Exploring the link between player involvement and learning within digital games.
In: 23rd British HCI Group Annual Conference on People and Computers: Celebrating People and Technology, 1-5 Sep 2009.
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Digital games are becoming increasingly popular with the latest generation of consoles bringing games to an even wider audience . Academic interest in the educational potential of video games is also growing and seems to stem from the fact that they are considered motivating [10; 13]. However, while there is some research on what makes games engaging, there is a need to further our understanding of the link between player involvement and learning, and to develop methods to evaluate these aspects of the user experience. This paper aims to report on a study that explored this relationship through a qualitative case-study approach. The methods consisted of a combination of observed game-play and a post-play cued interview in which a video recording of the game-play was reviewed. The Digital Game Experience Model [1; 2] was then used to analyse critical instances and themes within these episodes. Two examples are presented to illustrate how the method was implemented. The findings indicate a very close relationship between learning and involvement and suggest that a certain amount of learning is required before deeper levels of involvement can be experienced. However, further research is required in order to see whether these findings can be generalised and to consider whether different forms of interaction can be incorporated into this model of game play.
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