EDUCATIONAL OBJECTIVES IN VIDEO GAMES: USING THEORIES OF EDUCATIONAL SCIENCE TO INFORM INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO GAME DESIGN FOR NON-EDUCATIONAL GAMES
Context and problematique: Many well-known researchers have examined video games in order to develop new approaches to teaching (Gee, 2003; Prensky, 2006). Others have analyzed teaching methods to find new approaches to instructional video game design. These new approaches are based on established teaching methods such as the use of learning types, engagement, the presence of feedback or the impact learners’ behavior (Becker, 2007; van Staalduinin and de Freitas, 2011). Through our work, we aim to supplement the findings of Becker, van Staalduinin, de Freitas and other researchers sharing similar goals. We will establish a model to help video game designers with little or no pedagogy training plan the instructional design for their games, whether they are educational games or not. This model will propose an operationalized method to teach the mechanics and dynamics of a video game through the selection and structure of appropriate educational objectives (Bloom, 1956; Simpson, 1972; Krathwohl, et al., 1973; Anderson et al., 2001). The first step to build this model, however, is to understand how educational objectives are currently used, albeit involuntarily, and structured in video games, especially in non-educational games.
Objectives: The study aims to 1) identify educational objectives used in non-educational video games, 2) discuss the impacts of these objectives on the learning of the mechanics and dynamics in selected video games, and 3) discuss the impacts of the order that the identified objectives are presented.
Methodology: Thirty (30) mechanics and dynamics from ten (10) non-educational video games were selected. The criterion for inclusion was that the mechanics and dynamics represented the highest level in each domain of the taxonomy of educational objectives. We then identified and created an inventory of other educational objectives that were presented in the game prior to the introduction of our selected mechanic or dynamic. Finally, we analyzed the impact of the identified educational objectives and the structure in which they were presented on the player’s ability to learn the mechanics and dynamics. The reliability of the inventory and analysis was verified by intercoder agreement (Tinsley & Weiss, 1975, 2000; Lombard et al, 2002).
Results and implications: Links between educational objectives of the same or different domains were identified. Results will enable us to propose a taxonomy of educational objectives for video games that can be used by designers to better identify and create structures of educational objectives in their games. These results are also a new step towards the creation of a model to help video game designers plan efficient instructional designs using teaching methods (inventoried by Godin, 2011) better adapted to each type of educational objective.