Centres And GroupsGame Based Learning

Game Based Learning

The Game-Based Learning (GBL) research group specialises in the design, deployment and evaluation of GBL solutions in primary, secondary and third-level education.

The GBL research group is multidisciplinary, and includes members from different backgrounds (e.g., science, education and arts), all with an interest in furthering the understanding of how video games can improve both motivation and learning outcomes.

Regular GBL events are organised between group members and other researchers. These include presentations from members, workshops, and national and international conferences.

Overall, the goals of the group are to:

  • Encourage and support innovative and effective teaching practices through GBL

  • Design and deploy GBL solutions

  • Share best practices with national and overseas universities

  • Disseminate research findings on GBL.

Enquiries:

Dr. Patrick Felicia
Waterford Institute of Technology
Cork Road
Waterford Ireland

Phone: +353 51 302733

Email: [email protected]


GBL Fulltime Faculty Members

  • Dr. Patrick Felicia, MSc (2003), PhD (2009)

  • Mr. Greg Fewer, BA (1989) MA (1993)

  • Mr. David Kane

  • Mr. Ted Lynch

  • Mr. Brendan Lyng , BBS (1993), Grad Dip (1994), BSc (1998), Msc (2009), MA (2010)

  • Mr. Kevin O'Hanlon, MA (2010)

  • Ms Catherine Madden RGN, BNS, MSc (2003)

  • Ms Helen Murphy

  • Mr. Andres Romera BA (1990), MA (2004)

GBL Research Students

  • Mr. Kefei Ou, BSc

  • Mr. Cronin O'Mahoney, MSc

IGBL Symposium 2012 - Waterford Institute of Technology will host the second Irish symposium on Game-Based Learning (GBL) on Thursday 7th June and Friday 8th June 2012. Please click on the link for further information.


IGBL Symposium 2011 - Waterford Institute of Technology hosted the firstIrish  symposium on Game-Based Learning on 19th May 2011.  Based on the feedback received so far, I believe iGBL2011 was a success and that it has managed to connect like-minded people interested in the benefits of GBL.  The round-table was definitely interesting and productive;it has provided very valuable insights and paths for a wider adoption of GBL in Ireland. A summary of the ideas brought forward during the round-table will be published shortly, and we can then use this information and plan how we could reach more teachers, lecturers, policy-makers, and develop the IGBL community.

A LinkedIn group entitled "Game-Based Learning Ireland" has been created to act as a forum for discussions and ideas on GBL in Ireland. Please feel free to join this group.

Many thanks for taking part in iGBL2011. 

Photographs taken at the conference are available here.

Game Based Learning for Private Enterprise

Geoff Beggs, Front Square Solution Limited

The presenter will discuss the role of game based learning within private companies both in Ireland and abroad. He will begin with a brief overview of the serious games market and where private companies fit into this mix. Outside of primary, secondary and third-level education, there are wide ranging opportunities for game based learning in areas such as defence, healthcare and private enterprise. He will conclude this section by demonstrating how Ireland is in a strong position to capitalise on the growth of the serious games market which is estimated to be worth €10billion by 2015. There is a group of gaming companies getting together in Dublin to begin lobbying the government for tax credit towards game research and development. Front Square will represent the serious games side of this group.

The presenter’s area of expertise is the teaching of process and productivity improvement and he will demonstrate why games are a very effective method for doing this. He will discuss various challenges that his business overcame in terms of using and deploying a game within a private enterprise. Linked to this are various aspects of motivation and engagement for the learner i.e. how to engage initially and keep engaged over time.

 

Highlighting the value of Game-Based Learning to Institutions: a possible software framework

Robert Cleary, Griffith College Dublin

This presentation proposes to highlight how well-received educational theories and research can promote and inform the use of Game Based Learning (GBL) in Higher Educational, and motivate educators to embrace this technology. The authors will take an instructional design perspective of GBL highlighting its potential to catch misconceptions when they occur in the learners mind, and propose how GBL can be used to rectify these same misconceptions accordingly.

 

Smart games: using applied neuroscience to enhance mental functioning in clinical and healthy populations

David Delany, Trinity College Dublin

Neurosynergy Games is an Irish neurotech software company formed by two neuroscientists to commercialise a scientifically innovative approach to clinical and recreational brain training with the potential to dramatically outperform existing psychotherapeutic and pharmaceutical treatments for mental health conditions such schizophrenia, ADHD, depression, and autism. The software-based clinical approach has a number of advantages compared to conventional therapeutic and pharmaceutical interventions. Most notably, it's low cost, readily distributable, has no side-effects, and, with sufficient training, offers patients the possibility of attaining very high levels of intellectual and emotional functioning. We have initiated an extensive multi-centre academic research programme to investigate the efficacy of novel computerised brain training interventions in a range of clinical and non-clinical psychological domains. We will present results obtained to date, including significant gains in mental functioning in children with high functioning autism and patients with traumatic brain injury. We will also describe the rationale and progress of our ongoing research; including experimental interventions where we hope to enhance intellectual and academic functioning in both children with dyslexia and gifted children, characterise and ameliorate cognitive decline in senior adults, and improve mental resilience in sports people.

  Click here to download a pdf of the presentation

Assessing how Game-Based Learning is perceived in Irish education

Patrick Felicia, Waterford Institute of Technology

Despite a solid body of evidence on the effectiveness of Game-Based Learning, it is disappointing to see that very few schools and universities have embraced this medium in Ireland. Recent research shows that, aside from the technological and educational qualities of GBL systems, educators are essential to a wider acceptance and use of video games. This presentation will present results from a survey conducted in Irish universities and schools to determine how Game-Based Learning is perceived by teachers and lecturers. The survey, which was sent to Irish teachers and lecturers, assessed their teaching and gaming experience (e.g., use of ICT or gaming propensity), how they believe video games can help teaching and learning, whether they used video games in their teaching, and the factors that could either help or prevent the inclusion of video games in the classroom. The results show interesting trends, notably that, while games seem to be acknowledged for their educational and motivational potential, more information needs to be provided to instructors in terms of empirical evidence and best practice. The author will analyse the results of this survey and present possible implications for the Irish educational system.

Creating realism and immersion for Maritime City - a game used to train Health Professionals

Ryan Flynn, University of Greenwich

Maritime City is an innovative and detailed virtual environment creating using game technologies, with the goal of creating a safe but realistic setting for healthcare professionals to use for teaching and learning. Currently, it has two scenarios, both based around a Baby P style case of child abuse and neglect. The player is a social worker who has been sent to investigate what begins as a small disturbance issue that rapidly becomes something more serious.

As part of the development process the team made sure to try and incorporate realistic details and flourishes to both the environment and the gameplay. These will be identified, contextualised and discussed as part of the talk to help communicate the design process and decisions made as the game was developed. However, on testing the game (with both healthcare professionals in the Social Work and related fields as well as students studying for those fields), it has become apparent that there are a number of areas that can “make-or-break” a game of this type, such as the complexity and richness of sound design, textures and materials, realism of environment and player interactivity. It is especially important to mirror minor issues in real life that may be missed by the design and development team, and the purpose of this talk is to put forward a methodology for identifying and dealing with this type of issue, which includes the idea of not only having a specialist on hand to advise on design (which would be a standard measure in a game of this type) but to also look further afield for how that specialist knowledge could be used. This will identify wider issues and contexts for people in the game based learning field and help those interested in GBL to identify factors that could have an effect for people using and creating this type of product.

  Click here to download a pdf of the presentation

 

The Mutation Game

Eoin Gill, WIT

The Mutation Game is a board game designed to teach mutation and evolution to second-level students. It has proven to be an effective teaching tool, conveying the concepts of gene mutation, evolution and natural sel-ection within a short playing period. It also introduces biological definitions in a fun participative environment.  The game was developed by a partnership of Genie, Cels and Calmast as part of 2Ways an EU FP7 project to communicate EU funded biological sciences research. The game consists of a board with a circuit, a die, and event and mutation cards. The board represents an alien planet and each participant is an alien species. The participants draw out their aliens on specially prepared sheets. As the participants move around the board their species undergo mutations and their populations increase and decrease.

The game proceeds by chance alone and there are no strategies and no destination. This is a powerful illustration of the chance nature of gene mutation and natural sel-ection.  The game has been played with transition year and senior cycle biology students in Ireland and the equivalent in England, the Netherlands and Belgium.  The game was evaluated by observation at sessions and evaluation forms from the participants and their teachers. This evaluation of the game showed that it was enjoyed greatly by this age cohort at different venues and also that the understanding of the key concepts was realised. The game was also evaluated by an expert international jury alongside 16 other leading life-sciences communication projects from across Europe at the 2Ways final in Brussels in December 2010 and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize. This paper will outline the development of the game and describe the game itself, present the evaluation findings and discuss the benefits and potential of board games in education.

The Mutation Game is a board game designed to teach mutation and evolution to second-level students. It has proven to be an effective teaching tool, conveying the concepts of gene mutation, evolution and natural sel-ection within a short playing period. It also introduces biological definitions in a fun participative environment.  The game was developed by a partnership of Genie, Cels and Calmast as part of 2Ways an EU FP7 project to communicate EU funded biological sciences research. The game consists of a board with a circuit, a die, and event and mutation cards. The board represents an alien planet and each participant is an alien species. The participants draw out their aliens on specially prepared sheets. As the participants move around the board their species undergo mutations and their populations increase and decrease.

The game proceeds by chance alone and there are no strategies and no destination. This is a powerful illustration of the chance nature of gene mutation and natural sel-ection.  The game has been played with transition year and senior cycle biology students in Ireland and the equivalent in England, the Netherlands and Belgium.  The game was evaluated by observation at sessions and evaluation forms from the participants and their teachers. This evaluation of the game showed that it was enjoyed greatly by this age cohort at different venues and also that the understanding of the key concepts was realised. The game was also evaluated by an expert international jury alongside 16 other leading life-sciences communication projects from across Europe at the 2Ways final in Brussels in December 2010 and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize. This paper will outline the development of the game and describe the game itself, present the evaluation findings and discuss the benefits and potential of board games in education.

Use of iPod And 3D Animation for Learning in Physical Education

Michael McMahon,WIT

The presentation will investigate the impact of Mobile Multimedia Learning, using appropriate digital content (3D Animation-Audio-Text) designed on the principles of Mayers Multimedia Learning Approach (1991), in a specific education domain (Physical Education). In particular the learning of basketball plays, situational tactical tasks set by a coach , which in principle is a problem-based learning environment. The arrival of the twenty-first century has brought with it a new generation of young people who are no longer interested in being educated by traditional teaching methods. We live in an era where the net generation are searching to become part of the learning process by interactively getting involved with multimedia, simulation games, individual selfpaced learning modules, problem solving computer games, interactive TV, on-line library, bulletin boards, search engines and social networking. In the context of Game Based Learning , the presentation will address the impact on Learning through the use of Interactive 3D Animation and Multimedia content, as delivered using Apples iPod and iTunes services. This will be accomplished by discussing the advantages offered by 3D Animation and Multimedia content for learning and by examining in detail Mayers’ theory of Multimedia Learning as applied to a specific case study. The presentation will review the results of this case study. The case study provided sel-ected basketball Coaches and Players with a number of Interactive Multimedia Animations to aid learning of team plays. The Animations were designed using Mayer’s (1991) Multimedia Learning Theory. Other relevant theories are also addressed. The development and design implications for the use of digital media in a contemporary classroom and the function of the tool in reality to facilitate learning in accordance with traditional domain oriented learning approaches.

Learner Style Inference for Game Based Learning Systems

Tracey Mehigan, UCC & Ian Pitt, UCC

Adaptive systems are fast emerging within eLearning. These systems aim to tailor the delivery of learning material to the individual, thus allowing for improved learning-outcomes. The analysis of learning-style is usually based on an individual student’s result from pre-assigned learner-style questionnaires used to classify the student on a number of scales dependent on how they process and receive information. Learning style and personality analysis models currently in use for these purposes include the Myer-Briggs Model (MBTI), the Big Five Model, and the Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model (FSLSM).  In recent years, a number of studies have investigated the possibility of determining an individual's learning-style directly from their interaction with a system. For example, Spada et al (2008) found a high degree of correlation between the way in which an individual uses a mouse and their learning style (as determined using questionnaires). They were able to predict scores on the Global/Sequential dimension of the FSLSM with a high level of confidence based on measurements of mouse acceleration. Other parameters, such as use of scrolling or time spent per page, have also been used to predict scores on the Global/Sequential dimension of the FSLSM.  Automatic learner style detection could play a significant role in the advancement of educational gaming through the provision of a personalised learning environment for each student.  However whilst the approach of Spada et al (2008) offers great potential, it cannot be employed on systems which do not use a mouse.  Accelerometer technology, now standard in high end mobile devices such as the iPhone, provides an opportunity to move this research toward mobile gaming environments, with the potential to track user learner-styles through avatar movement from accelerometer based interaction.  The provision of adaptive systems based on the Felder-Silverman model could potentially offer students increased motivation to learn through personalised content presentation. Felder-Silverman provides matching teaching styles to each of their learning styles and therefore content can be specifically tailored to the needs of each individual learner.  The ability to infer learner style through user interaction with mobile devices facilitates the provision of personalised learning content for situated and blended learning in ubiquitous environments. This talk will present the results of recent work on the use of accelerometer data from mobile devices as a means to locate users on both the global/sequential and visual /verbal dimension of the FSLSM. Consideration will also be given to the potential for using these techniques to predict individual learner-styles in game based learning environments and the potential benefits of user specific content delivery for Irish Learners.

  Click here to download a pdf of the presentation

What can games design give to instructional design? A case (or two) in point

Alex Moseley, University of Leicester

Games-based approaches, particularly those utilising familiar and positive elements, can be highly effective in quickly setting authentic contexts in which learning can occur. By modelling the situations, resources, skills and events of a particular context within a game, participants quickly start - through a form of proximal development - to think and act in the manner of an expert within that context, learning through their actions and decisions. This approach is effective both with students on academic courses, and with staff involved in the design or delivery of education. To illustrate this breadth of usefulness, two case studies will be described: one utilising a board game to teach faculty staff about course design issues; and the other to introduce research and communal skills to first year undergraduate students using a problem-based approach with an underlying games-based structure. Both case studies have seen impressive results; as will be shown in quantitative and qualitative data gathered.The session will open with a short hands-on activity inviting participants to work in groups to solve a particular problem; this will serve to illustrate the key principles in the main presentation. A brief review of the theoretical base surrounding contextual frameworks will lead to the author’s work on the use of games to create authentic contexts. This work will be evidenced by two case studies, drawn from games-based approaches the author has designed and implemented at the University of Leicester: The Great History Conundrum, a games-based approach to the delivery of research skills in a Historical Studies first year undergraduate module; and a Course Design Boardgame, designed and prototyped with instructional design courses at the author’s institution. The session will close with practical advice on utilising games within the participants’ own areas of work.

Click here to view the presentation in Prezi

 

Poetic Games – Using technology to pluck at your heart strings

Jeneen Naji, NUI Maynooth

The Internet contains many examples of interactive poetry or ePoetry (electronic poetry). That is poems that a player must interactively explore, most usually they are made in Flash authoring software but there exist other forms as well such as hypertext and video. These examples of new poetry allow the player to explore a poem interactively as you would a game. Each poem allows the player freedom to explore the poetic environment to such an extent that the players will find their own way through the interactive poetic environment in a non-linear fashion. The result is an ex periential literary experience whereby the players explore the poetic environment towards the end goal of constructing their own meaning. This paper uses Jenny Weight’s technosocial framework, which outlines three commonly identified features of electronic literature. These are: the database, the algorithm and the interface. I use this framework to look at the recent advent of Interactive Poetry online and the resulting experience for the player. This new poetry aims to provide an interactive artistic experience whereby the players explore the poetic environment. In particular I will look at the impact that interactivity and the digital environment have on the traditional characteristics of poetry and the poetic experience. The effectiveness of poetry whether electronic or analogue relies on the emotional impact or connection it has with the reader or player, therefore looking and analysing these ePoems allow us to more accurately comprehend how best to use the electronic technologies to evoke specific desired reactions and emotions. The potential applications of such knowledge are clear in relation to areas such interactive game-based learning. The logic being that the dimensions at play in making an effective ePoem could similarly be used to create effective interactive learning experiences for the contemporary digital realm. It is clear that eTechnologies (electronic technologies) can and will continue to change and develop at a rapid pace but the use of technology to create new learning or literary experiences is something than we can and will become more expert in. This paper provides an analysis of ePoetry examples in an effort towards expanding our knowledge and mastery of the digital realm. We have learnt to walk and even run in cyberspace, but we have not always planned our routes and often found ourselves somewhere other than our intended destination. Now however we are more experienced travelers in the digital landscape so based on past experience let us calmly and thoughtfully chart our route to our desired destinations such as that of targeted learning or literary experiences in the electronic realm.

Conference Proceedings 2010

Felicia, P. (2010). Assessing players’ motivation and learning strategies based on their personality. Proceedings of the ECGBL 2010 conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 21-22 October 2010.

Lyng, B. & Lowry-O’Neill, C. (2010) ‘Group Projects in the Information Technology Curriculum: Towards Best Practice’, NAIRTL/LIN Conference on Flexible Learning. National College of Surgeons, Dublin, 6-7 October, 2010.

Lyng, B. (2010) ‘Formative Feedback Using Digital Audio Technology’, NAIRTL/LIN Conference on Flexible Learning. National College of Surgeons, Dublin, 6-7 October, 2010.

Lyng, R. (2010) ‘Factors Affecting V.L.E. Adoption Among Staff in an Irish Third Level Institute’,NAIRTL/LIN Conference on Flexible Learning, National College of Surgeons, Dublin, 6-7 October, 201

Conferences & Symposia 2010

Felicia, P. (2010). Learning with video games, creative and effective practices [keynote], Klee conference, Darmstadt, Germany, 7th September 2010.

Felicia, P. (2010). Teaching with video games, literature review and best practices. NAIRTL conference, Dublin, Ireland, 6th October 2010.

Felicia, P. (2010). Improving GBL research, issues and challenges [keynote]. Masters class organized as part of the ECGBL conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 19th October 2010.

Books 2009

Felicia, P. (2009). Digital Games in School: A Handbook for Teachers. Brussels: European Schoolnet (ISBN 978-907820991-1).

Book Chapters 2009

Felicia, P. and Pitt, I.J. (2009). 'Profiling Users in Educational Games' in Games-Based Learning Advancements for Multi-sensory Human Computer Interfaces: Techniques and Effective Practices, T. M. Connolly (Ed.). Hershey:  IGI.

Fewer, G. (2009) ‘22:28:34 (Moscow Time), 4 October 1957. The Space Age begins: the launch of Sputnik I, Earth’s first artificial satellite’, in John Schofield (ed.), Defining Moments: Dramatic Archaeologies of the Twentieth Century [Studies in Contemporary and Historical Archaeology, vol. 5, edited by Dan Hicks and Joshua Pollard/British Archaeological Reports, International Series, vol. 2005] (Oxford: Archaeopress), pp. 105-13.

Conference Proceedings 2009

Felicia, P. (2009). Modelling players' behaviors and learning strategies in video games. Proceedings of the ECGBL 2009 conference, Graz, Austria, October 2009.