1 University of Rijeka, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (CROATIA)
2 Instituto Tecnológico de Castilla y León (ITCL) (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Page: 4440 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.1114
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Serious games refer to game-based activities designed for purposes beyond pure entertainment (Backlund & Hendrix, 2013). They are in general more effective than conventional instruction methods (Wouters et al., 2013) and can have positive effect on learning (Backlund & Hendrix, 2013). Games provide engaging activities which are stimulating, generate emotions, require complex information processing, provide challenges and can support learning, skill acquisition, attitude and behaviour change (Boyle et al., 2011). In creating video games principles explicated by behavioural psychologists have been applied to prompt and retain player engagement. The basic idea is that through manipulating the environment, players’ behaviour could be changed in order to achieve desired goal. ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis), also referred to as behaviour modification, is the application of principles of behaviourism, primarily principles of operant conditioning (reinforcement and punishment), in order to modify behaviour as part of an educational or treatment process.

Within the eConfidence project Nº732420, funded by EU’s Horizon 2020, through collaboration of experts in different fields (game designers, psychologists, pedagogues) two serious games focused on safe use of internet and bullying prevention have been developed. The effectiveness of designed games will be tested on a sample of early adolescents from 10 European schools. In designing games elements both ABA and other psychological principles of motivation have been considered. Motivation principles can be reflected in different game characteristics (such as fantasy, goals, sensory stimuli, challenge, mystery, and control; Garris, Ahlers, & Driskell, 2002) and game design elements (such as points, badges, leaderboards, performance graph, meaningful stories, avatars, and teammates; Sailer et al., 2017).

In this paper we will present examples and explanations of ABA principles application, as well as application of motivational principles in design of bullying prevention game named School of Empathy, to which Intervention Mapping Protocol (IMP, Bartholomew et al., 2011) was applied.

The motivational principles were respected by embedding the game in a narrative context with fantasy element (time travel). In order for player to feel empathy for the victim and to experience negative consequences of bullying behaviour, as well as to learn adequate prosocial and/or assertive behaviours, the game provides the opportunity to experience three different roles in bullying situations: victim, bystander and bully. The player could choose his/her own avatar for each role and progresses through the game by completing different missions in each role. The player needs to decide how to react in different bullying situations by choosing between adaptive/prosocial behaviour, maladaptive/aggressive or passive reactions. ABA principles were applied by reinforcing adaptive and punishing maladaptive reactions. Reinforcement referred to getting points and increasing strength, courage and self-esteem in the victim role, and self-control and self-esteem in the bully role. Punishment referred to losing points and decreasing of above mentioned indicators. In the bystander role, the player has to detect bullying situations and protect the victim which leads to increase in points and levelling up. The obstacles and challenges concerning application of psychological principles in the design of the game will be discussed.
Serious game, bullying, applied behaviour analysis, motivation.