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What's Missing: The Role of Instructional Design in Children's Games-Based Learning

Chapter in book
Authors L. Benton
A. Vasalou
Wolmet Barendregt
Leona Bunting
A. Revesz
Machinery Assoc Comp
Published in Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
ISBN 978-1-4503-5970-2
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords Learning games, instructional design, children, reading, serious games, digital games, agreement
Subject categories


Learning games that address targeted curriculum areas are widely used in schools. Within games, productive learning episodes can result from breakdowns when followed by a breakthrough, yet their role in children's learning has not been investigated. This paper examines the role of game and instructional design during and after breakdowns. We observed 26 young children playing several popular learning games and conducted a moment-by-moment analysis of breakdown episodes. Our findings show children achieve productive breakthroughs independently less than half of the time. In particular, breakdowns caused by game actions are difficult for children to overcome independently and prevent engagement with the domain skills. Importantly, we identify specific instructional game components and their role in fostering strategies that result in successful breakthroughs. We conclude with intrinsic and extrinsic instructional design implications for both game designers and primary teachers to better enable children's games-based learning.

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