"Be the change that you want to see in the world." -- Gandhi
Daniel D. Suthers, Chair
Extensive literature has shown that games can provide an engaging, dynamic, and authentic learning context. Many of the studies on the use of games in education indicate that games can support teaching standards and outcomes; however, they do not describe actual uses of video games for learning. Through the analysis of affordances employed by student gamers, an understanding of how learning takes place can inform the design of effective educational games and aid their integration into contemporary classrooms. Informed by ethnomethodology, this study used methods of grounded theory provided a detailed description of the use of video games for learning in educational contexts.
Results demonstrate that learning occurs across multiple levels: the mastery of the computer interface, followed by the mastery of the game interface and upon which students can achieve advanced strategy aimed at goal achievement. Learning also occurs across multiple granularities: occurring either in short episodes, sequences of episodes, or trends. Learning can be triggered by multiple cues, such as failure, game visualizations or specific representations, as well as by peers or teachers in the social environment.
Students used affordances provided by the game interface and learning environment, specifically: the visual representations of games afford particular actions; the persistent display of historical context as well as present and future potentials motivates learning; specific cues can grab attention, helping to focus efforts on new or underutilized game tasks; consistent and well organized visualizations encourage learning; and information presented in a plurality of channels is most effective for learning.
The use of social peers in collaborative learning had several effects on the learning process: peers disclosed information to achieve shared meaning of objects’ purposes, and negotiated to collaboratively choose game strategies. Peer
teams served cooperative roles as information sources and competitively as a performance gauge.
Implications for students, educators, and game designers are offered to better play, implement, and design games for learning. A brief comparison of findings with existing theory discusses similarities among collaborative learning and activity theory, and suggests opportunities for future work. Overall, findings indicate a great potential for the use of games in education for learning.
Sharritt, M. J. (2008). Forms of learning in collaborative video game play. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 3(2), pp. 97–138. View Paper (PDF)
Sharritt, M. J. (2008). Students’ Use of Social and Cognitive Affordances in Video Game Play within Educational Contexts: Implications for Learning.Doctoral Dissertation, University of Hawaii at Manoa: Honolulu, HI. (1055 pages) View Abstract
Sharritt, M. J. & Suthers, D.D. (2009). Video game representations as cues for collaboration and learning. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 1(3), pp. 28–52. (Received 'top-paper award' at the Meaningful Play conference, Michigan State University, October 2008). View Abstract
Sharritt, M.A., & Sharritt, M.J. (2010). A mixed method approach to studying collaborative video game play. Presented at the Games + Learning + Society Conference (GLS 6.0), June 9–11, 2010, Madison. View Abstract
Sharritt, M.A., & Sharritt, M.J. (2010). User-experience game research? Presented at the Games + Learning + Society Conference (GLS 6.0), June 9–11, 2010, Madison. View Abstract
Sharritt, M. J. (2010). An Open-Ended, Emergent Approach for Studying Serious Games. In L. Annetta & S. Bronack (Eds.) Serious Educational Game Assessment (pp. 243–261). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. View Abstract
Sharritt, M. J. (2010). Designing game affordances to promote learning and engagement. Cognitive Technology Journal, 15(1), pp. 43–57. (Special Issue on Games for Good: Video Games as Cognitive Technologies.) View Full Issue (PDF)
Sharritt, M. J. (2010). Evaluating Video Game Design and Interactivity. In R. Van Eck (Ed.) Interdisciplinary Models and Tools for Serious Games: Emerging Concepts and Future Directions (pp. 177–205). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. View Abstract
Sharritt, M.J., Sharritt, M.A., & Suthers, D.D. (2010). Analyzing Collaborative Learning in Game-Based Scenarios. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Text & Discourse (ST&D 2010), August 16–18, 2010, Chicago. (Received "Best Poster Award"). View Abstract
Van Eck, R. (Ed.) (2010). Gaming and Cognition: Theories and Practice from the Learning Sciences. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. (M.J. Sharritt on Editorial Board).
Van Eck, R. (Ed.) (2010). Interdisciplinary Models and Tools for Serious Games: Emerging Concepts and Future Directions. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. (M.J. Sharritt on Editorial Board).
Cruz-Cunha, M. et al. (Eds.) (2011).Handbook of Research on Serious Games as Educational, Business and Research Tools: Development and Design. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. (M.J. Sharritt on Editorial Board).
Sharritt, M. J. (2011). Designing game representations: How game interfaces constrain and promote collaborative play. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, 3(2), pp. 145–157. View Abstract
Sharritt, M. J., Aune, R. K., & Suthers, D.D. (2011). Gamer Talk: Becoming Impenetrably Efficient. In M. Cruz-Cunha, V. Carvalho & P. Tavares (Eds.) Business, Technological and Social Dimensions of Computer Games: Multidisciplinary Developments (pp. 252–270). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. View Abstract
Sharritt, M. J. & Suthers, D.D. (2011). Game-Based Representations as Cues for Collaboration and Learning. In R. E. Ferdig (Ed.) Discoveries in Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations: New Interdisciplinary Applications (pp. 163–188). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. View Chapter (PDF)
Sharritt, M. J. & Suthers, D.D. (2011). Levels of failure and learning in games. International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 3(4), pp. 55–71. View Abstract