Conceptual Change During a Serious Game

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In our research, we used two different versions of a serious game to realize conceptual change regarding classical Newtonian mechanics. We propose the Serious Gaming Lemniscate Model (SGLM). It states that in an educational game, a player is either in a gaming state, intuitively acting on the feedback in the game, or in a learning state, rationally reflecting on the gaming experience. To test our model, we moved the student from the gaming state to the learning state. Next, we investigated whether this shift was effective in changing the student’s concepts. We did so by suddenly increasing the complexity of the game between consecutive levels, generating authentic learning questions. We compared the learning gain of students who are forced out of the game state to students who played the game through without the sudden increases in difficulty. Both strategies were benchmarked against a control group where no game was used. We developed a physics game to challenge the conceptual knowledge of third-grade secondary school students regarding Newtonian mechanics. We found that students who played the game as part of the physics classes experienced an increase in perceptual knowledge.

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