SERIOUS GAMES AS A MALLEABLE LEARNING MEDIUM: THE EFFECTS OF NARRATIVE, GAMEPLAY, AND MAKING ON STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE AND ATTITUDES

Garneli, V., Giannakos, M., & Chorianopoulos, K. (2017). Serious games as a malleable learning medium: The effects of narrative, gameplay, and making on students’ performance and attitudes. British Journal of Educational Technology48(3), 842-859. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12455

This study is intended to assess whether or not there are effects of serious game features which are narrative and making (modifying) on students’ learning outcomes and attitudes. In regards to measuring the learning outcome, an experimental method is used by dividing students into four groups consist of 20 students. The first group play a game with a narrative feature, the second group plays a game with no narrative feature, the third group play a game containing a modification feature and the fourth group act as control which learn in a conventional paper-based way. The learning outcomes of each group are measured using pre and post-test. After that, the authors conduct an interview section to analyse the impact of each treatment on students motivation and attitudes. In terms of learning outcomes, the results suggest that there are no significant differences between narrative, non-narrative, and modifying group. However, the interview results suggest that students prefer to use the game with a modification feature rather than the game with no modification feature.

Interestingly, the authors find that girls improve their math knowledge better when using traditional method than using the serious game. The authors argue that this may be because girls’ time in playing games is less than boys. This is useful to consider in my instructional design context that gender also plays determining roles in the effectiveness of serious games. Thus, there is a need to look for a game genre that can motivate both genders. I will also try to adopt the concept of modification into my serious game design as it can be motivating for students. Moreover, the findings which suggest the narrative or storyline of the serious game does not affect students’ learning performance may relate to Rooney (2012)’s article which also has a concern on storyline or narrative of serious games. In this study, the storyline is provided by text which may be less motivating. I think that the concept by Rooney (2012) may improve its impact because the storyline is built as players work on each stage by solving problem relating to the real-world context. 

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