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Wednesday, June 11 • 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Failure, Identification, & Intentionality

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Discussant: Sasha Barab

Making people fail: Failing to learn through games and making

Breanne Litts, Dennis Ramirez
In traditional formal learning environments, students typically have two options: succeed or fail. Though there may be real-world merit to this type high-stakes system, we suggest that there is more to learning than a simple dichotomous outcome. In this paper, we leverage two areas of educational reform, games and making, to demonstrate a need to broaden our definition of failure and reconceptualize it as an integral part of the learning process. Rather than stigmatizing failure as a detrimental endpoint to learning, we discuss how these domains (games and making) expect and design for failure as part of the mastery process. We offer implications for learning and assessment with the hope of sparking a conversation among policymakers, educators, and designers of learning environments. 

The Effects of Avatar-based Customization on Player Identification in Extended MMO Gameplay
Selen Turkay, Charles Kinzer
Games allow players to perceive themselves in alternate ways in imagined worlds. Player identification is one of the outcomes of gameplay experiences in these worlds and has been shown to affect enjoyment and reduce self-discrepancy. Avatar-based customization has potential to impact player identification by shaping the relationship between the player and the character. This mixed method study aims to fill the gap in the identification literature by examining the effects of avatar-based customization on players’ identification with their characters in a massively multiplayer online game, Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO). Participants (N = 66) played LotRO either in customization or in no-customization groups for about ten hours in four sessions over two weeks in a controlled lab setting. Data were collected through interviews and surveys. Results showed both time and customization positively impacted players’ identification with their avatars. Self-Determination Theory is used to interpret results.

Project TECHNOLOGIA: A Game-Based Approach to Understanding Situated Intentionality
Stephen Slota, Michael Young
By better understanding the way game mechanics influence student learning and interaction, the educational community may begin to isolate the useful elements of game-based coursework that move beyond so-called ‘content gamification’. However, approaching that goal requires greater attention paid to the deeply situated question: “What is the interaction between player intentionality, an instructionally-relevant game, and student outcomes?” To illuminate future directions for game-based learning theory and practice, the authors utilized mixed methods data collection to analyze the role of individual intentions in a dual text-based alternate reality/roleplaying game, Project TECHNOLOGIA. Preliminary findings suggest that well-guided player action may be the biggest contributor to emergent student intentions for learning in an ARG/RPG environment, and game narrative may be at least as important to the long-term fidelity of a game-based learning program as the game’s other mechanics.

avatar for Sasha Barab

Sasha Barab

Tempe, Arizona, USA, Arizona State University
My work involves the seamless integration of bounded games (where players can fail safely, receive embedded assessment, and have consequentiality in the confines of a fictional world) and larger, flexible 'meta-game' structures and affinity spaces that foster user-driven extensions... Read More →

avatar for Breanne Litts

Breanne Litts

Doctoral Candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison
avatar for Dennis Ramirez

Dennis Ramirez

Technical Director, USC IMGD, Videogame Researcher
avatar for Stephen Slota

Stephen Slota

Co-Founder, The Pericles Group, LLC
Steve (@steveslota) is an instructional design specialist and game design scientist at the University of Connecticut Health Center and a co-founder of The Pericles Group, LLC. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology: Cognition, Instruction, & Learning Technologies and has worked... Read More →
avatar for Selen Turkay

Selen Turkay

Harvard University
avatar for Michael Young

Michael Young

Profesor, University of Connecticut
A situated cognitive view of learning on-the-fly in video game environments, through rich narratives, assessed through card play and understood as social participation, with an ecological psychology flare.

Wednesday June 11, 2014 12:00pm - 1:00pm CDT
Old Madison

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