Games for Learning and Assessment


Games for Learning and Assessment



There is an ever-increasing interest in the academic community to explore the use of games as important learning and assessment tools. In fact, the use of simulations and digital games in learning and assessment is expected to increase over the next several years with 97% of US teens currently playing some type of digital game on a regular basis (McClarty et al., 2012). There is also growing recognition of the applicability of games for learning as the next generation of jobs will be characterized by increased technology use, extensive problem solving, and complex communication (Levy & Murnane, 2004).

While there is substantial theoretical support for the benefits of digital games in learning and education, the empirical support is mixed. Despite these divergent findings, a commonality among educators and researchers, is that effective games include sound instructional design and pedagogical strategies to appropriately guide students in their learning process (McClarty et al., 2012; Tobias, Fletcher, & Wind, 2014). Among these features include mechanics that engage learners and encourage them to persist, instruction that is individualized and provides an optimal level of challenge, and guidance and immediate feedback (Tobias, Fletcher & Wind, 2014).

Our presentation will delineate and demonstrate how educational games we have developed to teach Kindergarten through 3rd grade students complex physics, problem-solving and SEL skills, as part of a DARPA-funded project, incorporate key aspects of pedagogical design, thereby contributing to instructional effectiveness and student performance. As part of our presentation, we will address three main areas related to game design and effectiveness: (1) mechanics for effective pedagogy and instruction, (2) strategies for effective in-game assessments, and (3) student outcomes from gameplay sessions. Our findings will be based on usability and empirical research.




Technical Level