Three Genres of Game Research. Richard E. Mayer University of California, Santa Barbara

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1 Three Genres of Game Research Richard E. Mayer University of California, Santa Barbara 2014 CRESST Conference WARP SPEED, MR. SULU: Integrating Games, Technology, and Assessment to Accelerate Learning in the 21 st Century April 30, 2014

2 Games for Learning: An Evidence-Based Approach 1. Introduction 1. Value-Added Approach: Which Features Increase the Instructional Effectiveness of a Computer Game? 2. Cognitive Consequences Approach: What Is Learned from an Off-the-Shelf Game? 3. Media Comparison Approach: Do People Learn Better with Games than with Conventional Media? 4. Conclusion

3 Rationale for Studying Games for Learning Educational computer games have promise for improving learning, but we are just beginning to test that potential in scientific research.

4 Potential and Pitfalls of Educational Computer Games Potential Game features promote motivation (increasing generative processing). Instructional features promote learning (increasing essential processing). Pitfalls Game features diminish learning (increasing extraneous processing). Instructional features diminish motivation (decreasing generative processing).

5 Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning

6 Three Kinds of Cognitive Processes During Learning Process Definition Effects of games Extraneous Cognitive processing during + Game features learning that does not serve - Instructional features the instructional objective. Essential Cognitive processing during - Game features learning required to mentally + Instructional features represent the presented material (e.g., selecting). Generative Cognitive processing during + Game features learning required to make - Instructional features sense of the presented material (e.g., selecting, organizing, integrating).

7 Players in Game Research Who What they do How they view games Visionaries Inspire Positive Developers Dazzle Positive Educators Connect Positive Investigators Inform Critical

8 Strong Claims for Games Kids learn more positive, useful things for their future from their video games than they learn in school. Good games are problem-solving spaces that create deep learning, learning that is better than what we often see today in our schools. The key to solving the current crisis in education will be to use the power of computer and video games to give all children access to experiences and build interest and understanding. Good games lend themselves to systematic understandings. Prensky (2006, p. 4); Gee (2007, p. 10); Shaffer (2006, p. 67); Squire (2011, p. 36)

9 Weak Evidence for Games Many strong claims are made for the educational value of computer games, but there is little strong empirical evidence to back up those claims. there is relatively little research evidence on the effectiveness of simulations and games for learning there is considerably more enthusiasm for describing the affordances of games and their motivating properties than for conducting research to demonstrate that those affordances are used to attain instructional aims This would be a good time to shelve the rhetoric about games and divert those energies to conducting needed research.

10 While effectiveness of game environments can be documented in terms of intensity and longevity of engagement as well as the commercial success of the games, there is much less solid empirical information about what outcomes are systematically achieved by the use of individual and multiplayer games to train participants in acquiring knowledge and skills. Further, there is almost no guidance for game designers and developers on how to design games that facilitate learning. Mayer (2011, p. 281); Honey & Hilton (2011, p. 21) Tobias et al., 2011 (p. 206); O Neil & Perez (2008,p. ix)

11 Problem: Strong claims based on weak evidence. Solution: Develop game research methodologies. Produce high-quality evidence base on games for learning. Ground game research in cognitive theory. Foster collaboration among visionaries, developers, educators, and investigators.

12 What are games for learning? Games for learning are games intended to promote learning (i.e., intended to improve performance on target tasks). Play game Improve on measures of learning outcome

13 What are the characteristics of educational games? Characteristic Description Rule-based Responsive Challenging Events occur based on a set of knowable rules. Environment allows for player to act and responds promptly and saliently. Environment provides opportunities for success on difficult tasks. Cumulative Current state of the environment reflects player s previous actions and allows for assessment of progress towards goals.

14 Three Genres of Game Research Research Genre Research Question Research Design Value added Which features of a game Base version vs. promote learning? enhanced version Cognitive consequences What do people learn from Game vs. no game playing an off-the-shelf (or varying amounts game? of game playing) Media comparison Do people learn better Game vs. from a game or standard medium conventional media?

15 Value Added Approach to Game Research Compare base version vs. enhanced version Measure learning outcome (M & SD on transfer) Compute effect size (d) Base group Play base version Take transfer test M = 10 SD = 5 d = (12 10)/5 = 0.40 Enhanced group Play enhanced version Take Transfer test M = 12 SD = 5

16 Value Added Research: Which Features Improve Learning? Design-A-Plant Modality Personalization Redundancy Image Circuit Game Explanative feedback Self-explanation Prompting Competition Profile Game Pretraining Virtual Factory Politeness Cache 17 Narrative theme

17 Do people learn better from playing Design-A-Plant when words are spoken rather than printed? Base group: Play Design-A-Plant game. Herman-the-Bug communicates in printed text. Enhanced group: Play Design-a-Plant game. Herman-the-Bug communicates in spoken form. Transfer test: Determine best environment for various plants.

18 Modality Principle: People learn better in games when words are spoken rather than printed. Source Effect size Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 4a) 0.60 Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 4b) 1.58 Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 5a) 1.41 Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 5b) 1.71 Moreno & Mayer (2002, Expt. 1a) 0.93 Moreno & Mayer (2002, Expt. 1b) 0.62 Moreno & Mayer (2002, Expt. 1c) 2.79 Moreno & Mayer (2002, Expt. 2a) 0.74 Moreno & Mayer (2002, Expt. 2b) 2.24 Median 1.41

19 Do people learn better from playing Design-A-Plant when words are in conversational style rather than formal style? Base group: Play Design-A-Plant game. Herman-the-Bug communicates using formal style (e.g., This program is about what type of plant survives on different planets ). Enhanced group: Play Design-a-Plant game. Herman-the-Bug communicates in conversational style (e.g., You are about to begin on a journey, where you will visiting different planets ). Transfer test: Determine best environment for various plants.

20 Personalization Principle: People learn better in games when words are in conversational style rather than formal style. Source Effect size Moreno & Mayer (2000b, Expt. 3) 1.92 Moreno & Mayer (2000b, Expt. 4) 1.49 Moreno & Mayer (2000b, Expt. 5) 1.11 Moreno & Mayer (2004, Expt. 1a) 1.58 Moreno & Mayer (2004, Expt. 1b) 1.93 Median 1.58

21 Do people learn better from playing Design-A-Plant when words are printed and spoken rather than spoken alone? Base group: Play Design-A-Plant game. Herman-the-Bug communicates in spoken text. Enhanced group: Play Design-a-Plant game. Herman-the-Bug communicates in spoken form and with identical onscreen printed text. Transfer test: Determine best environment for various plants.

22 Redundancy Principle: People do not learn better in games when words are printed and spoken rather than spoken alone. Source Effect size Moreno & Mayer (2002b, Expt. 2a) Moreno & Mayer (2002b, Expt. 2b) Median -0.22

23 Do people learn better from playing Design-A-Plant when the agent s image is on the screen? Base group: Play Design-A-Plant game. Herman-the-Bug s image is not on the screen. Enhanced group: Play Design-a-Plant game. Herman-the-Bug s image is on the screen. Transfer test: Determine best environment for various plants.

24 Image Principle: People do not learn better in games when an agent s image is on the screen. Source Effect size Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 4a) Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 4b) 0.22 Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 5a) 0.22 Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 5b) 0.35 Median 0.22

25 Do people learn better from playing the Circuit Game when they get explanative feedback after each key move? Feedback Game task Base group: Play Circuit Game without explanative feedback. Enhanced group: Play Circuit Game with explanative feedback after each key move. Transfer test: Solve 25 new circuit problems on level 10 as an embedded test.

26 Explanative Feedback Principle: People learn better in games when they get explanative feedback after each key move. Source Effect size Mayer & Johnson (2010) 0.68

27 Do people learn better from playing the Circuit Game when they are asked to select an explanation for their moves? Self explanation Game task Base group: Play Circuit Game without self explanation. Enhanced group: Play Circuit Game with self explanation. Transfer test: Solve 25 new circuit problems on level 10 as an embedded test.

28 Self-Explanation Principle: People learn better in games when they are asked to select an explanation for their moves. Source Effect size Mayer & Johnson (2010) 0.90 Johnson & Mayer (2010, Expt. 1) 1.20 Johnson & Mayer (2010, Expt. 2) 0.71 Median 0.90

29 Prompts Game task Do people learn better from playing the Circuit Game when they are prompted to reflect on underlying principles? Base group: Play Circuit Game without prompts. Enhanced group: Play Circuit Game with prompts. Transfer test: Solve 25 new circuit problems on level 10 as an embedded test.

30 Prompting Principle: People learn better in games when they are prompted to reflect on underlying principles. Source Effect size Fiorella & Mayer (2012, Expt. 1) 0.77 Fiorella & Mayer (2012, Expt. 2) 0.53 Median 0.65

31 Do people learn better from playing the Circuit Game when competitive features are added? Competition Game task Win one ticket for each level. Exchange for chance to win $50. Number of tickets shown on screen. Base group: Play Circuit Game without Competiitive features. Enhanced group: Play Circuit Game with competitive features. Transfer test: Solve 25 new circuit problems on level 10 as an embedded test.

32 Competition Principle: Women learn better and men learn worse when competition is added to a game. Source Effect size DeLeeuw & Mayer (2011, women) 0.24 DeLeeuw & Mayer (2011, men) DeLeeuw & Mayer (2011, all) -0.06

33 Do people learn better from playing the Profile Game when they receive pretraining in the key concepts? Game task Base group: Play Profile Game without pretraining. Enhanced group: Play Profile Game with pretraining. Transfer test: Solve new profile problems.

34 Pretraining Principle: People learn better in games when they receive pretraining in the key concepts. Source Effect size Mayer, Mautone & Prothero (2002, Expt. 2) 0.57 Mayer, Mautone & Prothero (2002, Expt. 3) 0.85 Median 0.71

35 Do people learn better from playing the Virtual Factory game when they the onscreen agent uses polite rather than direct wording? Base group: Play Virtual Factory with onscreen agent who uses direct wording (e.g., Press the ENTER key ). Enhanced group: Play Virtual Factory with onscreen agent who uses polite wording (e.g., Shall we press the ENTER key? ). Transfer test: Answer comprehension questions.

36 Politeness Principle: People learn better in games when an agent uses polite rather than direct wording. Source Effect size Wang et al. (2008) 0.93

37 Do people learn better from playing Cache 17 when there is a strong narrative theme? Narrative theme Game task Short introductory animation about lost artwork that may be stored in a WWII bunker system. Base group: Play Cache 17 without a strong narrative theme. Enhanced group: Play Cache 17 with introductory animation that presents a narrative theme about lost artwork. Transfer test: Solve new problems about electrical devices.

38 Narrative Theme Principle: People do not learn better in games with strong narrative themes. Source Effect size Adams et al. (2012) -0.16

39 Value Added Research: Promising Principles of Game Design Principle Description Game d Modality People learn better in games Design-a-Plant 1.41 when words are spoken rather than printed. Personalization People learn better in games Design-A-Plant 1.58 when words are in conversational style rather than formal style. Explanative People learn better in games Circuit Game 0.68 feedback when they get explanative feedback after each key move. Self- People learn better in games Circuit Game 0.90 explanation when they are asked to select an explanation for their moves.

40 Value Added Research: Promising Principles of Game Design (Continued) Principle Description Game d Prompting People learn better in games Circuit Game 0.65 when they are prompted to reflect on underlying principles. Pretraining People learn better in games Profile Game 0.71 when they receive pretraining in the key concepts. Politeness People learn better in games Virtual Factory 0.93 when an agent uses polite rather than direct wording.

41 Value Added Research: Unpromising Principles of Game Design (Continued) Principle Description Game d Redundancy People do not learn better in Design-a-Plant 0.22 games when words are printed and spoken rather than spoken alone. Image People do not learn better in Design-a-Plant 0.22 games when an agent s image is on the screen. Competition Women learn better and men Circuit Game learn worse when competition is added to a game. Narrative People do not learn better in Cache theme games with strong narrative themes.

42 Cognitive Consequences Approach to Game Research Compare game playing to no game playing Measure cognitive skill (M & SD on transfer) Compute effect size (d) Game group Play game Take transfer test M = 10 SD = 5 d = (12 10)/5 = 0.40 Control group Do not play game Take Transfer test M = 12 SD = 5

43 Cognitive Consequences Research: Does Playing an Off-the-Shelf Game Improve Cognitive Skills 1. Educational games in an after-school computer club 2. Tetris

44 What do students learn from playing educational games in an after-school computer club? Game group: Play educational computer games in an after-school computer club for at least 10 weeks. Control group: Matched students are randomly selected to not participate in an after-school computer club. Transfer test: Solve math problems in a new educational game or translate word problems into equations.

45 Positive Cognitive Consequences: People learn math skills from playing games in an after-school computer club. Source Effect size Mayer et al. (1997) comprehend math problems: 0.87 Mayer, Quilici, & Moreno (1999) solve math puzzles in new game: 0.59 Median 0.73

46 What do students learn from playing Tetris? Game group: Novices play Tetris for 10 hours. Control group: Matched students are randomly selected to not play Tetris. Transfer test: Take a battery of spatial cognition tests.

47 Null Cognitive Consequences: People do not learn spatial cognition skills from playing Tetris. Source Effect size Sims & Mayer (2002) mental rotation of non-tetris letters: 0.23 mental rotation of non-tetris shapes: 0.23 card rotation test: -0.15

48 Cognitive Consequences Research: What Works? Target Skill Game Description d Solve math Educational Students who participated in 0.73 problems games in an an after-school computer after-school club performed better on computer club solving math problems in a new game than did comparison students. Mental rotation Tetris Students who played Tetris for sessions improved in mental rotation of Tetris shapes but not non-tetris shapes as compared to comparison students.

49 Media Comparison Approach to Game Research Compare game playing to learning with conventional medium Measure learning outcome (M & SD on transfer) Compute effect size (d) Game group Play game Take transfer test M = 10 SD = 5 d = (12 10)/5 = 0.40 Conventional group Learn with standard medium Take Transfer test M = 12 SD = 5

50 Media Comparison Research: What Works? 1. Design-a-Plant vs. Online Lesson 2. Cache 17 vs. Slideshow 3. Crystal Island vs. Slideshow

51 Do people learn better from playing Design-A-Plant or from an online lesson? Game group: Choose roots, stem, and leaves. Interact with Herman-the-bug. Get narrated explanation. Conventional group: Get narrated explanation. Transfer test: Determine best environment for various plants.

52 Positive Media Comparison Effects: People learn better from Design-a-Plant than from an online lesson. Source Effect size Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 1) 1.03 Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 2) 0.97 Moreno et al. (2001, Expt. 3) 0.76 Median 0.97

53 Do people learn better from playing Cache 17 or from a slideshow? Game group: Solve a mystery problem by moving a character through a bunker system and building three electrical devices to open doors along the way. Conventional group: Receive same information about electrical devices via a slideshow. Transfer test: Write answers to questions about electrical devices.

54 Negative Media Comparison Effect: People do not learn better from Cache 17 than from a slideshow. Source Effect size Adams et al. (2012, Experiment 2) -0.57

55 Do people learn better from playing Crystal Island or from a slideshow? Game group: Figure out the cause of a disease on an island by gathering information and conducting tests with a microscope. Conventional group: Receive same information about infectious diseases via a slideshow. Transfer test: Write answers to questions about infectious diseases.

56 Negative Media Comparison Effect: People do not learn better from Crystal Island than from a slideshow. Source Effect size Adams et al. (2012, Expt. 1) -0.31

57 Media Comparison Research: What Works? Conventional Game group Description d group Online Design-a-Plant Students learned about botany 0.97 lesson better from playing the DAP game than from an online lesson. Powerpoint Cache 17 Students learned about how lesson devices work better from a slideshow than from playing Cache 17. Powerpoint Crystal Island Students learned about the lesson microbiology of disease better from a slideshow than from playing Crystal Island.

58 Games for Learning: Summary of Main Points Many strong claims are made for the educational value of games, but it is useful to take an evidence-based approach that is grounded in cognitive theory. Research on educational games is in its early stage. Three genres of game research are value added, cognitive consequences, and media comparison.

59 Games for Learning: Summary of Value Added Research Promising Principles Modality principle Personalization principle Explanative feedback principle Self-explanation principle Prompting principle Pretraining principle Politeness principle Challenged Principles Redundancy principle Image principle Competition principle Narrative theme principle

60 Games for Learning: Summary of Cognitive Consequences Research Promising Game Venues Computer club Challenged Game Venues Tetris

61 Games for Learning: Summary of Media Comparison Research Better than Conventional Media Design-a-Plant Not Better than Conventional Media Cache 17 Crystal Island

62 Take Home Message When the goal is to help people learn with games, the design of educational games should be informed by scientific research evidence and grounded in cognitive theory. Educational researchers can contribute to a science of games for learning, which helps create effective educational games.

63 References for Valued-Added Research Adams, D. M., Mayer, R. E., MacNamara, A., Koening, A., & Wainess, R. (2012). Narrative games for learning: Testing the discovery and narrative hypothesis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, DeLeeuw, K. & Mayer, R. E. (2011). Cognitive consequences of making computer-based learning activities more gamelike. Computers in Human Behavior, 27, Fiorella, L., & Mayer, R. E. (2012). Paper-based aids for learning with a computer-based game. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, Johnson, C. I., & Mayer, R. E. (2010). Adding the self-explanation principle to multimedia learning in a computer-based game-like environment. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, Mayer, R. E., & Johnson, C. I. (2010). Adding instructional features that promote learning in a game-like environment. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 42, Mayer, R. E., Mautone, P. D., & W. Prothero (2002). Pictorial aids for learning by doing in a multimedia geology simulation game. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, Moreno, R. & Mayer, R. E. (2000). Engaging students in active learning: The case for personalized multimedia messages. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93, Moreno, R. & Mayer, R. E. (2002a). Verbal redundancy in multimedia learning: When reading helps listening. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, Moreno, R. E. & Mayer, R. E. (2002b). Learning science in virtual reality environments: Role of methods and media. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94, Moreno, R., & Mayer, R. E. (2004). Personalized messages that promote science learning in virtual environments. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, Moreno, R., Mayer, R. E., Spires, H., & Lester, J. (2001). The case for social agency in computer-based teaching: Do students learn more deeply when they interact with animated pedagogical agents? Cognition and Instruction, 19, Wang, N., Johnson, W. L., Mayer, R. E., Rizzo, P., Shaw, E., & Collins, H. (2008). The politeness effect: Pedagogical agents and learning outcomes. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 66,

64 References for Cognitive Consequences Research Blanton, W., Mayer, R. E., McNamee, G., & Schustack, M. (2006). The quantitative effects of fifth dimension participation on children s cognitive and academic skills. In M. Cole and the Distributed Literacy Consortium (Eds.), The fifth dimension: An after-school program built on diversity (pp ). New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Mayer, R. E., Duran, R., Quilici, J., Moreno, R., Woodbridge, S., Simon, R., Sanchez, D., & Lavezzo, A. (1997). Cognitive consequences of participation in a Fifth Dimension after-school computer club. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 16, Mayer, R. E., Quilici, J. H. & Moreno, R. (1999). What is learned in an after-school computer club? Journal of Educational Computing Research, 18, Sims, V. K. & Mayer, R. E. (2002). Domain specificity of spatial expertise: The case of video game players. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 16, References for Media Comparison Research Adams, D. M., Mayer, R. E., MacNamara, A., Koening, A., & Wainess, R. (2012). Narrative games for learning: Testing the discovery and narrative hypothesis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104, Moreno, R., Mayer, R. E., Spires, H., & Lester, J. (2001). The case for social agency in computer-based teaching: Do students learn more deeply when they interact with animated pedagogical agents? Cognition and Instruction, 19, General References Mayer, R. E. (2011). Multimedia learning and games. In S. Tobias & J. D. Fletcher (Eds.), Computer games and instruction ( ). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing. Mayer, R. E., & Lieberman, D. (2011). Conducting scientific research on learning and health behavior change with computer-based health games. Educational Technology, 51(5), Mayer, R. E. (in press). Games for learning: An evidence-based approach. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

65 Thank You Richard E. Mayer Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA Research supported by Office of Naval Research, National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation

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