Iacovides, Ioanna; Aczel, James; Scanlon, Eileen and Woods, William
What can breakdowns and breakthroughs tell us about learning and involvement experienced during game-play?
In: 5th European Conference on Games Based Learning, 20-21 October 2011, Athens, Greece.
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Alongside the growing mainstream appeal of digital games, there has been an increasing amount of academic interest in how games can be used to support involving learning experiences within formal educational settings. While there has been particular emphasis on the potential of games within these contexts, there is still much to be understood about what happens during specific instances of game-play (Squire, 2008). For instance, it has been argued that research in the area would benefit from further exploration of both how and what people learn informally when they play games during their leisure time (Oliver & Carr, 2009). This paper aims to address some of these issues by reporting on research which explores how involvement and learning come together in and around instances of game-play. A multiple case study approach was adopted, which included game-play observation and a cued post-play interview. Eight cases were carried out in total, with participants being asked to come into the lab to play games on three different occasions and to keep a gaming diary over a three week period. This paper focuses on exploring the detailed processes that occur during game-play in order to consider how people learn through play. The preliminary findings of the analyses are presented through examples from the case studies which illustrate how these breakdowns and breakthroughs occurred with respect to: Action (e.g. problems with the controller, finding out a new attack), Understanding (e.g. not knowing what to do next, figuring out how to solve a puzzle) and Involvement (e.g. losing interest in the game, seeing evidence of progress). Consideration will also be given to how breakdowns and breakthroughs relate to each other and the influence they have on learning and involvement within this context.
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