences initiate enjoyment and motivation, which gradually invite the pupils to participate in GBL with purpose, creating meaningful gameplay.


How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

Motivating Engagement Motivating engagement in GBL is the phase during the gameplay where pupils are engaged with the elements in the GBL that are fully incorporated into the learning activities. Likewise, as informed by research (Ainsworth & VanLabeke, 2004; Cordova & Lepper, 1996; Malone, 1980; Van der Meij & de Jong, 2004), it is a condition that enables pupils to relate and apply the activity to a real-world context. This condition provides a sense of enjoyment and motivation that is rewarding for them. In this phase, gaming features and elements challenge the pupils’ abilities in accordance with Gagne’s instructional strategy that stimulates performance (Gunter et al., 2006). This corresponds with the confidence or challenge and satisfaction or success categories of Keller’s ARCS model (Gunter et al., 2006).

Supporting Engagement When challenges in GBL do not suit pupils’ abilities, the pupils disengage themselves from GBL. They need guidance or support to balance their abilities and challenges, in order to reengage with the gameplay and content of learning. This disengagement and reengagement processes were defined by O’Brien and Tom (2008) and related to the concept of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 2008). Supporting engagement in GBL occurs wherever pupils need assistance and support, including timely and accurate feedback, or layered or scaffold challenges when in search of answers or solutions to a problem or task (Ainsworth & VanLabeke, 2004; Cordova & Lepper, 1996; Malone, 1980; Van der Meij & de Jong, 2004). Pupils should be given appropriate supportive gaming elements and features to find solutions, avoid conflict, solve problems, or complete tasks. This overlaps with the confidence or challenge, and satisfaction or success categories of the Keller’s ARCS model (Gunter et al., 2006). This also reflects three Gagne’s instructional strategies (Gunter et al., 2006): provide learning guidance and instructions, provide feedback, and enhance retention and transfer.

GBL Design Framework for Engagement To map the framework, a simple but convenient way of classifying different modes of a GBL design approach is presented, which captures the characteristics of GBL design for engagement. Figure 1 illustrates four main modes that make up a comprehensive GBL design framework. The ‘flexible’ mode of GBL is an opportunity given to pupils to move around or browse a gaming environment that promotes gameplay (Figure 1). Firstly, being flexible is a critical part of GBL design, particularly with respect to engagement and learning. With the flexible mode in the GBL approach, pupils are provided with 6

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

Figure 1. The key modes of a comprehensive GBL design framework

opportunities for discovering resources and materials, as well as activities that will provide the kind of experience they want or expect. Gaming and learning can be fairly straightforward if the pupils are familiar with the activities and materials related to the game. However, to get to the point where pupils have both the enjoyment and the motivation necessary to play the game and learn the content, the GBL instructional design must have directions that tell the pupils that particular goals and objectives need to be achieved, with rules and procedures to follow, namely a ‘sensible’ mode. In other words, the ‘sensible’ mode is the directions (i.e. rules and procedures) given to pupils to establish a motive or purpose of playing and to achieve their gaming goals or objectives. Viewed this way, part of the gameplay and learning in GBL is already set. In addition, the GBL must be set in a ‘manageable’ mode to provide a balance between what the pupils are capable of and the tasks in the gameplay. So, ‘manageable’ in this context means the supportive environment that is provided in the GBL design to help pupils to complete tasks or find solutions for solving problems to progress. In this way, GBL can better support gameplay and learning when the pupils are not quite sure what they are supposed to do. Finally, another approach is for the GBL to model and represent continuous connections and associations between motivation and enjoyment – to offer a ‘sustainable’ mode. The ‘sustainable’ mode of a GBL design implies simply allowing pupils to absorb challenges and to be open to the possibility of being challenged further 7

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

in the gameplay to improve their performance. The idea is that pupils are invited to get involved in the GBL and that if they are equipped with guidance and support, they will be able to find the kind of gameplay and learning they want or expect. This mode can help in continuous gameplay and learning by increasing challenges and then making recommendations based on vague and perhaps confused queries regarding solutions. Ultimately, the sustainable mode helps GBL to add challenges or to challenge pupils’ capabilities. This will mean that when pupils complete a task, they will be able to go to the next level of gameplay and explore the content further. In this way, GBL will improve both the links and the opportunities for pupils trying out things, gaining content knowledge, and being supported in their engagement and learning. However, its effectiveness depends on designers and teachers leveraging the key modes to design a GBL approach.

WHAT GBL MEANS FOR PUPILS Pupil’s Requirements for an Engaging GBL There are many elements of engagement and factors that influence engagement in GBL. Engagement is a complex concept and difficult to measure. Most current approaches of GBL focus on using games to capture pupils’ attention of pupils, motivate them, or support gameplay by adopting: a) specific game types or genres, e.g. adventure, role-play, or strategy games, b) specific game platforms, e.g. video, handheld, or board games or ARGs, or c) specific game technical features, e.g. multi-player or virtual reality. Nonetheless, how pupils will become engaged in gameplay could not be predicted because different elements in games engage different individuals for different reasons in various phases of a gameplay. Arguably, there is no control over engagement in GBL because, as discussed, pupils of different ages and genders have their own preferences for materials and activities, and each teacher has specific strategies, resources, and methods of teaching to engage pupils, depending on their skills and knowledge. Thus, an engaging GBL for pupils’ learning cannot be designed since how pupils will become engaged with the gameplay is not known. However, this study found that: a) most pupils wanted and needed a variety of topics of interest from various materials and activities, b) most of them wanted to take control on their own, and c) managing challenge, e.g. in puzzles and conflicts frequently depends on mixing information and clues from many resources, e.g. teachers, peers, and in-built tools and reference items. Based on this finding, the focus of GBL design should be creating cohesive and coherent instructions that provide opportunities for pupils to become engaged learners. Therefore, a GBL approach ought to be designed to facilitate pupils to discover and judge what they 8

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

may be interested in, from a collection of materials and activities, and to provide guidelines to instructional designers, teachers, and researchers, affording them to ensure that a variety of topics of pupils’ interest from various materials and activities are provided; more controls are provided; and the challenges are in accordance with the pupils’ abilities through a supportive environment. GBL design for engagement and its impact on gameplay engagement and learning are complex to explain (Abdul Jabbar & Felicia, 2015), probably because of its interdisciplinary roots: game characteristics, e.g. genre, type, platform and gameplay mode, players’ personal characteristics, e.g. age group, gender, interests, needs and experiences, learning content of curriculum-based subjects, and learning objectives. It is also because engagement is hidden and is not a conscious process among players. Thus, it is challenging for teachers and designers to design engagement in GBL, but they can design instructions for engagement. This means providing opportunities for engagement in GBL through the various phases, elements or factors to impact on engagement in GBL. In a survey conducted with pupils, GBL requirements for engagement were generated by understanding what the pupils wants and needs in learning materials, and activities (Abdul Jabbar & Felicia, 2016). The pupils’ differences were reflected in their preferred materials, and activities that they had access to. These differences drive pupils’ engagement from how pupils are motivated to how satisfied they are. The findings revealed that across the teaching and learning materials (e.g. school textbooks, comics, newspapers and blogs), from various resources (e.g. non-digital, computers, websites and applications) and activities (e.g. group discussions, answering comprehension questions and working on worksheets), the contents provided to the pupils were not always appealing to them and did not relate to what they valued. Factors such as limited choices, being too demanding in terms of difficulty level and time consumption and featuring uninteresting and unsuitable topics or genres in relation to the pupils’ ages and genders, among others, significantly explained the dissatisfaction of most participating pupils towards existing teaching and learning components. Meaningfulness was central to gameplay engagement and the quality of learning experiences. Pupils’ motivation to play and their commitment to completing the game, regardless of the challenges, are more likely to be achieved and increased if the activities and feedback provided are meaningful to the pupils. Relating procedures and rules to gaming objectives and tasks motivates pupils in GBL. Meaningful tasks and supports to complete the gaming tasks were perceived as important to engagement strategies. Most importantly, linking the gaming objectives with materials and activities was central to meaningful and challenging gameplay for engagement and learning. This study suggested that meaningfulness and challenges are the strategies likely to help improve engagement and learning through gameplay. The readiness 9

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

or capacities of a GBL approach to provide opportunities for pupils in gaming tasks and access direct support (e.g. teachers, peers, and reference materials) and indirect support (e.g. hints and clues by text or pictures) are key elements of quality GBL that arises from the gameplay. These opportunities were important to the outcomes of both structured gaming, such as with specific objectives and tasks, as well as gaming derived through exploration of objects or guessing of answers. This study also underlined the importance of teachers’ inclination to GBL, though this was not the main focus of the study. This interesting understanding unfolded how elements and factors work to influence engagement and learning during gameplay. These findings provide interesting insights into how engagement operates in GBL environments. The study illustrated that GBL effectiveness is based on the extent to which pupils engage purposefully in the gameplay. This study and other studies (Eseryel et al., 2014; Iacovides et al., 2012; O’Neil et al., 2005; Tan et al., 2008) suggested that a game by itself cannot provide engagement.

WHAT GBL MEANS FOR TEACHERS Teachers’ Readiness for GBL GBL appears to be helping teachers to engage pupils in learning topics that are considered uninteresting to most pupils (e.g. verbs in the English language) or learning basic concepts in science (e.g. types of simple machines) through gameplay. The study conducted by Abdul Jabbar and Felicia (2016) suggested that obtaining the right combination and strategies of all different teaching strategies, approaches, materials, and activities creates the best possible GBL solution for many different needs and situations. The pupils’ perception on GBL engagement depended on individual factors and teachers’ approaches. The case study confirmed these findings and indicated that this readiness of GBL as an effective teaching and learning medium is subject to teachers’ perceptions and capabilities to leverage their experiences, skills and knowledge of GBL to promote and sustain pupils’ engagement. Based on the analysis of the email responses and discussions with the teachers upon invitation to the GBL study, two of the reasons that most of the teachers declined to participate were insufficient time and significant workloads. The time and effort required to integrate the GBL design into classroom practice and evaluate the occurrence of engagement and learning performance systematically over time were also part of the limitations. Therefore, integrating research into their teaching practices was perceived as something that added stress to teachers. This issue was


How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

not unique to this study; similar difficulties were encountered when introducing or incorporating design research into practice (Penuel, Roschelle, & Shechtman, 2007), particularly in the study of GBL (Whitton, 2010). As acknowledged by Robson (2002), the dual role of observer and participator is not easy, partly because teachers have difficulty finding extra time to plan and prepare for the activities (Penuel et al., 2007). One of the main reasons for not participating, or reluctance to participate, included teachers’ commitments to other school-based projects and initiatives, as well as teachers not being comfortable with using a GBL approach in the classroom. As reported, teachers were concerned about advanced technical requirements or Internet connection speeds (Wastiau et al., 2009). This was also an issue noted by two teachers in a discussion about the possibility of carrying out the research in their school. This perception, supported by looking at the practices of most schools, suggests that when a teacher thinks of GBL as a teaching and learning approach, they believe that what it really means is an intense focus on computers or videos. Thus, GBL is often used as a synonym for a digital, high-tech and complex gaming environment. Such perceptions or expectations significantly contribute to the rejection of GBL. This perception, however, yields some important insights into GBL and school-based studies, as well as gameplay engagement. Employing a game-based approach that works within a classroom and extended learning environments that lack technological facilities and capacity is a key concern of primary-school teachers. They see that games create obsessions with computers and technology. In addition, the teachers argued that games impede social and collaborative learning, which is supposed to be fostered in classrooms.

WHAT GBL MEANS FOR CLASSROOM LEARNING Mapping Gaming Elements and Learning Principles of Engagement A more logical recombination of the strategies, approaches, materials, and activities to reconstruct a variety of learning experiences and settings to support and sustain learning if gaming innovations were to be explored further. Moreover, administrative tools could be provided to manage and monitor learning activities and materials effectively and efficiently. Table 1 illustrates the mapping of key components upon which GBL should be built, as presented in a GBL flowchart (Abdul Jabbar & Felicia, 2016) based on the findings of the systematic literature review, needs analysis through pupil surveys, and a case study of classroom observations.


How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

Table 1. Mapping of gaming elements and learning principles of engagement Phase of Engagement Promoting engagement and learning

Motivating engagement and learning

Supporting engagement and learning

Gaming Elements

Learning Principles of Engagement

Objects and characters

The survey suggests that two of the first things teacher-designers can do to create interest in playing to learn are: provide pupils with opportunities to observe and interact with a variety of gaming resources and have interesting content for pupils to discover that makes connections with their characteristics along the way as pupils browse, search and interact with the gaming resources.

Challenges, choices and control

Clues and hints or feedback

The survey findings emphasise that a large number of pupils play games to compete and play with others and win the game. GBL must be designed to challenge the pupils. To beat the challenges, pupils are driven to be in control. Accordingly, gaming enables pupils to undertake challenging tasks through different levels of difficulty. Pupils can go from easy to difficult levels. Those who have little knowledge about the topic may find the very first level difficult, but those who have deeper knowledge may find level one easy. Therefore, level of difficulty apparently depends on the players’ background knowledge of the topic. The literature review, survey and case study suggests that what GBL can do to provide support in gameplay is to provide a variety of topics for pupils to choose from and materials or resources for them to seek help as they play either to solve problems, puzzles or conflicts or to hinder obstacles. So, pupils are directed to go through the layers of learning content embedded in the game. Most importantly, they do not have to go through it in a linear order, unless needed. They should identify what to pay attention to for solutions. If they want to seek help or clues, the resources are available to support them.

The mapping considers evidence related to the gaming elements and features that contribute to promoting, motivating and supporting engagement and learning processes in the systematic review and interesting and variety of materials and meaningfulness and challenges in gameplay, that were derived from the pupil survey and comparative case study. The table illustrates how engagement with gameplay provides opportunities for pupils to become engaged learners in a GBL environment. The goals in GBL should be met by pupils interacting with various types of learning materials (e.g. schedules, maps, tables, stories, songs and comments) from multiple resources (i.e. printed or digital, academic or leisure) that are useful for seeking answers and solving problems. When these resources are embedded into gaming environments, players can extend their knowledge and skills across the gaming activities or tasks to complete the intended goals and objectives.


How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

Outlining a GBL Platform for Gameplay Engagement and Classroom Learning Following the evidence presented in the mapping of gaming elements and learning principles of engagement in Table 1, a structure was constructed to outline a GBL platform to facilitate engagement, adapting the underlying principles of engagement in gaming and aligning them with learning principles of engagement, which make it possible for pupils to explore and comprehend curriculum-based content in a more ‘engaging’ way. In practical terms, best practices and framework are technically useful to GBL product development. What GBL best practices and framework could add to GBL design and implementation is the experiences processes of providing engagement and learning. Following the discussion presented in this study, outlines of how teachers could create an innovative GBL approach for engagement and learning, and the processes of how pupils might engage in the gameplay and learning within a GBL environment was drawn, and best practices to designing a GBL environment for engagement and learning that were recommended by Abdul Jabbar and Felicia (2016): 1) Have a plan to invite pupils to play and involve them in the gameplay, 2) Set achievable challenges, guided choices and control for pupils to increase and develop their skills and knowledge, and 3) Set supporting mechanisms to meet abilities and challenges identified four key modes of a comprehensive GBL design framework to illustrate how the GBL approach may be able to provide opportunities for engagement. This framework includes guidelines for designing and developing flexible yet sensible, manageable and sustainable learning and gaming that are capable of engaging pupils in GBL. While play elements are important to successful learning in a GBL environment to entertain players (Facer, 2003; Jantke, 2010; Klug & Schell, 2006) for engagement, it is also important that the game design provides knowledge in engaging ways, and that it matches players’ expectations; these expectations are perceived as extra and meta gameplay by Jantke (2010). Thus, in conceptualising the GBL approach, the pupils’ profiles synthesised from the findings of the pupil survey preferences of materials, and activities (e.g. book lovers, information seekers, game fans, and casual readers, explorers and gamers) were used as a way of outlining the learning and gaming behaviour around game design (features, materials, and activities) and instructional design to facilitate engagement (i.e. promoting, motivating and supporting engagement) within a GBL environment. It is essential to acknowledge pupils’ profiles (i.e. modes of learning and gaming) to understand the learning instructions and gaming principles that govern GBL design to include the following: a) elements required to satisfy pupils’ learning and gaming motivation (i.e. goals, tasks, conflicts and supports) and b) an effective support system to facilitate pupils to act in the gameplay. That is, to engage pupils to make conscious decisions to 13

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determine the access points, paths or solutions that will take them to multiple layers of materials, and activities for deeper learning processes in achieving the goals. The ideas intend to introduce some careful and reasonable dimensions of gaming principles of engagement and align them with learning theories, subject knowledge, skills, and outcomes (i.e. learning and motivational) to fully integrate GBL applications that combine learning components in a GBL environment for the successful delivery of teaching and learning of curriculum content. The goal of the innovative GBL design is to bridge the gap between 1) the dominant GBL approach, which is centred on digital and complex gaming (e.g. MMORPGs, ARGs and COTS games), versus 2) the influential but mistreated interactive multimedia resources (e.g. 3D animations and avatars) and simple gaming mechanics (e.g. puzzle-based gaming and the gamification concept) that accommodate pupils’ technological needs and technology’s limitations. In essence, phases of engagement and engagement principles presented in other research (e.g. Allington & Johnston, 2002; Guthrie & McCann, 1997; O’Brien & Tom, 2008) were adopted and an attempt was made to conceptualise innovative GBL to facilitate game-based instructional design best practices for engagement and learning, as informed in this study. Although findings largely support recognized game elements of engagement and principles of engagement in learning (e.g. challenge, curiosity and choices, and reward and feedback) by many research (e.g. Malone, 1980; Dickey, 2005; O’Brien & Toms, 2008), an approach to GBL instructional design that suggest potential extensions to existing GBL approach that mostly focused on game design and technologies, rather than engagement and learning processes was also uncovered. As grounded in the current study’s findings and existing literature, a brief description of a proposed conceptual design of an innovative GBL platform was presented in Table 2. The table outlines and briefly describes how engagement and learning opportunities could be provided in a GBL environment to cohesively and coherently provide opportunities for engagement with the gameplay and in learning the curriculum content and achieving learning objectives through the phases of engagement. As outlined by Abdul Jabbar and Felicia (2016) in Figure 2, the innovative GBL approach attempts to provide opportunities for pupils to find what engages them by focusing on gaming elements and strategies in its design as follows: •


Gaming Objects to Promote Gaming and Learning: This GBL approach introduces various topics of interest and ideas to the pupils through gaming objects to encourage or invite pupils to the gameplay, thus setting a goal to play. Challenges to Motivate Gaming and Learning: Once the pupils have encountered the challenges (i.e. by conflicts, obstacles or scenarios), they have entered the interface where they are provided with opportunities to

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

Table 2. Brief description of a proposed conceptual design of an innovative GBL platform for the provision of engaged learning

make their own choices of gaming activities, topics of interest and levels that challenge their capabilities (i.e. knowledge and skills). Supportive Learning Tools to Support Gaming and Learning: To meet the challenge and complete a task, the pupils need to look for support (e.g. to browse and search bits and pieces of information for clues from various materials provided or from the teacher and peers) and will most probably be rewarded for their efforts and achievements. 15

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Figure 2. Coherence of GBL for engagement and learning in regard to the study findings

Working Model of a GBL Platform for Gameplay Engagement and Classroom Learning It is important to note that this working model of a GBL platform is part of a wider environment of GBL, which includes digital and non-digital gaming activities and support materials. The overall structure of the design concept behind the working model of the GBL platform is shown in Figure 3. This overall structure of the GBL platform has a basis in the phases of engagement and the engagement concepts informed in Table 2 (i.e. based on the findings discussed in this thesis and other research). This proposed GBL platform model merges existing GBL models, in particular the often-referenced models in GBL studies (i.e. digital gaming, gamification and ARG), and existing principles and framework for engaged learning (e.g. Allington & Johnston, 2002; Guthrie & McCann, 1997; Wang & Kang, 2006). This proposed extension to GBL approach is consistent with a growing perspective on gameplay engagement and engaged learning within a GBL environment. The findings suggest that key components (“ChaRMIng”: Challenging, Relevant/Meaningful, and Interesting) should be considered throughout the entire instructional design process for providing engaging gameplay and learning experiences throughout the phases of engagement (i.e. promoting, motivating and supporting engagement) within GBL environments. The way in which pupils become engaged 16

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

Figure 3. The overall organisation of the working model of the proposed GBL platform

in learning and gaming depends by and large on how interesting, meaningful and challenging the materials, resources and activities are perceived by them. In short, the key design principle for engagement in GBL has to be ‘ChaRMInG’, as shown in Figure 4. The proposed model suggests inclusion of moderating variables (i.e. school technology’ capacities, teachers’ abilities to leverage GBL models in planning a GBL approach, and pupils’ preferences for materials, and activities), that is, largely absent in prior GBL frameworks, which mainly focused on game design relating to digital and multimedia technology. These variables may affect pupils’ engagement and teachers’ use of GBL in the classroom and for extended learning. Accordingly, Figure 3 illustrates that the GBL platform is divided into two main areas: Areas A and B. Area A covers digital technology, ranging from low- (i.e. 2D graphics and animation) to high-tech (i.e. 3D graphics and animations and highly interactive simulations) digital multimedia. Therefore, the digital-based gaming objects (e.g. the interactive globe) should be direct promotional elements of engagement in GBL that inspire gameplay. However, it was clear from the outset that adopting the technology should be broadly based on the capacities of the schools and teacher17

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

Figure 4. “ChaRMInG”: the three key design principles for engagement in GBL

designers who are involved in the design and development of the GBL, and pupils’ preferences for successful implementation as informed in the pupil survey (i.e. key components of GBL, that is Challenging, Relevant/Meaningful, and Interesting) and case study (i.e. meaningfulness and challenges as engagement strategies). This informed engagement strategy in GBL instructional design best practice, derived from this study, involves: a) leading the pupils through a programme of gaming activities (in Area B) and b) making the gaming activities become progressively more complicated and demanding at each level of difficulty (e.g. easy, moderate or difficult). This condition provides opportunities for pupils to meaningfully connect with the game and build up their motivation, which would need appropriate support for progression and completion. By the pupils’ preferences and observations of GBL in classrooms, gaming activities would have to be rather challenging and interactive, thus making it possible for the pupils to move about (i.e. virtually or physically), make assumptions and choices, and have control over their progress based on their capabilities (i.e. subject and gaming knowledge and skills). Thus, gaming activities in Area B are made flexible for the teacher-designers to adopt either high- or low-tech gaming technology or to adopt either fully digital or non-digital games, or a mixture of both, ranging from board and card games to arcade, strategy and simulation-based games. This makes it possible for teachers to implement GBL based on the school’s capacities and their own capabilities, as well as their pupils’ interests and learning needs. Likewise, teacher-designers would use any format to provide support, providing opportunities for pupils to interact directly with their peers and teachers, in which the supportive elements would be provided in the form of digital and non-digital materials. Nevertheless, whether the proposed working model of the GBL platform 18

How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

is feasible for teachers to work on and engage pupils, or if it inhibits progress in engagement cannot be certain. However, the significant gameplay engagement and engaged learning in GBL are presumed to occur with the alignment of many gaming elements and factors between the phases of engagement and learning processes.

CONCLUSION It is important to note that the findings and discussions in this chapter were bound to several limitations. The weakest part of this study was not being able to obtain a full cooperation from the schools and teachers to involve in this study. The small sample size meant that the findings could not be generalised to wider implications for GBL approaches for engagement and learning. Most likely survey data of three schools and observational data of two classrooms would not allow the researcher to generalise the situation. It would have been better for many more schools to have taken part in the study. However, this study recognised the complexity of gaming elements in GBL for engaging gameplay and learning experiences. The gaming elements and the relationship between gaming and learning determine the engagement types that a GBL design can provide, and the way learning may progress and implemented in the classroom. To understanding how games can be an effective learning approach for engagement, the design of GBL should elaborate opportunities for engagement, and how pupils elect to engage in learning activities, with gaming support and teachers’ guidance. Particularly, the readiness of GBL to provide engagement opportunities and access to support was found as a key determinant of the quality of GBL. Finally, by researchers and published in peer-review journals, it suggests that the engagement principles in gaming works in enhancing learning process for pupils to become engaged learners. Researchers believe that GBL interventions, should be evaluated through well-conducted studies to define and confirm its effectiveness. Nevertheless, no studies have yet come up with a reliable complex design and measurement of engagement and learning in GBL. However, more systematic occurrence of engagement and learning can be seen in recent GBL practices. This occurrence of engagement is divided along the lines of how the phases of engagement (i.e. promoting, motivating and supporting engagement), the gaming elements of engagement (i.e. multimedia, motivational, interactive and supportive elements) and the key modes of the GBL design for engagement (i.e. flexible, sensible, manageable and sustainable) can work. The end results of the future study should provide more details about how engagement works, through which a comprehensive GBL design framework can be established. This is certainly encouraging for future research on engagement and learning, for a more successful provision of GBL, particularly in primary education. 19

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Verhoeven, L., & Snow, E. C. (2001). Literacy and motivation. In L. Verhoeven & C. E. Snow (Eds.), Literacy and motivation: Reading engagement in individuals and groups. Lawrence Erlbaum. Walters, A. C., & Taylor, J. D. (2012). Self-regulated learning perspective on students’ engagement. Handbook of Research on Student Engagement, 4, 635-651. Wang, M., & Kang, M. (2006). Cybergogy for engaged learning: a framework for creating learner engagement through information and communication technology. In D. Hung & M. S. Khine (Eds.), Engaged Learning with Emerging Technologies. Dordrecht: Springer. doi:10.1007/1-4020-3669-8_11 Wastiau, P., Blamire, R., Kearney, C., Quittre, V., Van de Gaer, E., & Monseur, C. (2013). The use of ICT in education: A survey of schools in Europe. European Journal of Education, 48(1), 11–27. doi:10.1111/ejed.12020 Wastiau, P., Kearney, C., & Van den Berghe, W. (2009). How are digital games used in schools? Complete results of the study. Final report (A. Joyce, P. Gerhard, & M. Debry, Eds.). Brussels: European Schoolnet. EUN Partnership AISBL. Whitton, N. (2010). Learning with digital games. A practical guide to engaging students in higher education. New York: Routledge. Whitworth, A. S., & Berson, J. M. (2003). Computer technology in social studies. An examination of the effectiveness literature (1996-2001). Contemporary Issues in Technology & Teacher Education, 2(4), 472–509. Wu, M. L., & Richards, K. (2012). Learning with Educational Games for the Intrepid 21st Century Learners. In P. Resta (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 55-74). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Wu, W. H., Hsiao, H. C., Wu, P. L., Lin, C. H., & Huang, S. H. (2012). Investigating the learning‐theory foundations of game‐based learning: A meta‐analysis. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(3), 265–279. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00437.x Yang, C. Y. (2012). Building virtual cities, inspiring intelligent citizens: Digital games for developing students’ problem solving and learning motivation. Computers & Education, 59(2), 365–377. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2012.01.012 Yee, N. (2006). Motivations for playing online games. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 9(6), 772–775. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9.772 PMID:17201605


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Young, F. M., Slota, S., Cutter, B. A., Jalette, G., Mulli, G., Lai, B., ... Yukhymenko, M. (2012). Our princess is in another castle: A review of trends in serious gaming for education. Review of Educational Research, 82(1), 61–89. doi:10.3102/0034654312436980

ADDITIONAL READING Bruning, R., & Schweiger, B. M. (1997). Integrating science and literacy experiences to motivate student learning. In T. J. Guthrie & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Reading engagement: Motivating readers through integrated instruction. International Reading Association. Guthrie, T. J., & Cox, E. K. (2001). Classroom conditions for motivation and engagement in reading. Educational Psychology Review, 13(3), 283–302. doi:10.1023/A:1016627907001 Huizenga, J., Admiraal, W., Akkerman, S., & Dam, G. (2009). Mobile game-based learning in secondary education: Engagement, motivation and learning in a mobile city game. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 25(4), 332–344. doi:10.1111/ j.1365-2729.2009.00316.x Ranalli, J. (2008). Learning English with The Sims: Exploiting authentic computer simulation games for L2 learning. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21(5), 441–455. doi:10.1080/09588220802447859 Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E. (2005). Rules of play: Game design fundamentals. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS Case Study: A research method that emphasizes the participant’s perspectives as central to the process of data analysis, and the goal is analytical generalization. Classroom Observations: A data collection method where participants’ behaviors are observed to investigate learning experiences and performance. Commitment: One of the outcomes of engagement. Engagement: A complex concept in gameplay and a condition in learning. A capacity to create and sustain a momentum of enjoyment and motivation for individuals to participate, commit, accomplish tasks and goals in an activity.


How Game-Based Learning Works and What It Means for Pupils, Teachers, and Classroom

Framework: Contains a set of modes required for an approach or design. It is used to describe and organize the critical components of an approach or design. It establishes the outline of the approach or design. Game-Based Learning: A teaching and learning approach that uses games, the elements in games, gaming mechanics to facilitate engagement and learning of curriculum-based contents. Instructional Design: A systematic process to design structured learning activities to help learners achieve the learning objectives. Motivation: An emotional and cognitive needs that influence engagement and learning. Pupil Survey: A data collection method that can objectively provide significant input into participants’ insights to investigate the thoughts and feelings, experiences, and their perceptions. Systematic Literature Review: A method of data collection that involves deliberate selection of keywords to search for related research topics, inclusion and exclusion criteria of selected articles that studied similar subjects, and critically analyze the multiple research methods used and the results to find and analyze studies that relate to the topic and participants.



Chapter 2

A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments: GELD Model

Tugce Aldemir Pennsylvania State University, USA Amine Hatun Ataş Middle East Technical University, Turkey Berkan Celik Middle East Technical University, Turkey & Van Yuzuncu Yil University, Turkey

ABSTRACT This formative research study is an attempt to develop a design model for gamified learning experiences situated in real-life educational contexts. This chapter reports on the overall gamification model with the emphasis on the contexts and their interactions. With this focus, this chapter aims to posit an alternative perspective to existing gamification design praxis in education which mainly focuses on separate game elements, by arguing that designing a gamified learning experience needs a systematic approach with considerations of the interrelated dimensions and their interplays. The study was conducted throughout the 2014-15 academic year, and the data were collected from two separate groups of pre-service teachers through observations and document collections (n=118) and four sets of interviews (n=42). The results showed that gamification design has intertwined components that form a fuzzy design model: GELD. The findings also support the complex and the dynamic nature of gamified learning design, and the need for a more systematic approach to design and development of such experiences. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6026-5.ch002 Copyright © 2019, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.

A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

INTRODUCTION Advances in technology and the prevalence of information and knowledge networks have created new contexts that engage learners in different modalities, including online social networks, video games, and various connected learning opportunities. Games as one of these advancements have the potential of motivating learners (Reigeluth & Squire, 1998), providing a learner-centered, entertaining and captivating experience (Prensky, 2001). Due to their potential, there has been a great deal of interest in educational game design especially by companies who create thousands of games each year in search of new venues for profit maximization. However, the cost of the educational games (Cruickshank & Telfer, 1980) and integrating educational content into game-environments (Prensky, 2001) are considered to be some of the problems of the serious games. An alternative is gamification, which originated from the digital media industry in 2008 and became widely known in the second half of 2010 (Deterding, Sicart, Nacke, O’Hara, & Dixon, 2011). The basic idea of gamification is to provide motivating and engaging real-life activities using the game elements (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011). Although there is no commonly accepted gamification definition (Seaborn & Fels, 2015), there are some definitions of gamification that are mainly accepted and practiced. For example, Kapp (2012) defined gamification as “...using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems” (p. 10). Among other gamification definitions in different fields of study, the most prevalent definition was provided by Deterding, Khaled, Nacke, and Dixon (2011) as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts” (p. 2). The potential of gamification in educational contexts has been recognized by several researchers (Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1986; Mcgonigal, 2011; Kapp, 2012; Su, 2016; Yapıcı & Karakoyun, 2017; Yıldırım, 2017). While some researchers seek to develop new gamification models and frameworks (Werbach & Hunter, 2012; Urh, Vukovic, Jereb, & Pintar, 2015; Liu, Santhanam, & Webster, 2017), others have used game design models and frameworks to design gamified experience (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011). The studies conducted on gamification provide both promising and disappointing results (Robertson, 2010; Bogost, 2011; Kelly, 2011; Berengueres, Alsuwairi, Zaki & Ng, 2013; Domínguez, et al., 2013; Duggan & Shoup, 2013). Successful examples of gamified learning experience such as Khan Academy and Quest to Learn show the potential advantages gamification can bring to educational contexts. On the other hand, it is also highly criticized for lacking the core game characteristics and trying to build fun by simply integrating some game elements such as points, badges and leaderboards in non-game occasions (Bogost, 2011; Robertson, 2010). Criticisms are raised by game designers such as Bogost (2011), Robertson (2010), and Kelly (2011), and focus mostly on how the 31

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gamified experience is designed and how people use it. Putting together the points, badges, and leaderboards, namely PBLs, as Chou (2015), one of the gamification pioneers, calls, it may not work to motivate learners. Similar to a successful video game, gamification also needs its own design process. First and foremost, it is quite important to examine what makes games so motivating and then, based on a design model, a gamified experience could be created. Although it can be possible to follow game design models and principles (Ferrara, 2012) while designing gamified learning experiences, the relative absence or the inadequacies of a gamification design model especially tailored for instructional contexts is extremely crucial. This issue has been the main driving force behind this study. Unlike the majority of the existing gamification studies focusing on the single game elements, and how they impact the motivational and engaging nature of instruction, this paper favors Brown’s (1992) arguments about synergistic nature of classroom life. That suggests that changing one part of a systemic whole might create perturbations in the others. Therefore, the design considerations for reallife classroom environments should be held in a systemic approach that takes all the aspects into account equally and holistically (Brown, 1992). This concern has necessitated delving into an analysis of the fundamental characteristics of the gamification process by specifically looking at the question of how to combine its components for real-life praxis. Given that, the main purpose of this study is to produce an instructional design model for a gamified environment and make a humble contribution to instructional design theory by using empirical data obtained and analyzed from undergraduate students. The model developed could probe for further discussions about addressing complex and dynamic nature of the real-life educational contexts in the process of designing gamified learning experiences. On the basis of this purpose, this chapter reports on the overall model with the emphasis of one dominant pattern: the contexts and the interactions between these contexts. With this focus, this paper aims to posit an alternative perspective to the existing gamification design praxis in educational contexts which mainly focus on separate game elements and their characteristics, by arguing that designing a gamified learning experience needs a systematic approach with considerations of the interrelated dimensions and their interplays.

LITERATURE REVIEW Gamification in Education In education, researchers and practitioners all around the world showed noticeable efforts in order to gamify learning environments and to reveal the effects of 32

A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

gamification. Particularly, gamification of learning environments has been shown to impact achievement (Aşıksoy, 2017; de-Marcos, Domínguez, Saenz-de-Navarrete, & Pages, 2014; Lister, 2015), attitude towards lessons (Yildirim, 2017), engagement (Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014; Tan & Hew, 2016), enjoyment (Baxter, Holderness, & Wood, 2015; Li, Grossman, & Fitzmaurice, 2012), learning (Alcivar & Abad, 2016; Buckley & Doyle, 2014), motivation (Abramovich, Schunn, & Higashi, 2013; Lister, 2015), participation (Cronk, 2012; Lister, 2015), and satisfaction (Alcivar & Abad, 2016; Armstrong & Landers, 2017). Gamification benefits from a number of game design elements, and aligning these elements (mechanics, dynamics, and emotions) appropriately leads to the success of gamification (Robson, Plangger, Kietzmann, McCarthy, & Pitt, 2016). There are different pieces such as points, emotions, challenges, progression and many more that can be put together to create different types of game context for diverse experiences in non-game environments (Werbach & Hunter, 2012). However, the effects of gamification and its potential to improve learning depend on its good design and appropriate utilization because these effects are reliant on implementation and context (Dicheva, Dichev, Agre, & Angelova, 2015; Hamari et al., 2014). Due to the complex and dynamic nature of the real-life educational contexts (Brown, 1992), the effective design and implementation of gamification necessitate great effort with a systematic approach (Dicheva et al., 2015; Huang & Soman, 2013; Domínguez et al., 2013).

Gamification Frameworks Gamification has been applied in several fields including business, healthcare, information systems, and education. As a result, some frameworks or models for gamification have appeared in these fields. Mora, Riera, Gonzalez, & Arnedo-Moreno (2015) conducted a literature review of gamification frameworks, and revealed 18 design frameworks trying to formalize the gamification design process. These design frameworks were classified into two distinct categories as generic frameworks and business-specific frameworks which were sorted by time, background, and scope. Another review of gamification design frameworks on relevant publications from diverse areas was carried out by Mora, Riera, González, and Arnedo-Moreno (2017). They reviewed 40 frameworks, and they grouped framework application areas into generic, business, learning, and health. Of the generic frameworks, some researchers have preferred to use MDA (Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics) (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011), DMC (Dynamics, Mechanics and Components (Werbach & Hunter, 2012), and 6D (Werbach & Hunter, 2012). 6D framework, which was also adapted in this study, consists of 6 iterative phases all of which start with the letter D: 1. Define business objectives, 2. Delineate target behaviors, 3. Describe your players, 4. Devise activity loops, 5. Don’t forget fun, and 6. Deploy the appropriate tools. 33

A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

Simões, Redondo, and Vilas (2013) expressed a social gamification framework for a K-6 learning platform in the form of social gamification guidelines and main features in order to assist educators and schools to increase motivation of students and learning outcomes. According to authors, social gamification is seen as the use of game mechanics and game-thinking from social games which will be implemented in non-game contexts (e.g., social learning environments). Game elements are considered in a social gamification of education instead of games by themselves. Furthermore, Nah, Telaprolu, Rallapalli, and Venkata (2013) proposed a gamification framework for computer educational games. The components of the gamification framework are gamification principles, system design elements for gamification, and engagement/cognitive absorption of users. The framework aims to provide guidance and recommendations for software designers and researchers in order to gamify educational applications. Kotini and Tzelepi (2015) presented a student-centered gamification-based framework to develop activities for teaching computer science, especially computational thinking based on intrinsic motivation. Due to the student-centered nature of the framework, students are given chances to fail experiment and to learn at their own pace based on their own rules so that students’ involvement in the learning process could be enhanced. In the framework, game design elements are introduced and readjusted in a learning context. These game design elements are the core points on which the learning activities for computational thinking will be built based on constructivist learning theory. Mora, Zaharias, Gonzalez, & Arnedo-Moreno (2016) presented a framework for agile gamification of learning experiences (FRAGGLE). The conceptual framework aims to contribute to gamifying learning experiences, especially in higher education via Agile methodologies for the purpose of reaching a fast Minimum Viable Product (MVP) ready for testing. The structure of the framework follows four phases which are declaration, creation, execution, and learning.

Gamification Models There are a limited number of gamification models in the field of education. Huang and Soman (2013) provided a linear model to apply gamification. They simplified gamification into a five-step process which are understanding the audience and the surrounding context, specifying learning objectives, structuring the experience, identifying resources, and implementing gamification elements. The authors recommended to follow these steps to apply gamification elements accurately and effectively to achieve various learning objectives. Appiahene, Asante, Kesse-Yaw, and Acquah-Hayfron (2017) proposed a model called Appiahene Gamification Model (AGM) in order to raise students’ programming skills. The proposed model places users in the middle, and users are connected to each component of the model which 34

A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

are understanding the target audience and context, stating the learning objectives, constructing the experience, preparing the content, identifying the needed resources and materials, designing and applying gamification element, and evaluating and taking feedback. Of the models in the literature, some were proposed for e-learning. Utomo, Amriani, Aji, Wahidah, and Junus (2014) proposed the gamified e-learning model based on the Community of Inquiry (CoI) model. The model consisted of four main components which are the user, learning process, goal, and environment. In order to reach the learning objectives, the user is required to handle the learning process in an environment that is facilitated by a gamified e-learning system. Various gamification elements are applied in each process of the CoI model in a way that they could motivate students. In this way, they could be more active and create community of learning. Moreover, Klock and da Cunha (2015) presented a conceptual model for the gamification process of e-learning environments. The model aims to help identify the elements involved in the gamification process in order to guide the application of gamification in e-learning contexts. The model consists of four main dimensions focusing on information of who (actors of the system), why (possible desired behaviors), how (which game elements), and what (data involved in gamification process) should be involved in the gamification procedure. When compared to other fields, the number of learning specific design frameworks in the field of education is limited. In practice, majority of the studies lack sound application of gamification following a formal design process. The procedures and features in these studies are difficult to be implemented in other studies that will be carried out by researchers or educators. What is more, the existing learning specific frameworks do not take stakeholders (educators, students, etc.) into account even though their argument is to improve the learning experience for these actors. Without identifying the characteristics, needs and the preferences of these main actors to inform the design and implementation of learning activities and tools, one cannot posit deliberate claims regarding to why a particular gamification design framework is needed (i.e. need analysis) and how it will address those needs. For these reasons, it is essential to devote more effort to personalization and to integrating motivational and instructional design into gamified environments (Mora et al., 2017). Furthermore, aforementioned frameworks or models do not completely guide the process of gamifying learning environments. How the models or frameworks were constructed and how the steps or components were related are not explained thoroughly in the relevant studies. Therefore, there is still need for design models and frameworks which guide the process of gamifying a learning environment following a systematic approach that acknowledges the complex and dynamic nature of the real-life educational contexts.


A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

The aim of this chapter is to report a model entitled “Gamified Enhanced Learning Design” that probes for further elaboration for the need of a systematic approach in designing gamified learning environments and experiences in real-life educational contexts.

METHODOLOGY Research Design This study was designed according to the principles of formative research which is based on the Yin’s (1984) case study approach and has an iterative nature (Reigeluth & Frick, 1999). Designed Case as one of the subcategories of the formative research, in which the theory/model is purposefully initiated, was utilized through the study. The five steps followed are listed below: 1. A case, including game elements and components integrated into a course, was created to generate design model. 2. Formative data were collected and analyzed on the instance. 3. The instance was revised. 4. Data collection and revision cycle was repeated. 5. Tentative model was developed.

Participants The participants were 118 undergraduate level students, including 81 volunteers of 112 Foreign Language Education (FLE) department students and 37 volunteer students of Early Childhood Education (ECE) department (see Table 1). Convenience sampling was utilized due to the instructor’s willingness to integrate a new method and her expertise in educational games. The observation and documents data were collected from all the students participated in the study. However, for the interviews purposeful sampling method was utilized with information-rich students (See Table 2) (Patton, 2002). Participants were from different levels. FLE students were mostly sophomores, and ECE students were mostly juniors (See Table 3).

Data Collection and Analysis Data were collected and triangulated through observations, documents and semistructured interviews to ensure consistency. Observations were done to note the 36

A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

Table 1. Demographics (n =118) Observation & Documents Cases

Female Male n



















Table 2. Interviewee numbers Implementation time








16 (4x4)*




*Focus groups

Table 3. Education Levels Freshman

Sophomore n


Junior n







FLE (n =80*)









ECE (n = 37)









*1 missing

phenomena in its natural context. Documents including e-mail logs, Edmodo comments, and online activities were archived and analyzed. In order to get in-depth information, semi-structured and focus-group interviews were done. Two sets of interviews (mid-term and end-term) were done in each semester, for gathering data about the iterations of elements and the process, and about game elements and the overall experience respectively. Focus groups were formed purposefully based on the house in which group of students studied collaboratively through the semester. An interview protocol was prepared according to gamification, game design, and model and framework development literature. Interview questions and probes were piloted and examined by two peer experts and revised according to their feedback. Data analysis were done iteratively throughout the two semesters according to Miles and Huberman’s (1994) guidelines. The data, gathered via observations, documents and interviews were transcribed and read several times to have a general 37

A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

idea about students’ perceptions, and then coded based on open coding method (Merriam, 2009). Another expert also coded the same data set, and the emerged codes and categories were compared and discussed until reaching consensus on them. Concerning transferability issue, the instance of the study was repeated with a group of students from two different departments so as to identify “situationalities”, which refers to the fact that some elements might work in some situations but may not be suitable in other situations, and to reach a data saturation point (Reigeluth & Frick, 1999, p. 15).

Procedure of the Study The study was held during two semesters with FLE and ECE groups respectively. Through all process in each semester, 6D gamification design framework was adapted to gamify the two courses (Werbach & Hunter, 2012). 6D gamification design framework was chosen by taking expert opinion and due to its suitability for procedural instructional design. The arrangements regarding each dimension of the 6D framework are given below: 1. Define Objectives: Course objectives were revised and modified by considering learner group and content and enriched by including fun element. 2. Delineate Target Behavior: Game elements were taken from Werbach and Hunter (2012) dynamics, mechanics and components pyramid. For more information about the game dynamics, mechanics, and components applied, and how they were applied, please refer to authors’ previously published article that mainly focused on the design, development, evaluation and iteration processes of the game elements (Authors, 2018, p. 251). A narrative from a well-known film, Harry Potter was inspired and adapted into to the study. Students target behavior was delineated as improving themselves from apprentice level to master level in their predetermined groups (houses). Each instructional component (syllabus, grading, policy, course presentation) were modified. For example, course syllabus was modified into Virtues of Apprentice comprising of task (quests) to be accomplished, varying challenge points to be a master. Online sessions were also embedded into the course to create a collaborative environment and provide students to follow their progress through leaderboards. Course presentations were enriched with challenges (multiple choice, true/false questions) and fun elements (funny videos, pictures). 3. Describe Your Players: Students in each group were asked to take Bartle (1996) test at the beginning of each semester to be categorized as one of players; Achievers, Explorers, Killers and Socializers. Each player type was associated with one of four groups (houses); Centaurs (Achievers), Leocampuses 38

A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

(Explorers), Salamanders (Killers), and Sphinxes (Socializers) based on the association between player type and mythological creature representing the house. 4. Devise Activity Loops: In order to ensure the progress of the action and structure the main characteristics of progression and engagement activity loops were used (Werbach & Hunter, 2012). Parallel with the purpose of engagement loops, students were informed what they should be doing, why they should be doing so and what the system’s reactions would be. Engagement loops included three steps as motivate, action and feedback. To motivate students, elements like narratives to create curiosity and fantasy, presenting different level of challenge, providing collaborative online environment to enhance belongingness were utilized. According to students’ actions; badges and leaderboards were shown as a way of providing feedback. Parallel with role of progression loops, an instructional environment in which students could feel that they have a continuous change of experience as they move along the gamified environment was created. That is, difficulty level of the quests (activities) were increased gradually, and students were informed about their progression via both individual and house (group) level feedback. Badges and varying challenge levels were also utilized as indicators of student progress through the process. 5. Don’t Forget the Fun: In order to include fun elements into the study, Lazzaro (2012)’s Four Key Model (Easy Fun, Hard Fun, Altered Fun and People) was integrated. Acceptance letters, leaderboards and badges were used to create easy fun to let student appreciate the experience rather than winning. Different types of quests and challenges were applied for hard fun so as to overcome obstacles, beat challenges and solve puzzles. In order to create altered fun, mental breaks such as funny story, personal anecdotes were told. For people dimension of the model, opportunities to enhance player competition, cooperation performance, and spectacle were utilized through varying level of challenges, group work in houses. 6. Deploy Appropriate Tools: Three technology; Edmodo, Blendspace and Weebly, were integrated into the courses. Edmodo was used due to having game elements like avatar and badges and also having a familiar interface.

FINDINGS: GELD MODEL The findings of the study are classified under five main themes: Gamification Related General Issues and Perceptions, Gamified Course Related General Issues and Perceptions, People Related Issues, Design-Related Issues, Game Elements. 39

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The evolving model is not composed of distinctive categories as the elements are intertwined; therefore, the lines between the categories have fuzzy borders. The model does not provide procedural and linear phases; rather, it provides a dynamic structure for the design process. The model has also adopted a broader perception of the gamification phenomenon in education contexts as the findings of the research has revealed a strong mutual influence between the gamified learning experience and this broader context. In the lights of the findings, the model is named as Gamified Environment and Learning Design (GELD). The model has a dynamic characteristic as such iterations in any element may cause a difference in the other elements of the model. Therefore, rather than building the model with separate circles and squares with arrows showing the relationships, overlapping shapes are used and the lines are drawn as dashes to show the fuzziness of the borders. The overall GELD model is depicted in Figure 1 below. In our previous study, students’ perceptions of game elements in the gamified learning experience along with the design process have been scrutinized in detail (Aldemir, Celik, & Kaplan, 2018). This study builds upon those findings, and reports on the overall model with the emphasis of one dominant pattern obtained from the findings: the contexts and the interactions between these contexts. Findings have shown that there are some factors that might not be necessarily in a gamified learning environment but it might be affecting the learning experience systematically. Therefore, an outlying circle to represent broader gamification-context is added to the model, and within this outlying setting, there is the gamified course where there are gamified course elements and further actors in play that consist of: people, design and game elements. The fuzzy borders between the different layers of settings depict the dynamic relationships and continuous interactions between these contexts. Figure 1. General structure of the GELD model


A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

1. Gamified Environment This category contains the characteristics of the gamified environment (experience) in general, which might not be specific to the course of interest. The age of the target group was found to be an element to consider while designing a gamified environment. Furthermore, some participants stated that the format needs to be changed according to the content. These opinions might be due to the design of the applied gamified course; and as some of the participants emphasized this was the first gamified course that they had come across. Therefore, their experiences shaped their assertions. Considering this limitation and the statements of the participants, it would be safe to conclude that gamification is an age-bounded and content-bounded process. The findings of the current study cannot support that every content can be gamified for all people from all ages. Koivisto, Hamari, and Sarsa (2014) proposed a contradicting result, as they found that age does not have a direct effect on the perceived benefits of the gamification. They supported the idea that different age groups drive benefits from different mechanics. Similarly, according to Kapp (2012), gamification can be used for all kinds of contents and fields; yet, it is important how it is designed. These researchers support that participants’ opinions on the impacts of age and content in gamification might be due to the current design. Beside the age and content debate, almost all participants had a positive attitude towards gamification. Participants said that they directly associated fun element with the course when they heard the name of the gamification. Actually, the current literature on gamification supports this contention by claiming that the basic aim of the gamification procedure is to make the serious activities fun (Deterding, et al 2011, Zicherman & Cunningham 2011; Zicherman & Linder, 2010; Werbach & Hunter, 2012). Similarly, a psychologically safe environment where participants are free to share their opinions, and free to fail and try again is appreciated in a gamified environment. Therefore, it can safely be claimed that a gamified environment should be psychologically safe where students are given the freedom to fail without getting punished. The freedom to fail, is actually a crucial game element according to Stott and Neustaedter (2013) and Kapp (2012) as they emphasized that all games enable this element by providing players with multiple opportunities to try repeatedly until mastery. Despite a demand for such an environment, a balance between the fun and seriousness was also emphasized by many participants. Kapp (2012) supported this finding and underlined the balance between the fun and seriousness in a gamified learning experience. Therefore, it would not be inappropriate to conclude that a gamified environment should bring serious fun. The majority of the participants underlined the motivational characteristic of the gamification, supporting the findings in existing literature (Deterding et al., 2011). Another characteristic of the gamification, findings suggested, is the immersiveness. 41

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According to some participants, gamified experiences can put the target group in an immersive state only if it is designed well, which is an idealized situation for gamification designers (Kapp, 2012). The results also suggest that a gamified environment should be collaborative and interactive. The fact that these two elements as the participants thought to be valuable and essential to be in a gamified environment can easily be interpreted that involving such social features as interaction and collaboration might intensify the gamification experience. A similar finding was provided by Koivisto and Hamari (2014) who stated that integrating social features can create an engaging gamified experience. Another metric of an engaging experience, as Zichermann and Cunningham (2011) state, is virality. Correspondingly, three participants in the study stated that the gamified experience should cause a spill-over effect, i.e. virality; and the current gamified environment certainly contained that element as the students shared the course elements with their social networks on social media tools. The results also show that there should be a level 0 where novice players are introduced to the gamified environment. This level should be easy, short, unevaluated and done with the support of instructors. Kapp (2012) calls this level as free-play, where players are asked to play the game without any guidance in order to learn the experience by hands-on experience. Yet, as opposed to free-play, the learners in our study preferred to be guided. The process including this level is called onboarding in the literature (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011), which suggests that at this stage the players in the gamified experience should be guided step-by-step and the task should be easy. The onboarding stage should also eliminate the possibility of failure and requires minimum reading-information to be able to proceed (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011), supporting the findings of the study. Creating such an easy experience might ease the adaptation as the majority of the participants stated that they needed time to adapt to the gamified experience. In order to shorten this span, scaffolding and continuous guiding by the instructor are needed. Pulling all these together, in order to ease the adaptation span of the participants in a gamified environment, it can be claimed that the onboarding stage should be short, easy and unevaluated, and guidance should be given continuously up to players/learners’ mastery. Furthermore, in order to create an immersive experience, coherence of the elements is essential in a gamified environment. For that, small details are important as they come together and build a coherent whole, and the narrative is the game element that would ensure this coherence. Therefore, in light of these findings, it can be said that the coherence of the game elements around a narrative is important. This is consistent with the finding of the literature (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011; Kapp, 2012; Werbach & Hunter, 2012). 42

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The final issue to discuss about a gamified environment is cheating. According to the results, the participants found it easy to cheat in the online part of the course. Zichermann and Cunningham (2011) name this situation as gaming the system and assure that all players try to exploit the system; however, it is possible to limit cheating by having proper control mechanisms or policies introduced by the administrators. In the current study, control by the instructor to ensure whether the participants read the online content was not possible due to the lack of interface support.

2. Gamified Course The results indicate that the overall attitude towards the gamified course is positive yet, in tandem with the emotional changes the participants might go through, this attitude might change along the positive-negative line. Therefore, it is clear that the emotional state is an important element that should be considered while designing a gamified course. On the basis of the emotions such as boredom, stress, joy, disappointment, fear and curiosity that the participants said they felt during the course, it can be possible to evaluate the game elements or the gamified experience. Emotional states are emphasized in the MDA model as well. The letter A in the acronym of MDA stands for Aesthetics that means the emotional responses received from the players while playing game, and according to Hunicke et al. (2004), games should be designed on the basis of the desirable emotional responses from the players. However, most of the emotional responses the participants showed were not the desired ones, and they were mainly because of the management and guidance issues. Curiosity was a desired emotional response at the beginning of the course; for that, a narrated acceptance letter was sent to the participants. Several students stated that this narrated teaser made them curious about the course in a positive way. Building curiosity at the beginning of a gamified experience would give students a reason to try the experience. This idea is also supported by Chou (2015) who presents curiosity as one of the eight core drives for desirable actions in a gamified environment. Chou (2015) further contends that building curiosity would be the first step in the discovery phase before the onboarding phase in a gamified experience. This step is also emphasized by Keller (2010) in his well-known ARCS motivational model. On the other hand, some participants were uncomfortable with the narrated teaser as they did not understand it. Therefore, it might be better to get to know the learners first, and then attempt to design a curiosity building method based on their interests and background information. After all, as Keller (2010) emphasized, creating curiosity by ambiguous channels for the learners might not work well.


A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

For the negative emotional states that the participants experienced throughout the gamified course, most of them underlined the necessity of continuous guidance and scaffolding. The participants expressed their dislike of the ambiguity. They wanted to be informed about all the procedures and the elements used. This has been one of the most criticized issues throughout the study. The participants seem to be especially in need of guidance as the course was different from what they had previously experienced. Therefore, strict scaffolding until they adapted to the course is found to be needed. They also emphasized that the principles and the elements used in the course should be presented by an instructor in a face-to-face environment during the onboarding phase. Until the participants earn their mastery of the process, a face-to-face scaffolding should be provided by the instructor, and throughout the process the guidance should continue, which is also reiterated by Kapp (2012). Another mostly demanded element was feedback. The results indicate that continuous, immediate, direct, progressive and personal feedback is a critical element in a gamified learning experience. The works of Kapp (2012), McGonigal (2011), Werbach and Hunter (2012) and Ferrara (2012) support the importance of feedback. The scalability in this notion stands as a problematic issue since the number of the participants and the activities should be manageable by the instructors and the designers. Yet, in this study, due to the large numbers of participants and the activities, giving continuous and immediate feedback was not always possible. For this, an interface that could produce and give automatic feedback to students’ input might be a solution. According to the majority of the participants, both in-class and online sessions were needed for a gamified course. They stated that using both the online and face-to-face sessions can provide the following features: flexibility, ubiquity of materials, self-paced learning along with social interactions in the class, presence of and direct interaction with the instructor. The participants either criticized the face-to-face sessions for not recognizing individual learning preferences or criticized the online sessions for design of the materials and the lack of online community building. Considering these findings, integrating online sessions into in-class sessions for a gamified course might be a necessary element as long as these problems are addressed in design. Anderson (2001) supports this conclusion by saying that using online and face-to-face sessions can offer the best of both methods. Integrating online sessions into in-class sessions can offer a good advantage as students can get the content through online platform, and class time can be used for resolving problems and offering personalized guidance.


A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

The turn and the balance between the face-to-face and the online sections is an important design decision according to the findings. Some participants wanted to take the face-to-face session first, and the online session later in order to understand the content more easily. On the other hand, more participants stated they would prefer the online session to be first in order to be prepared for the class. The first opinion might be due to the lack of self-regulation of the participants. For the balance issue, some participants wanted less online activities while few others preferred less faceto-face meetings. Since the numbers of the participant with different demands about the balance were close, it is not possible to come to a certain conclusion. Therefore, it might be a better idea to ask students about their preferences at the beginning of the semester. Throughout the gamified course, contents were distributed in small chunks, gamified and uploaded to the online system. Such a step-by-step approach, according to the majority of the participants is a required element in a gamified course. Kapp (2012) provides the concept of progressive disclosure for such an approach. For a progressive disclosure, the chunk of the information or the difficulty level should increase as students become more experienced with the content. However, the size of the content and the difficulty level of the challenges in the study were stable. This, according to the participants, led them feel bored. Therefore, step-by-step approach with progression is suggested for the gamification design. That is not a surprising finding as the progression is an important game element that gives players the feeling of development and growth (Werbach & Hunter, 2012), and it is an important element in the engagement loop (Ferrara, 2012; Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011). In tandem with the progression demand of the participants, all of the students also wanted to see their progressions, their teams’ progressions and peers’ progressions through accessible and visible tools. Therefore, progression bars making personal, teams’ and peers’ progressions visible should be designed and implemented in order for learners to keep the track of the progression, which is consonant with the existing game design literature (Ferrara, 2012; Kapp, 2012; McGonigal, 2011). The findings also showed that the instructor continuously needs to ensure students that the main goals of the gamified course are fun and learning rather than grading. Unfortunately, it was rather a hard task to do since the participants were in a grade-oriented educational system. No matter how many times the instructor encouraged the students to focus on having fun and learning rather than their grades, most of them could not manage it and kept asking about the grades. Resistance to such changes at first was a pre-considered situation; therefore, only solution to this issue might be instructors’ continuous reminders about the goals of the course being fun and learning. Therefore, we argue that the main purpose of instructional


A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

design should be creating a fun learning experience instead of measurement of the content acquisition. The participants further asserted that they prefer active roles that enable them to engage in hands-on practices in authentic tasks. However, a considerable number of the participants were not comfortable with the extensive active role assigned to them as they claimed that they are lack of self-regulation and competence in technology. For that, a balance between the active and the passive role of the participants can be proposed. This could be achieved by gradually decreasing level of instructor control. For learners to adapt to such as an environment and gain self-efficacy, a more strict control can be provided by the instructor at first, and as the participants gain their self-efficacy, the control can be decreased. The majority of the participants stated that they developed self-efficacy after a while but until that time, they needed instructor’s control. This is a parallel finding to the scaffolding process in the onboarding stage of the gamification aforementioned. Kapp (2012) supports this conclusion by saying that if the players’ self-efficacy is not high enough that s/he believes s/he succeeds, s/he may not even try to do the task. A participant especially emphasized on this issue and stated that she skipped the first few challenges as she thought she could not do it. Therefore, building learners’ self-efficacy is an important element in the design process of the gamified learning experiences. Originality is another element that a gamified course should possess according to the findings of the study. Even though some participants expressed their fear about the originality, most of them seemed to be pleased with it. In fact, some of them asked for each week to be different from each other. For this, individualized weekly designs were proposed by the participants. This might suggest that a gamified course should be creatively and originally designed with sufficient guidance and scaffolding. A similar element obtained from the data analyses is customization. All of the participants emphasized the importance of the customization of the gamified experience, context and the elements according to the learners’ characteristics. An interface providing several designs- templates for delivering the content might be an option for customization. Learners can choose their templates to customize their online learning experience. For the classroom environment, it can be decorated according to the narrative selected for students. However, providing individual customization might not be applicable in all cases as the large number of students and classroom settings may pose some impediments. In the face-to-face sessions, as the findings suggest, the number of the learners affects the participation, interaction and management. Therefore, smaller groups might be better option for a gamified classroom experience. For the classroom settings, according to the findings, a large classroom with a U shape seating arrangement in which participants can easily communicate and collaborate is preferable. Additionally, grouping the teammates together is a preferable option. Hence, it could be hypothesized that 46

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seating arrangement, size of the class and number of learners are important design considerations that play role in the generation of better collaboration and interaction in a gamified learning environment. Furthermore, when the results of the study were examined, all of the participants underlined the value of meaningful learning. Throughout the course, they kept asking about the value of the content taught, the methodologies applied, and challenges assigned. This conclusion is coherent with the studies of Kapp (2012), McGonigal (2011) and Ferrara (2012). An interesting finding as a contribution to this literature might be that the participants stated the technology integration in the course is very essential even though the majority of them were afraid of the technology at the beginning of the course. They stated that they needed to learn technology as they will use it widely when they become teachers. This result might suggest that learners attach great importance to meaningfulness. Another element the participants stated to have great importance is the repetition of the content. The results showed that uploading the content to the online system, and asking the learners to read the content and solve the challenges, and then asking them to participate in-class competitions based on the online materials helped them to repeat the content, and according to their statements, increased the retention. This is a rather promising finding, which suggests that a gamified learning environment may increase retention, depending on the design. The results further showed that the participants appreciate a flexible environment, mental breaks and social appraise in the gamified learning experience. For the flexible environment, the participants emphasized the flexibility of the instructor. For the mental breaks, in-class anecdotes and funny or do you know types of videos and pictures placed in the random places in online content were appreciated. These mental breaks, according to the participants, helped them to re-engage in the content. For the social appraise, participants underlined having a high social statue among the peers is rather important for them. Considering this, game elements addressing the social statue such as leaderboards should be used in the gamified learning environment. The participants’ demands to see peers’ progress as discussed above might be due to identify their own social status among the peers. Social status is considered as an extrinsic motivator by the researcher, and as a characteristic of an extrinsic motivator it can be limited (Werbach & Hunter, 2012). However, according to the data analyzed, the participants seemed to enjoy being given social appraise/status as they liked being on the leaderboard. Yet, about the continuity of the motivator, the findings showed parallelism with the literature as in both the participants wanted to be listed on leaderboard all the time. Finally, the results indicated that the whole process needs to be managed meticulously as participants tend to build negative feelings as soon as they face a management-related problem.


A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

3. Actors in Play: Design, Game Elements, and People The findings of the study necessitated the creation of three interrelated sub-categories with fuzzy borders: Design, Game Elements and People. These sub-categories both influence and get influenced by the settings and the overall gamified learning experience. As the current chapter addresses the patterns of contexts and the interactions between these contexts, it does not delve into details regarding to the actors in play within these settings. As an attempt to depict a fuzzy map for the design process of the gamified learning experiences in authentic educational contexts, the chapter provides a brief summary of the components and the characteristics of design and people categories. The category of game elements, however, is not addressed in this chapter as unpacking it would require delving into profoundly deep corners of game mechanics, dynamics and components, and game design strategies situated in the research praxis of gamification domain. As the main premise of the chapter is to introduce a design model that promotes an iterative and systematic design process, the examination of game elements was conducted in a subsidiary study as an initial attempt to develop a design model based on game elements and game design strategies, which is the normalized research approach to contemporary gamification design praxis in educational contexts. In order to obtain further information, we would like to encourage the readers to read our recently published paper that unpacks the game elements category in-depth (Authors, 2018).

a. Design-Related Issues This category has three main sub-categories: Interface design, material design, and feedback design. The interface is the online system integrated into the gamified course, and the results suggest that ubiquitousness and usability of the interface designed or implemented are essential characteristics as they may impact students’ approach to the gamified experience and their online course-related or off-task interactions. The results suggest that technical problems are most likely to occur regardless of their sources, and the novelty of the interface design might yield negative implications on students’ adaptation to the gamified learning experience; thus, immediate, direct and continuous technical and emotional support is critical. What is more, the students expressed the importance of an appealing interface design and basing all design decisions concerning the interface on the narrative selected as the overarching theme of the gamified learning experience. Lastly, the results posit that the interface design should accommodate three functions: (1) Chat function to increase collaboration, peer-to-peer learning and to build an online community, (2) Push notifications to elicit students’ attention to corresponding tasks, and (3) Visibility of peers’ works to


A Systematic Design Model for Gamified Learning Environments

help students engage in peer-to-peer learning and self-assess their works comparing to a pool of collective performance standards. The materials designed for the gamified course entail any learning content and activity, and any means for discourse among students and between teachers and students. As expected, it was emphasized that all the materials need to be designed in a way that delivers concise amount of information and induces crystal clear understanding. This request however might raise some practical concerns especially with the huge amount of content teachers in formal school context are generally expected to deliver. The results further reveal that students prefer interactive online content populated with diverse multimedia. A related interesting finding suggests that multimedia design and integration in the online content do not have to focus on the content-delivery. Instead, off-task videos, images, graphics and etc., integrated into content might function as a short mental break and help channel students’ attention back to the content. Using popular culture references as the off-task mental break content was especially quite popular among the students. This interesting finding needs further investigation at wider scope as it might yield practical implications for online course design. Another interesting result indicates that students did not like the linear structure of the online content, and preferred game-alike design which creates a leveling-up system that gives students limited access to the amount of content and challenges but as they complete the challenges and master the content, new levels delivering more content and challenges with gradually increasing difficulty are unlocked. The final category in the design-related issues is the feedback design, and the results show that feedback should be immediate, clear, constructive and personalized. In addition to these findings that repeat what existing literature suggests, the study also yields interesting findings such as: (1) feedback should be designed based on the narrative selected/created, (2) audio-based feedback might be a good alternative to the text-based feedback in online courses, and (3) visibility of peers’ works brings a new design approach to the peer-to-peer feedback and creates a collective pool of models of competencies at different levels for students to compare their performances and progresses.

b. People Related Issues This category has two main sub-categories: Learners related issues and instructor related issues. It became clear from the analysis of the data that learner’s characteristics do play an important role in a gamified course, as they were suggested to be focus before the course design and during the course delivery. Participants emphasized on four main issues in terms of the learner characteristics: learners’ background, learning preferences, learners’ (perceived) technology competence and learners’ interests. The 49

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results suggest that students thought they learn better when the content addresses to their emotions. The most interesting finding among these was that the majority of the participants stated that they were not good in using the computer thus were scared of the gamified course at first. However, most of those expressed that their competence with the technology got better throughout the course. Furthermore, the results show that the majority of the students prefer to have the control in a gamified course. What is meant by control is the possibility of being able to choose from a variety of options from which the participants can select the ones they want to. Volunteerism was the main focus concerning to this issue. What is more, the results indicate that building good communication among teammates and tracking peers’ progress are critical factors to consider as one makes design decisions about seating arrangement, size of the classroom, visibility of peers’ progress online, and team formation. We applied Bartle’s Player Type test to classify students into groups. Students’ reactions to this strategy were mixed as some of them enjoyed forming teams according to their motivation of play while some of them found the test boring, long and confusing. This result might suggest that further research to develop and validate a scale that could help identify students’ motivational patterns can be instrumental. Second, instructor related issues such as instructor characteristics, communication, presence of instructor, tracking and support were highlighted by the participants. All students emphasized that instructor in a gamified environment should be funny, flexible and open-minded. The novelty and the complex and dynamic nature of the gamified learning experience necessitated physical, cognitive and emotional dedication of the instructor. Students emphasized the need for strong instructor presence, face-to-face communication, and instructor tracking the process of students and providing support when needed.

CONCLUSION This study is an attempt to develop a design model for gamified learning environments. This chapter reports on the overall evolving model with the emphasis of one dominant pattern: the contexts and the interactions between these contexts. With this focus, this paper aims to posit an alternative perspective to the existing gamification design praxis in educational contexts which mainly focus on game elements and their characteristics, by arguing that designing a gamified learning experience needs a systems approach with considerations of the interrelated dimensions and their interplays. As the findings suggest, gamification process is not solely about game elements and how they are designed and implemented in educational contexts. It rather entails systematic and iterative consideration of different design decisions 50

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rooted in the theoretical arguments from various related fields such as education, game-design, psychology, human-computer interaction and so forth. Even though the findings are already supported by the existing literature in different fields, this chapter aims to emphasize a multi-disciplinary theoretical framing and an iterative and systematic design process to gamification design to better address the complex, rich and constantly changing nature of classroom environments. The evolving model suggests that a deductive strategy to identify the dynamic characteristics and components of the settings and their interplays with the inner categories, and making the design, development and iteration decisions accordingly might help solve the criticisms raised to gamification praxis in education field. Such approach might probe for further examination of gamification design that might yield answers for how to utilize gamification phenomenon to its full potential. An interesting future research direction could be examination of the proposed approach in the design and implementation of fully-fledged educational game in a real-life educational context.

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Koivisto, J., & Hamari, J. (2014). Demographic differences in perceived benefits from gamification. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 179–188. doi:10.1016/j. chb.2014.03.007 Kotini, I., & Tzelepi, S. (2015). A gamification-based framework for developing learning activities of computational thinking. Gamification in Education and Business; doi:10.1007/978-3-319-10208-5_12 Lazarro, N. (2004). Why we play games: Four keys to more emotion without story. Retrieved from Li, W., Grossman, T., & Fitzmaurice, G. (2012). GamiCAD: A gamified tutorial system for first time AutoCAD users. In R. Miller (Ed.), Proceedings of the 25th Annual ACM symposium on user interface software and technology (pp. 103-112). New York, NY: ACM Press. 10.1145/2380116.2380131 Lister, M. C. (2015). Gamification: The effect on student motivation and performance at the post-secondary level. Issues and Trends in Educational Technology, 3(2). Liu, D., Santhanam, R., & Webster, J. (2017). Toward meaningful engagement: A framework for design and research of gamified information systems. MIS Quarterly, 41(4), 1011-1034. doi: 10.25300/MISQ/2017/41.4.01 McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. London: Penguin. Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1984). Qualitative data analysis: a sourcebook of new methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Mora, A., Riera, D., Gonzalez, C., & Arnedo-Moreno, J. (2015). A literature review of gamification design frameworks. In Games and virtual worlds for serious applications (VS-Games), 2015 7th international conference on (pp. 1-8). IEEE. 10.1109/VS-GAMES.2015.7295760 Mora, A., Riera, D., González, C., & Arnedo-Moreno, J. (2017). Gamification: A systematic review of design frameworks. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 1–33. Mora, A., Zaharias, P., Gonzalez, C., & Arnedo-Moreno, J. (2016). FRAGGLE: A framework for agile gamification of learning experiences. Berlin: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-40216-1_57


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Nah, F.-H., Telaprolu, V., Rallapalli, S., & Venkata, P. (2013). Gamification of education using computer games. In S. Yamamoto (Ed.), Human interface and the management of information. Information and interaction for learning, culture, collaboration and business. JOUR, Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi:10.1007/9783-642-39226-9_12 Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. New York: McGraw-Hill. Reigeluth, C. M. (Ed.). (1999). Instructional-design theories and models: Vol. 2. A new paradigm of instructional theory. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Reigeluth, C. M., & Squire, K. D. (1998). Emerging work on the new paradigm of instructional theories. Educational Technology, 38(4), 41–47. Robertson, M. (2010). Can’t play, won’t play [Web log post]. Retrieved from June 7, 2015 from Robson, K., Plangger, K., Kietzmann, J. H., McCarthy, I., & Pitt, L. (2016). Game on: Engaging customers and employees through gamification. Business Horizons, 59(1), 29–36. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2015.08.002 Seaborn, K., & Fels, D. (2015). Gamification in theory and action: A survey. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 7414–7431. doi:10.1016/j. ijhcs.2014.09.006 Simões, J., Redondo, R. D., & Vilas, A. F. (2013). A social gamification framework for a K-6 learning platform. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(2), 345–353. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.06.007 Stott, A., & Neustaedter, C. (2013). Analysis of gamification in education (Technical Report 2013-0422-01). Surrey, BC: Simon Fraser University, Connections Lab. Su, C. (2016). The effects of students’ motivation, cognitive load and learning anxiety in gamification software engineering education: A structural equation modeling study. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 75(16), 10013–10036. doi:10.100711042015-2799-7 Tan, M., & Hew, K. F. (2016). Incorporating meaningful gamification in a blended learning research methods class: Examining student learning, engagement, and affective outcomes. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(5).


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Urh, M., Vukovic, G., Jereb, E., & Pintar, R. (2015). The model for introduction of gamification into e-learning in higher education. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 197, 388-397. 10.1016/j.sbspro.2015.07.154 Utomo, A. Y., Amriani, A., Aji, A. F., Wahidah, F. R., & Junus, K. M. (2014). Gamified e-learning model based on community of inquiry. In Advanced Computer Science and Information Systems (ICACSIS), 2014 International Conference on (pp. 474-480). IEEE. Werbach, K., & Hunter, D. (2012). For the win: How game thinking can revolutionize your business. Wharton Digital Press. Yapıcı, İ. Ü., & Karakoyun, F. (2017). Gamification in biology teaching: A sample of Kahoot application. Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, 8(4), 396–414. doi:10.17569/tojqi.335956 Yildirim, I. (2017). The effects of gamification-based teaching practices on student achievement and students’ attitudes toward lessons. The Internet and Higher Education, 33, 86–92. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2017.02.002 Yin, R. K. (1984). Case study research design and methods. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Zichermann, G., & Cunningham, C. (2011). Gamification by design: Implementing game mechanics in web and mobile apps. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media. Zichermann, G., & Linder, J. (2010). Game-based marketing: Inspire customer loyalty through rewards, challenges, and contests. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.



Chapter 3

Sustain City:

Effective Serious Game Design in Promoting Science and Engineering Education Ying Tang Rowan University, USA

Kauser Jahan Rowan University, USA

Christopher Franzwa Rowan University, USA

Marzieh S. Saeedi-Hosseiny Rowan University, USA

Talbot Bielefeldt Independent Researcher, USA

Nathan Lamb Rowan University, USA

Shengtao Sun Rowan University, USA

ABSTRACT Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in interactive narrative-based serious games for education and training. A key challenge posed by educational serious games is the balance of fun and learning, so that players are motivated enough to unfold the narrative stories on their own pace while getting sufficient learning materials across. In this chapter, various design strategies that aim to tackle this challenge are presented through the development of Sustain City, an educational serious game system that engages students, particularly prospective and beginning science and engineering students, in a series of engineering design. Besides narrative-learning synthesis, supplementing the player’s actions with feedback, and the development of a sufficient guidance system, the chapter also discusses the integration of rigorous assessment and personalized scaffolding. The evaluation of Sustain City deployment confirms the values of the serious games in promoting students’ interests and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6026-5.ch003 Copyright © 2019, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.

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INTRODUCTION Play and technology have been combined in various interesting ways to synthesize elements of environment and story with simulations in providing real-time visualized responses (Entertainment Software Association, 2013); and to embody real world situations in which players explore, learn and solve problems (Barab, Gresalfi, & Arici, 2009). The consideration of games in education is made evident by recent and growing development in “serious games,” defined by design that takes into account “(i) serious aspects that determine the pedagogical objectives such as the transmission and/or acquisition of knowledge, know-how, or information; (ii) and fun aspects which focus on the motivation and the management of end users’ frustration.” (Cheng, Chen, Chu, & Chen, 2015; Hocine & Gouaich, 2011). Serious games offer several strong learning-enhancement capabilities, allowing for the realization of virtual worlds that can assist students in ways that the typical classroom environment cannot (Torrente, Blanco, Moreno-Ger, & Fernandez-Manjon, 2012). In standard textbook-driven lecturing and study, visual or hands-on learners are left to find their own ways of perceiving the ever more complex concepts as they wade through a course. Currently, even hands-on approaches to learning, such as lab experiments, are limited by budgetary and safety constraints. Serious games, on the other hand, make difficult abstract concepts and large data sets accessible in ways that are more visual, interactive, and concrete, providing an opportunity to gain the attention of students who are not otherwise engaged with the content (Bosch, 2016; Callaghan, Savin-Baden, McShane, & Eguíluz, 2015; Di Mascio & Daiton, 2017; Franzwa, Tang, & Johnson, 2013; Rhodes et al., 2017). The game format provides students with a learning structure and an incentive to develop their skills at their own pace in a non-judgmental but competitive and often fun environment (Habgood & Ainsworth, 2011; Terzidou, Tsiatsos, Miliou, & Sourvinou, 2016). Vivid examples can be found in many domains, such as science and engineering discovery (Barab et al., 2009; Ma, Oikonomou, & Jain, 2011; Mavromihales & Holmes, 2016; Mott & Lester, 2006), military training (Smith, 2009; Zielke et al., 2009) and healthcare training (Menzies, 2017; Tong, Chignell, Tierney, & Lee, 2016; Wattanasoontorn, Hernandez, & Sbert, 2012). Echoing general concerns with the current state of the US school systems, many educational groups have begun advocating curricular changes for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. In a report of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST, 2012), higher performing students cite “uninspiring” introductory courses as a factor in choosing different majors while lower performing students struggle with mathematics due to insufficient assistance. Issues such as student interests and instructional feedback should be considered when developing any STEM serious game. While the educational value of games has long 58

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been recognized, there is significant resistance to their adoption in formal education. One problem is the amount of instructional time that must be devoted to training and practice to allow games to have a significant effect on student learning. There is a tendency for serious games to develop an all-inclusive learning system that largely leaves the instructors without the flexibility needed to create their own curriculum. Arnab et al. (2012) and Wilson (2009) argued that considerable benefit would be gained from aligning games with standards and curricula. An effective serious game relies on an instructor for focus and guidance (Egenfeldt-Nielsen, 2010). Best practices for using games in the classroom promote a strong interconnection between instructors and software, where instructors remain the driving force behind education (Wilson, 2009). A set of serious-game-based educational experiments carried out in three European countries support those research propositions (Earp, Ott, Popescu, Romero, & Usart, 2014). In particular, the study revealed the importance of tutor in guiding the learning experience although the game was tailored for self-regulated learning; the importance of carefully planned activity sequences with respect to chosen tools; and the needs for prior definition of the role and tasks of teachers. While serious games have significant potential as instructional tools, their learning effectiveness is still understudied, mainly due to the complexity involved in assessing tangible and intangible measures in games. Such assessment is important for gaining insights into what happens when the player’s capacity to make decisions in games is compromised or sabotaged, on which the most appropriate scaffolding can be provided to improve student learning. Furthermore, performance assessment enables adaptability and personalization in various aspects, such as definition, presentation, and scheduling of game contents to players (Bellotti, Kapralos, Lee, Moreno-Ger, & Berta, 2013). Chanel, Rebetez, Bétrancourt, & Pun (2011) proposed to maintain players’ engagement by adapting game difficulty according to players’ emotion assessed from physiological signals. Lester et al. (2013) reported a similar study where an automated analysis of fine-grained facial movement was conducted during computer-mediated tutoring. Derbali and Frasson (2010) examined players’ electrophysiological responses such as galvanic skin response and electroencephalography (EEG) activity. They discovered that EEG wave patterns were strongly correlated with the increase of motivation during different parts of serious game play, while the correlation between players’ motivation and their heart rate responses was insignificant. Similar study was conducted by Kramer (2007), where he found that skin conductance was positively correlated with players’ performance. Besides game difficulty levels, adaptation can be seen in terms of players’ guidance in game. Myneni, Narayanan, Rebello, Rouinfar and Pumtambekar (2013) developed a learning environment to help students master physics concepts in the context pulleys, where student interactions and various measures of student performance were evaluated, based on which dynamic feedback and tutoring were 59

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offered for student’s misconceptions. Similar work in different learning domains were reported (Johnson, Tang, & Franzwa, 2014; Limongelli, Sciarrone, Temperini, & Vaste, 2009; McLaren, DeLeeuw, & Mayer, 2011); while a detailed design issues of such adaptive training systems were also discussed (Raybourn, 2006; Thomas & Young, 2010; Westra, Dignum, & Dignum, 2011). Apparently, the future direction of intelligent serious games calls for rigorous assessment and personalized scaffolding that allow learning to reach students at different levels. Motivated by these remarks, this chapter presents a serious game design approach that addresses students’ needs of in-game references and help, without compromising the role of the instructor in directing exploration. Four serious games were produced under the umbrella theme of “Sustain City” (Tang, Shetty, Jahan, Henry, & Hargrove, 2012). Each game focuses on particular fundamental science and engineering concepts and serves as a replacement for a traditional laboratory activity. In particular, Solaris One aims to enhance understanding of basic thermodynamic laws intuitively and mathematically. Gridlock offers an in-depth exploration of logic-circuit design, providing students with a realistic application of logic systems and the tools to construct and analyze the systems. Powerville explores the root meaning behind Sustain City, providing exploration of alternative energies and their impacts on a modern city. Algae Grows Future consists of several mini-games to connect students with the prospect of this microbe, playing a role that affects the future of the city, whether as a photosynthetic organism or fuel alternative. Textbooks always provide example-based questions, but students can be lost in wording. This chapter presents what those textbooks intend, but in a more visual and interactive way. Although the common assumption is that today’s students are well integrated with electronics and games, knowledge of common software cannot form the basis of assumption, thus the design also emphasizes scalable difficulty and usability.

OVERVIEW OF SUSTAIN CITY In Sustain City, a game experiment in a course builds upon concepts gained through game experiments performed in parallel or previous courses. Students are in a better position to see the interconnection of their curricular courses and appreciate the integrated content value (Figure 1). With the context of a sustainable city, four games that focus on particular fundamental science and engineering concepts were deployed to replace traditional laboratory settings at different levels of standard curriculum and the Project Lead the Way curriculum. Eventually, students integrate all game modules in their senior capstone project, resulting in a fully-functional eco-city. A sustainable city is a city designed to grow and evolve in all aspects of human life 60

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Figure 1. Curricular integration and alignment

without compromising the well-being of future generations. In action, Sustain City is an answer to the issues of curricular integration. It is not only a platform that offers expandable, modular game design, but also a motivational learning environment that emphasizes contextualized learning. Students play new roles and explore what and how their knowledge and skills combine to engineer a future ecologically healthy city. Using environmental sustainability as an authentic and engaging context for teaching core subjects promotes the 21st century skills (Church & Skelton, 2010).

INTEGRATION OF GAME MECHANICS WITH LEARNING The biggest challenge of serious game development is the integration of learning content with core game mechanics. Overemphasis on learning tends to “suck the fun out” of games; too much focus on playing “sucks out the learning” (Thomas & Young, 2010). Serious games hope to leverage the interactive, entertaining medium of video games to educate students; while entertainment games start focusing on player guidance to ensure a game can teach any user how to play, regardless of skillset. In this regard, entertainment games exhibit basic educational concepts that can be emphasized in serious game design. Additionally, entire overarching gameplay concepts can be borrowed and integrated with educational content, taking advantage of the research 61

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work done in the entertainment industry. Three strategies were deployed in Sustain City, specifically the infusion of narrative into educational material, rewarding mechanism, and scaffolding for game navigation.

Narrative-Learning Synthesis Students are struggling with conceptual transformation in STEM (Chen, 2007). They develop beliefs about the physical world from personal experiences or from previous schooling, in which an oversimplified definition or approach might have been taken. When encountering new knowledge in STEM, they try to fit it into their existing schema of understanding. Students often develop misconceptions when a concept does not fit logically to their schema. Hence they need transformative learning – the expansion of consciousness through contextual understanding, critical reflection on assumptions, and validated meaning by assessing reasons. When instructors try to balance presentation of challenging concepts, facts, and learning strategies, students always feel that there are too many detailed, progressively complex theories with few “real” examples to relate. It is a constant challenge for instructors to keep students of different backgrounds, academic strengths, and learning tendencies engaged in a meaningful exploration of the relationship between abstract ideas and practical applications in the real-world context. Thus, it is beneficial to supplement instruction with pedagogical tools to bring knowledge and concepts into contextual reality. Sustain City is designed to fill this role. A city is an exquisite combination of interacting systems that can be designed and analyzed using multidisciplinary engineering and scientific principles. With the future sustainable city as a broader context and the city infrastructures as the themes, Sustain City offers narrative games that give students opportunity to learn what it means to be a scientist, engineer, or mathematician who helps design and maintain an eco-city (Figure 2). Demonstration, explanation, and practice in different aspects of Sustain City help students experience the interconnection between their courses as a progression of increasing design complexity. Two virtual worlds, Solaris One and Algae Grows Future were designed in such a way to promote a deep understanding of curriculum content. Although these narrative games focus on different science and engineering concepts, their instructional goals are the same to demonstrate the applications of STEM concepts in the real world. Rather than relying on dry representations of thermodynamic topics that could result in a boring lab, Solaris One takes a sci-fi approach, tasking the student as a power engineer who embarks a dangerous expedition into space to fix a failing solar power plant. In a similar fashion, Algae Grows Future opens with an appeal to the emotions of players through a prologue cutscene. While the city grows from a bright and 62

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Figure 2. Screenshots from sustain city: (a) Overview of sustain city; (b) power ville; (c) gridlock; (d) Solaris One; (e) algae grows future

cleaning looking to overpopulated, the pollution swarming the city starts to threaten livelihoods - a little child coughs due to the smog in the city and fish struggle in the pond due to the excessive water pollution. The Mayor then calls for help “What can save us from this plague that has infected our city?” These appeals give the players an interesting motive and drive to complete the game. Repetition, as one of the most basic key learning techniques, can be very powerful but tends to result in disinterest from students who either grasp a subject immediately or get bored of the same concept presented in the same format over and over again. Careful game design ensures that repetition is hidden behind variation such as a changing setting/environment or tweaks to the gameplay structure (Coyne, 2003). In Solaris One and Algae Grows Future, repetition is manifested as a constant demand for players to understand the same concepts in solving problems; while variation is introduced through degrees of difficulty and increasing levels of challenge. 63

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Solaris One consists of three stages (Figure 3). The first stage finds the player aboard an old Saturn V rocket that has been retrofitted with a new engine system. To successfully launch the rocket and exit the earth, players must correctly route the control system’s energy into five different nodes. The nodes represent one of the two engines mounted on the rocket. The second stage starts when the rocket lands at the space station. To patch the power system, players must manufacture fuses that require metal ore mined from the asteroid. To obtain the ore, they must first fix the mining drill’s cooling system pipes. Finally, they have to place fuses made out of different materials into fuse slots that will both endure the heat created by the standard wattage and correctly break with overcurrent. The idea of repetitions is resembled in Water Purification module of Algae Grows Future with a tutorial and three traditional levels of pipe games with increasing difficulty (Figure 4). The tutorial teaches players how to play the pipe game, which is to choose the right pipe structures that connect the water input and output with maximum numbers of algae scrubs to achieve optimal purification results. Variations appear in the next three game levels in terms of pipe structure complex, the number and types of algae scrubs. These levels expand educational content to prevent cognitive overload for players. Additionally, players receive more time exposure to the material in order to maximize the content learned. Increasing complexity through the additional components and aspects added in each subsequent level of the module prevents the player’s ennui. To prevent boredom, a mini-game was Figure 3. Layers of sophisticated gameplay in Solaris One


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Figure 4. Layers of sophisticated gameplay in Solaris One

scheduled between the first and second levels of the pipe module, where players are led to inside the pipe, observing what is happening to purify water. This mini-game, a reminiscent of Pacman, challenges players to chase nitrogen and carbon dioxide molecules in a 2D-maze environment, an important concept to understand algae as a tool for water purification. The narrative design of a game can be an incentive to drive a player forward. Solaris One relies substantially on the idea of layers/levels for high fidelity. First, the game and mini-games are presented in a story, which is integrated into the game world environment logically. Second, all mini-games in Solaris One share an overarching goal of restoring power to the space station. Completing a mini-game not only provides the access to the next level of challenge, but also adds to the final goal: enabling the eco-city to receive power from the solar power plant. When players go through layers of challenge, they have to transcend levels of knowledge to achieve higher understanding, they are then getting closer to the truth, an understanding of the way things really are. The narrative of Algae Grows Future serves as a vehicle to drive student learning. All modules in Algae Grows Future are designed logically to hold players’ interest (Figure 5). The first module, Water Purification, comes naturally to the game when players encounter a polluted pond. After understanding how useful algae is, players 65

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Figure 5. Logic of sophisticated gameplay in Solaris One

start to think how to grow algae more in Need for Algae module to help the city in different venues. While excess algae is in production, more fun gameplay takes place where algae becomes solutions to a multitude of problems. Players power the public transportation system using an algae-ethanol fuel and make practical products out of algae like pharmaceutical gel, cosmetics, and surfboards.

Supplemental Feedback Experiential consequentiality and various rewarding mechanisms are threaded throughout Sustain City. In Solaris One there are no instances of punishing the player; however, there is a reward system in place for those that excel. For each mini-game, monetary rewards are offered depending on performance. Regardless of performance, a flat fee is supplied to every player for completing each game. Bonus cash is rewarded to those who complete more difficult problems, complete problems faster, or have lower numbers of attempts before success. With the monetary bonuses, players can purchase upgrades or perks to improve their gaming experience. On the asteroid, the primary form of movement for the player is a rover (Figure 6) that is initially provided with very little speed and no special features beyond surface movement. Upgrades of the rover can be performance based, aesthetic, or additional features. In Algae Grows Future, a ranking system is designed to work in conjunction with the reward system (Figure 7). Each main module in the game gives players a rank from 1 star to 5 stars based on their performance. Players must get 3 stars to 66

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Figure 6. The rover in Solaris One

Figure 7. The ranking system in Algae Grows Future


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pass but they can increase their algae rank by replaying a module. This algae rank acts as a gateway to the algae storefront, where new modules can be unlocked by using the rank. As stated earlier, these storefront modules focus on real-world and commercial uses of algae. Students who complete any main module with five stars can access storefront modules. All the storefront modules yield currency when completed, which can be used to buy aesthetic upgrades for the city, providing additional incentive for players. Power Ville is a game in Sustain City designed to educate students about four different methods of energy generation and their impact on the environment. In Power Ville, players take a consulting engineer role to investigate what form of electricity generation the city should pursue within the constraints of the city budget and power requirements. They talk to different experts to learns the pros and cons of each on available form of energy. With all the information collected, players use a simulator to determine the environmental impact of each form of energy and its feasibility as a power source (Figure 8). After the simulation, players can use a design tool to create a hybrid energy system solution that provides sufficient enough power for the city within the given budget (Figure 9). The tool scopes the city into different areas that can be powered by different sources of players’ choice. When players make a Figure 8. The simulation tool in Power Ville


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Figure 9. The power generation design in Power Ville

decision, the information is dynamically updated with the amount of power that can be generated versus the demand and the amount of budget required versus available. The updates show how the decision helps or hinders the optimization goal. The ability to use a portion of each type of power generation instead of a single type for the Figure 10. Examples of players’ solutions in Power Ville


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final solution has many benefits. First, there is less likelihood of a student guessing a correct answer to a problem with more options. Further, choosing partial power production is a more realistic situation as many cities buy power from neighboring areas as an alternative or supplement to building their own power supply. Players’ final decision—the selection solution and the results of other in-game activities—is reported to the mayor. The quality of solutions is evaluated by a preprogrammed scoring method. Figure 10 presents two possible outcomes. When a player ranks coal as the power source with the least environmental impact, his or her preliminary understanding was criticized as a one-star decision. On the other hand, the correct understanding of the environmental impact of the four power sources was rated as a four-star decision.

Player Guidance When dealing with an education-based game, the challenge to teach players how to play and guide them through the game world becomes greater. It must guide students with various backgrounds throughout the game without direct instructor interference. For example, highly self-motivated students often take full advantage of opportunities presented in games to discover knowledge on their own. For students who lack of motivation and prior knowledge, more structured approach might be needed in games to offer them necessary incentive and instructional support. Sustain City takes the approach of incremental learning where learning concepts are built slowly over layers of game play such that students can ease into all aspects of a topic, avoiding frustrations that might dissuade them from learning. Although Solaris One can be viewed as a layered learning experience, it is better to look at one of the mini-games to better explain the concept. The pipe-game within Solaris One is one of two main events on the asteroid portion of the game. The pipe game asks the student to construct pipe structures that obey given sets of rules such as length or heat transfer rates. Each chamber is unique and creates situations such as an extreme cold chamber where the player must move the liquid in the pipe with the lowest heat loss possible, or an extremely hot one where players wish to guard the liquid from the temperature and aim for maximum insulation. To introduce the interface and concepts, there are a series of challenges that increase in difficulty, never introducing more than one new unique game mechanic at a time. At its simplest, the game merely asks the player to play around with the interface, watching the result. Regardless of player actions, the next level will progress when they choose to move on. Next, the game simply asks the player to complete a pipe path, ignoring any parameters for heat loss or pipe material. The levels continue in this way until equations are introduced into the player’s choices. By this stage,


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the natural progression of the levels should allow players to solve the problem on their own. While solving of domain problems is important, the mere solving is unlikely to lead to improved skills or deeper understanding of subject matter (Anohina, 2007). Learning often takes place best when the learner is actively involved in the cognitive processes of problem solving and receives feedback from the system on how to be more metacognitively adept. In Sustain City, a series of metacognitive interventions are integrated with the experiential games to offer rigorous assessment and personalized scaffolding. Not all students are alike. The first step in guiding a player through any difficulty in game navigation is to identify students’ needs, which is when and what problem the player has. If a game system could tap into how individuals learn differently and equip them with learner-specific tactics, student’s learning outcome will be optimized. In Sustain City, a series of progressive question prompts are designed to pinpoint where breakdowns occur in the context of in-game problem-solving. Figure 11 is a sample question prompt in Gridlock. Those questions are tied to the goal, knowledge and facts of problem-solving stages and administered within the game context. If students answer those questions correctly, no references are forced onto them while there are still options for help should they choose. If students fail, additional resources, such as tutorials and live videos of experts solving similar Figure 11. Sample question prompt in Gridlock


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problems, are made clear to them and students may go through the resources to progress to the next level. The question prompts also provide players instant information about their current knowledge of the problem, their weakness in understanding or where they should seek improvement. Such feedback is automatically updated whenever players submit answers to question prompts. The KWS method (What I Know-What I Want to Know- What I have Solved) is a structured metacognitive tool in the games to help students to be aware of their own learning process. The more they know themselves, the more they can control goals, dispositions, and attention, and the better they become successful learners. In the initial design, KWS was a three-column chart structure (Figure 12) to activate students’ prior knowledge by recalling what students know about a problem (K), to motivate students to read/think by asking what they want to know (W), and finally to review which part of the problem has and has not been solved (S). This intervention is usually implemented in classroom environment with instructors’ facilitation. In a virtual environment, students are often left alone with to explore and figure out problems themselves. The lack of guidance makes the implementation of such intervention difficult because not all students are motivated to use it without facilitation. The second implementation of KWS affords the game system to take the facilitator role. Instead of asking students to write down what they know and do not know, and what they have solved, the game connects KWS with the question prompts. When players fail, the system immediately informs them what went wrong (Figure 13). Based on players’ answers and other information gathered from their gameplay, the system selects guidance tailored to their specific needs (Figure 14). Figure 12. Original KWS structure in Sustain City


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Another useful metacognitive tool is learning roadmap. It provides study guides for students to find relevant information and to capture key concepts in study materials (Tang et al., 2011). Depending on game content, a road map in Sustain City might be a task list. In Power Ville, the task list guides students to navigate through game assignments and retrieve important information (Figure 15). The road map might also be a set of suggestions designed to lead students through a problem-solving process by directing attention to key ideas and suggesting the application of proper skills, such as the one in Gridlock (Figure 14). One vivid example of the seamless integration of intelligent metacognitive tutoring with a narrative-based game can be seen in Gridlock, a content-specific game in digital electronics that invites students to investigate solutions to automatic traffic light control for a 4-way intersection. An automatic traffic light is a typical engineering invention that made the lives of common people safer and more convenient. For the development of the future eco-city, its design inevitably appears in the agenda of the city master plan and becomes an essential task of this game module. For students to design a full-functioning traffic light control, they should realize from the design specification that it is a typical sequential circuit, from which they have to apply their knowledge of finite state machine to complete the design. Thus, the game is partitioned into three problem-solving steps: problem statement comprehension, state machine design, and state table design. At each milestone, Figure 13. KWS in Gridlock


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Figure 14. The roadmap in Gridlock

Figure 15. Roadmap in PowerVille


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players are prompted with a series of questions that are tied to the goal, knowledge and facts of the specific problem-solving stage. Based on players’ responses, the game system immediately prompts players either to move on with the design or to use the roadmap for additional helps. At the end, players’ solution is validated where they are able to visualize the consequences of their design. A good traffic light design would follow correct sequence and specific timing, otherwise accidents reoccur due to the bad logic design. In this sense, students are engaged with societal and community concerns and able to realize the importance of their knowledge to make a difference in people’s life. Identifying what happens when a player’s capacity is sabotaged in problemsolving and providing tailored help to individual player’s are two challenging tasks in the game design. The data needed to understand the student’s knowledge level can only be acquired through observation of the learning process. Therefore, any attempt to developing an accurate guidance solution needs an algorithm to allow the decision-making process to accumulate past experience to a pertinently defined set of data structures, and at the same time, exploit the “knowledge” captured in the data set towards improving the overall system performance. The idea was implemented in Gridlock using a k-nearest neighbor (kNN)-based close-loop control (Figure 16). Each player is thoroughly evaluated at individual game stages on their understanding of the material. The results of the evaluation and other factors that represent players’ behavior and understanding are classified to determine if a player Figure 16. The system architecture of the kNN-based game system in Gridlock


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Figure 17. The cascading kNN system model

masters the required material before proceeding to the next section of the game. Such classification is cascaded from one game stage to another, reinforcing the system understanding of student domain knowledge. If a student is found lacking in some area of the information, immediate feedback and detailed help are provided to the student to acquire the knowledge. The kNN-based game system consists of three interactive modules: Student Module, Expert Module, and Pedagogy Module (Figure 17). The Student Module is responsible for the timeliness of system knowledge of the student reflected in the student model. The game system provides different measures to capture student realtime actions. Besides tracking student answers to prompted questions and student online communications, an additional measure is added to gather information, such as the time spent on individual tasks, student frustration on task, and the frequency of reviewing a specific portion of the help documentation. Students’ responses to those assessment queries then serve as observed evidence that is kept in the student model and will be accumulated as the prior knowledge for future decision making. The Expert Module functions as a black box. With the inputs of student actions in the game, it classifies how well the student knows the material for the assignment. Such classification is subsequently adjusted every time new observed evidence on student actions is obtained from the game system, which helps to bring the maintained value estimates closer to the ones corresponding to the observed student behavior. Meanwhile, the classification is fed into the pedagogy module where a mapping algorithm determines which sequence of prompts and cues in Instruction Database is proper to the knowledge level of the student. To work nicely with the partitioned game, the entire Expert Module consists of r instances, each of which has two components, Knowledge Database and Expert Model, built specifically 76

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for its corresponding problem section. Eventually, all Expert Module instances are cascaded to offer reinforced classification where the outcome from one section is not only used to guide the instructional helps that are tailored to individual student knowledge level, but also provided as an input feature to the next section

EVALUATION To date, PowerVille, Gridlock, and Solaris One were piloted in both pre-engineering and engineering classrooms. A mixed methodology was utilized for evaluation and assessment that triangulated understanding for how the serious game system with metacognitive interventions impacted student interests and learning. Three research questions as presented in Table 1 guided the project assessment. Methods included surveys and focus group interviews. As shown in Table 2, the instrument used for evaluation sought to determine student attitude towards the game scenario and problem-solving, and the utility and usefulness of the various metacognitive tools built into the games. In particular, students were surveyed about how helpful the tools were and how often they used them during the games. Two open-ended questions were also designed in the survey to have students select the most/least useful tools and provide their justification. Note that there are differences in requirements of the games, so not all survey items were presented to all players. Compared to PowerVille, Gridlock and Solaris One are more content-specific and require players to have basic mathematics and certain knowledge (e.g., circuit design in Gridlock and thermodynamics in Solaris One). In addition, the games also increase in visual sophistication and narrative complexity from PowerVille to Solaris One. As stated earlier, PowerVille is focused on a single Table 1. Evaluation plan matrix Research Questions

Evaluation Questions

Evaluation Measures

To what extent is the metacognitive and problemsolving content in the VR games useful to student learning?

o Frequency of game tools being used by students o Open-ended questions on why students like/ dislike a particular tool

- Surveys of the utility and usability of game tools

To what extent does the VR games with metacognitive interventions play in fostering student interests in engineering problem-solving?

o The realism of games in delivering realworld engineering problems o How fun and interesting does the problemsolving process in game compared to working out of a textbook/lab instruction

- Focus group interviews - Surveys of student interests in game learning

To what extent is the student learning improved by the VR game experience in general?

o What do student reflections from student game experience reveal about their learning

- Surveys of student conceptual learning


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decision, a recommendation for choosing a power source for a city. Gridlock requires programming of digital circuits to regulate traffic flow through an intersection, including representing the solution in circuit-diagram software. Solaris One requires overcoming a series of problems to repair a failing power station in space, all of which depend on understanding fundamental thermodynamics equations. At total of 254 students completed the surveys (152 PowerVille, 71 Gridlock, and 31 Solaris). Levels of experience with video gaming were higher for PowerVille (64% gaming at least weekly) and Gridlock (72%). Fifty-two percent of Solaris players reported gaming at least weekly. Students generally felt themselves to be aware of the content, although as noted later in this section, players generally increased scores on content assessments after playing the games.

Utility and Usability of Metacognitive Interventions As shown in Figure 18 and Figure 19, students had few problems figuring out how to use the tools, but of the three core supports, Road Map was the most popular, since that tool, in students’ words, “kept reminding me what I did and what I have to get accomplished,” and “hints necessary concepts”. When KWS was used alone as a three-column chart in Power Ville, there was not a direct purpose that required responses to the intervention; thus students were not focused on deeply the learning modeled in such support. Once question prompts were connected with KWS to facilitate student reflection, more students started to appreciate their value. “The question prompts let me know that I was on the right track and gave me confidence in what I was doing,” students wrote, “they reiterate the concepts from the lectures needed to beat the game.” Although students perceived chatting as an important tool, it was not used frequently. In students’ own comments, “it serves no purpose since we were in the same room” and “lab partners are in the room while [game] lab is in progress”.

Interests and Motivation Students were asked to compare the game experience to covering the same material in a textbook. The survey had six dimensions, showing the percentages of respondents at each level of Less Than/Same As/More Than a textbook (Figure 20). The question about realism of the engineering task was not asked of the 152 PowerVille players; all other questions were presented to all 254 students in the sample. • • • 78

How much did the problem seem like a realistic engineering task? How interesting was the problem? How much fun was the process?

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Table 2. Comparison of modal survey responses across games Attribute


Interest (Not/ Somewhat/ Very)

Relative effectiveness Perceived results

Gridlock N=71

Solaris N=31

Video game experience (Rarely/