Motivated Learning Through Production-Oriented Game Development

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The concept of game-oriented learning, when using educational or commercial games in the classroom, has been proven to have many possibilities for supporting the motivation to learn and ensuring better learning outcomes (Sitzmann, 2011; Crocco et al., 2016). There might also be a great potential in using game development as a motivator in several areas (Star et al., 2017). The skills and efforts needed to produce even simple games have, for decades, been a barrier for many educators. However, in the last few years, new and simpler development tools and supporting software have made it significantly easier to build amazing artefacts and interactions (e.g. Game Engines such as Unity 3D (Unity, 2017)), as also stated in Chapter xx (Weitze, 2018). Recent developments in media hardware, such as virtual and augmented reality devices, wearables, tablets and smartphones, have additionally created rapid growth in possibilities, impacts and future careers for those who learn to master the development of games and other interactive media solutions. Software development jobs alone are projected to grow by 24% in the U.S. from 2016 to 2026 (US Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2017), while Europe is facing an ICT employee shortage, exemplified by the fact that 41% of all companies that tried to hire an ICT employee in 2015 had trouble finding a suitable candidate (Eurostat, 2016). Many young people are aware of this trend, but many more need to have technical competence. Based on this notion, we began to study how we could motivate students further and encourage their interests in gaining ICT competence. This chapter thus addresses the following question: what kind of learning environment supports ICT students’ engagement, interest and learning? When students work with game development, they often end up in activities that are very similar or even identical to those done by highly paid professionals in the industry. Setting up a framework where education can simulate the real production of meaningful artefacts with a purpose allows for educating and investigating a series of important areas, which are often very hard to fabricate in an educational environment. The following will thus explore and compare the approaches of these design-based experiments, which the authors conducted through game production activities at Aalborg University in the fall semesters of 2014, 2015 and 2016, in order to investigate if the format works with different procedures and students.This chapter is based on earlier work on game fabrication in an educational context (Schoenau-Fog et al., 2015), and the current study focuses on the investigation of results from the 2014 and 2016 experiments, to investigate whether the initial results could be confirmed. In this chapter, we thus describe the production process during purposive game production (PGP) as well examine students’ learning and motivational processes while working in a production-oriented environment to develop purposive games. Furthermore, we shall investigate, compare and analyse the learning outcomes and motivational factors present during the project process, before we conclude with an updated best practice framework for running purposive game production when planning game-oriented learning activities within problem-based production-oriented project work (PPP). The results and experiences show that the PPP concept can be applied not only in our Medialogy curriculum but also in Humanistic and Engineering studies as well as in other educational curricula (Reng & Busk Kofoed, 2016; Weitze, 2018).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGames and Education : Designs in and for Learning
Number of pages22
Place of PublicationLeiden, The Netherlands
PublisherBrill | Sense
Publication dateNov 2018
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-38882-6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
SeriesGaming Ecologies and Pedagogies Series


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