Rania Hodhod Abstract Educational computer-based games (edugames) are
6 PROPOSED RESEARCH 1 The proposed model
As mentioned above the idea of adapting the edugame environment according to the users needs in a dynamical fashion during the playing of a game not been investigated. Therefore, we argue that tackling this issue can be achieved through our proposed research. Figure 1 shows the proposed model where the interactions between the story engine, the educational material and the user model are identified.
Figure1. The proposed model
By understanding the relationship between the educational needs and the game elements can allow development of edugames to include visualization and problem solving skills . This idea can be extended using the model presented in figure 1 to incorporate the dynamic generation of the game elements that are associated with educational goals.
The proposed model incorporates the notion of direct interaction between the story engine and the educational material; while the game engine provides feedback to the user model which in turn provides new educational goals to the engine. The task of the game engine is to generate game objects associated with specific educational task dynamically during the playing of the game. Such generation is in accordance to the information dictated from the user model and the educational material, and it was not specified by the edugame designer beforehand but it is achieved according to some generally coded association rules. The representation of such rules is an area that itself be independently researched.
The proposed model considers two important issues: the first issue is the contraction/expansion of the user knowledge over time and the second issue is the perseverance of engagement and fun during play time (or learning time). The first issue is considered important since game objects are always generated according to constantly updating user model. This means that if a contraction/improvement is noticed in the level of the player’s (student) knowledge then the appropriate object associated with the appropriate educational material will be presented or retracted. In this way the level of difficulty of the game is adjusted to the player preventing him from being frustrated by finding the game too difficult or getting bored by finding it too easy.
The second issue is also considered important due to the fact that the educational material is integrated as a part of the game story itself and the success of learning this material leads ultimately to the success completion of the game. In turn this helps in maintaining a fairly constant level of engagement with the edugame. We believe that the outcome of this research is a model that can lead to a deeper understanding of the adaptation process which then in turn leads a better design of edugames with higher educational outcomes.
6.2 Proposed design methodology
The previous subsection discussed some of the shortcomings in the field and proposed ideas to rectify them. In this section a design methodology that incorporates these ideas is presented.
This design methodology has the following characteristics: • The design must be based on a learning theory. • The educational aim must be considered within the
game design from the very beginning and in every step through the design process.
• The educational material has to be integrated with the story line and be part of the edugame environment.
• Enrich the learning opportunities for users by offering intellectual exploration through individualized user guidance and support to resolve the user’s misconceptions within the learning environment.
• Reaching the higher learning levels of Bloom’s taxonomy must be achieved as an outcome.
• Educational material, student and tutoring models should be incorporated in the game. The student model should incorporate student goals as well maintaining an idea of the student’s knowledge.
The proposed methodology gives the user/player/student the chance to be exposed to higher learning levels. While this can be achieved through the drill and practice puzzles embedded in the edugame environment, pace of game play can be reduced/increase through dynamically varying the difficulty of puzzles, reducing the number of tasks to be performed if the concept has already been mastered; de/increasing the number of interactive characters, or even simply changing the player/characters inventory . In addition, the proposed design recommends dealing with the mental state bandwidth in the student model, where the student model has to incorporate the student goals along with his educational knowledge. We believe this can also help in guiding the adaptation process so leading to better educational outcomes. Finally, a battery of hints and feedback should be designed within the edugame environment as necessary components of tutoring [27, 28].
6.3 Proposed scenario
The proposed methodology/design will be demonstrated through the implementation of an edugame to practice Prolog language programming. Given this short scenario it can be seen how the proposed model can work in an edugame environment.
Assume that the player/student is situated in the hallway of a house and is presented with a problem to solve. The system can capture the level of knowledge and the student intentions from the answer(s) he will give. The student feedback provides information about his knowledge level and how he provides his answer provides information about his intentions. For example, if the system now believes that the student executes certain rules, rule1 and rule2, in a certain order to entail the goal g. This can be added to the student model as an indicator of what the student believes and what are his intentions are during the solving this kind of problem.
Now assume that the next task presented to the player is to write a program to deduce a secret number. It is now the job of the game story engine to decide what is the next appropriate object to present to the user. A method to reason about this can be as follows: As the user is indoors, it will not be suitable to present a tree object to introduce the new task, while as the task is to deduce a secret number, an object like a safe is more suitable than a ball. Hence reasoning about the environment together with the educational material plus the user knowledge state is main task of the edugame engine. The engine also has to consider all these issues in order to present the player with the
suitable object that better serves the educational task and keeps the fun and engagement in the edugame.