1 University of Malta (MALTA)
2 Danube-University Krems (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 2805-2808
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.0691
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Games have the potential to be powerful educational tools. By their very nature, games are designed to engage players and motivate them to achieve specific goals. When applied to teaching, learning and assessment, game design can be utilised to create engaging and effective learning experiences that can be in turn used to assess a variety of skills and knowledge.

The qualitative research underpinning this paper utilises thematic analysis to explore the views of four students and their teacher on the game design elements underpinning a mobile puzzle game called Electric Box. The game is basically a simple interactive circuit board (called grid) onto which the player has to get electrical energy from the source to the target. Different classical components (like wires and bulbs) can be dragged on or off the grid from a specialised inventory panel which includes other non-conventional items such as the Hamster in the Wheel and the Teleporter. The students and their teacher took part in a focus group to explore their underlying perceptions, the potential benefits and limitations of Electric Box as a game-based approach in the teaching, learning and assessment of basic electric circuits. The results suggest that there is a positive understanding amongst the participants on the potential of a number of game-design principles and elements, such as the bottom up well-ordered problem environment and the immediate performance feedback, vis-à-vis the pedagogical principles of scaffolding and mastery. A number of limitations, such as the lack of multiple ways of progress, adaptivity and personalisation were signalled by the teacher as potential drawbacks in adopting the game to teach the underlying scientific concepts.

Consequently, the presented research and findings suggest that game-design has the potential to play a significant role in enhancing teaching, learning and assessment practices, however this requires the need for game-design principles and elements which are based on theories of learning and assessment, together with adequate professional development for educators on how to best integrate such game-based approaches in their daily teaching endeavours. With continued research and development in the field of game-design, especially for educational purposes, it is envisaged that games and other game-informed approaches, will result in enhanced educational practices, for all involved stakeholders, particularly students and educators.
Games, feedback, personalisation, adaptivity, teaching, learning, assessment.