1 Sofia University, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (BULGARIA)
2 Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Mathematics and Informatics (BULGARIA)
3 National Art Academy (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 1679-1688
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.1374
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
Technology-enhanced learning applies video games as research, teaching or measurement tools helping teachers to stimulate learning by experiencing novelty, curiosity and challenge in development of various skills and competences. Until present, there are proposed many educational games providing high level of learner’s engagement and contributing in great extent to the effectiveness of teaching process. However, teachers are still unable to build or customize games appropriately fitting the curriculum content. The paper presents an educational 3D maze video game introducing Bulgarian orthodox iconography. The maze game is defined declaratively as structure and learning content and, next, is generated by means of a special software platform for generation of customizable desktop video maze games for education. The platform allowing easy creation and customization of 3D video mazes is outlined in brief within the section about related works, together with a short review of specific characteristics of educational games making game-based learning more effective than traditional teaching approaches regarding students’ motivation, engagement, and learning outcomes. The same section presents also teaching methods and learning scenarios for Orthodox iconographic art study such as project-based learning and understanding-by-design, learning-by-doing, learning-by-authoring and creative thinking practices, and giving real painting tasks or project to students.

The third section of the paper provides description of educational game design of the generated and customized educational maze presenting Bulgarian orthodox iconography, with respect mainly of learning content embedded into the maze rooms and tunnels, and two additional mini-games – 3D Quiz (for assessing learning outcomes) and 3D Zoom (for motivating the player by solving problems with specific 3D visual context). It presents connectivity graph of the maze game with thematically distributed iconographical content among six related entities (maze rooms), together with learning tasks placed within the rooms and the connecting tunnels. There are provided some details about game mechanics of the maze, 3D Quiz, and 3D Zoom games aiming at higher playability and better learning outcomes.

Next section presents initial experimental results about player engagement concerning gameplay in the maze rooms and connecting tunnels, as far as in both the 3D Quiz and 3D Zoom games. Results are based on a dataset received by online administration of the Game Engagement Questionnaire, in order to provide post-game self-report about felt engagement. Data for each of the maze, 3D Quiz and 3D Zoom games are obtained by averaging the results for the item groups related to presence, absorption, flow, and immersion. They reveal higher level of immersion, followed by presence in virtual environment, flow, and absorption.

Finally, the conclusions summarize the work and outlines some ideas for further research. The game assessment reveals the need of broader user engagement and capturing for successful content perception, therefore, future steps for enhancing such educational games are needed, especially for their Web-based editions. As well, authors plan to apply obtained results in further applications related to pilgrimage tourism and cultural heritage literacy, and to integrate the games with a learning management system or social networks extending the content and interactivity features.
Video game, iconography, game-based learning, maze, engagement.