About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5117-5128
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain

HOW DOES PREDICTION ERROR IMPACT ON LEARNING? THE CASE OF COMPUTER GAMES

S. Demetriou

University of Bristol (UNITED KINGDOM)
Children seem to alter their stance towards school and school-type tasks as they go through primary and secondary school. Within this progression, motivation towards academic achievement can decrease, contrasting with children’s increased commitment to their social relationships and also, the use of computers for socialising and gaming. Both within social domains and within gaming practices, the levels of uncertainty that are encountered are greater than in many learning tasks (i.e. school based learning is more predictable in its trajectories) and this may influence the motivation for children to engage and develop their knowledge in these areas. There is neuroscientific evidence for uncertainty enhancing the approach motivation provided by reward, and such evidence also suggests approach motivation can be considered as a function of prediction error – the difference between the reward value and its expected value.

Research of both educational and psychological nature regarding effective learning especially in formal settings, suggests that elements of uncertainty act as motivators for learning. However, purely educational research has rarely focused itself specifically on the motivational role of uncertainty. Uncertainty has been frequently associated though with better well-researched concepts such as cognitive conflict which is often “associated with and evoked by” Dewey’s (1933) “perplexity, confusion and doubt” (Zaslavsky, 2005).

One study will be presented and discussed here. It is a classroom based study with 50 primary school children (aged 10-12). The investigations focused on positive reward prediction error and its relationship to successful or unsuccessful learning in the specific computer game context. An educational competitive computer game especially designed for the purposes of this study was employed.

In this study it was found that, on average, PE for successful learning (M = 35.70, SE = .88) was significantly higher than PE for unsuccessful learning (M = 33.65, SE = 1.00), with an effect of medium size [t(49) = 2.26, 1-tailed: p < .025, r = .31], suggesting that PE is linked to successful learning. This is an interesting finding due to its implications for education since it allows predictions as to when learning is most likely due to take place within such computer gaming environments.

Even though no causal link has been determined, the results here are supportive of such theories especially when viewed in conjunction with other literature in the area. What was found here appears to compliment other findings that suggest a neural mechanism through which dopamine release, due to the uncertain reward, is thought to impact on memory and factual learning. The results of this study will be thoroughly discussed from a neuroeducational perspective with reference to current concepts around cognition.
@InProceedings{DEMETRIOU2012HOW,
author = {Demetriou, S.},
title = {HOW DOES PREDICTION ERROR IMPACT ON LEARNING? THE CASE OF COMPUTER GAMES},
series = {4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN12 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-695-3491-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {5117-5128}}
TY - CONF
AU - S. Demetriou
TI - HOW DOES PREDICTION ERROR IMPACT ON LEARNING? THE CASE OF COMPUTER GAMES
SN - 978-84-695-3491-5/2340-1117
PY - 2012
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2012
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN12 Proceedings
SP - 5117
EP - 5128
ER -
S. Demetriou (2012) HOW DOES PREDICTION ERROR IMPACT ON LEARNING? THE CASE OF COMPUTER GAMES, EDULEARN12 Proceedings, pp. 5117-5128.
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