What I did
1. Developed a learning experience that was focused on accessibility
2. Laid the foundation for people to identify their different learning methods
The goal of this project is to create a platform that supplies introductory information on how to find the best game format and technology possible to learn a certain subject.
The learning games covered are focused on online games (browser-based games). Online games make it easy for potential players and learners to launch the games by just using the browser, no pre-installation required. Thus, online games are more accessible across different platforms, locations, and devices. This advantage helps education to reach a broader range of self-learners around the world.
The idea of bringing learning and play together has become a new method of efficient education that greatly benefits learners from almost every learning level and subject. Self-learning is being adapted by a growing population to embrace the “playful learning” method and make use of the constructive activeness, the enjoyment, and the accessibility. Although there are countless playful learning options out there through different games, there is a lack of guidance for self-learners to choose proper options to learn certain subjects effectively. This project aims to help solve this problem by providing a better overview and suggestion for self-learners.
This project required a lot of secondary research on learning theories and digital learning and gamification. Here are our biggest insights:
Bruner’s theory on constructivism suggests that learning is an active process where those learning are able to form new ideas based on what their current knowledge is as well as their past knowledge (1966). Furthermore, constructivist pedagogy focuses on constructing knowledge, thinking and analyzing, understanding and applying information instead of accumulating knowledge and repeating back (Kaya, 2015). All this brings us to the conclusion that learning should be an active process and not passive.
A game of any type or form will engage a player and make him actively take part in the different tasks given to him to reach a certain goal. Games also help develop specific skills and perspectives in their participants. These acquired skills from game playing, such as mental schemata, as well as physical abilities acquired from game playing, can be often transferred directly to real-life activities (Broadbent, 1986; Piaget, 1970). This can be used to teach a certain thinking pattern, introduce a player to a topic, and even stimulates at the cognitive level (Tannahill, Tissington, Senior 2012).
The book “How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School” written by the National Research Council explains how the first attempts to use computer technologies to enhance learning were made in 1968 with the efforts of pioneers such as Atkinson and Suppes (2000). Since then technologies have been adapted as means of further engaging students in a subject and have made it possible to teach people inside and outside of the classroom setting.
Computer games can just like non-digital analog games teach the player different skills and can help to comprehend simple structures and how they are built. Chatfield gives the example of how Wright’s “SimCity” might not teach players what single-handedly running a bustling metropolis is like in real life but what it does teach is how different variables within a system interact in emergent and complex ways (2010).
Furthermore, it is important to notice how games can help with retention and memorization of learning material. In 1885 Ebbinghaus formed the theory on the phenomenon called the spacing effect (1964). The phenomenon shows that the learning outcome is greater when studying is spread out over time, as opposed to studying the same amount of content in a single session. Willingham gives a great example of how allocation of students study time can increase retention (2002). This spaced presentation of information can be recreated with an algorithm in computer games that shows information in certain time intervals and can this way make use of the phenomenon.
an active process
Broadbent, D. E. (1986). The enterprise of performance. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,38A, 151–162.
Bruner, J. (1966). Toward a Theory of Instruction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Chatfield, T. (2010). Why Games are the 21st Century’s Most Serious Business. London: The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts.
Ebbinghaus, H. (1964). Memory: A contribution to experimental psychology. New York: Dover, 1964 (Originally published, 1885).
Kaya, H. (2015). Blending Technology with Constructivism: Implications for an ELT Classroom. Teaching English with Technology, 15(1). 4.
National Research Council. 2000. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Piaget, J. (1970).Genetic epistemology. (E. Duckworth, Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press.
Tannahill N., Tissington P., & Senior C. (2012) Video games and higher education: what can “Call of Duty” teach our students? Frontiers in Psychology, 3(210).
Willingham D., (2002) Allocating Student Study Time: "Massed" versus "Distributed" Practice. American Educator, 3.
We used Wordpress to put the platform together. We needed a simple theme that can be easily adjusted with plugins and small changes to the CSS. Sydney came with a useful toolbox that offered everything we needed.
The content was written by everyone in the team. The theory on different ways of learning different subject was what backed everything up so we created a whole page around it. We also took the time to talk about the history and general theory of learning.
As we build the site we realized that this would not just be an accumulation of resources but also be an introduction to different learning theories and maybe finding a better personal solution for learning difficulties.
We started with a set of colors that we slowly expanded on and adjusted as we build the project.
As the project's title suggest the whole platform should feel playful yet serious since it is ultimately being dedicated to different learning opportunities. This means that we needed colors and forms that get that message across. We decided flat imagery of books and games with a playful color palette would work best.
The goal of this project is to supply introductory information on how to find the best game format and technology possible to learn a certain subject so we build our entire website around one single mechanic: the game discovery. It is the most important feature of the website and embodies our goal and what we are trying to achieve.
Every element on the website supports the goal of finding the right game for you so the whole experience leads to the game page. Depending on the amount of information you want about how different research shows how different approaches to learning through games can help to improve your skills you will end up at the overview of games.
Filters for FEATURED GAMES
This project resulted in a fully build website that is still running and available to people. We have seen great feedback from users and have been able to spark inspiration and getting people interested in exploring games as a learning medium.
As of right now we have suggestions for the general self-learner but we could use the opportunity to expand on that and offer suggestions for different learning types. There is also an opportunity to better the design by choosing to customize the website in even more detail.