Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Exercising Learner
Control & Autonomy
tive attitudes toward school, and critical thinking.
Cooperative learning and cooperative group work
have also been associated with lower levels of
bullying, an increased ability to tolerate different
perspectives on the same issue, and increased
levels of assertive problem solving skills.
Learning through collaboration is not some-
thing that simply takes place whenever learners
come together, and collaborative learning com-
bines individual and social processes (Hämäläinen,
et al, 2006). In a collaborative learning process, a
group of people construct a new understanding of
the content they work on. Therefore, collaborative
learning can be seen as a process of meaningful
Game-like learning environments can provide
students opportunities to develop collaboration
skills, and also help them to learn new concepts
and synthesize new information (Colella, 2000).
Learning in a group provides many opportunities
to develop ideas, consolidate concepts and learn
about social interaction (Robertson & Howells,
2008). The main idea of collaborative learning is
that collaborative knowledge construction, coor-
dination of different perspectives, commitment to
joint goals, and shared evaluation of group activi-
ties enable a group to create something that goes
beyond what any one individual could achieve
alone (as cited in Hämäläinen, et al, 2006).
A good computer game should foster col-
laboration among learners, and one central ele-
ment for collaborative learning would be that the
interaction enables multi-players to communicate
and collaborate in the game sessions. Since the
group communication improves group learning
and performance, communication technology
will be required to allow group members to com-
municate more easily, and help group members
to generate more alternatives with more learning.
As a result, computer-mediated communication
will be a very critical tool if computer games are
to enhance group performance and individual
participant learning.
Learner control and autonomy is an important ele-
ment to be considered when integrating computer
games into classrooms. Doherty (1998) defines
learner control as “the degree to which individu-
als control the path, pace, and/or contingencies
of instruction” (¶ 3). Black, McCormick, James,
and Pedder (2006) discuss that learner autonomy
is highly important because ''it implies that the
learner can not only give meaning to the learning,
but that she can also create new learning tools''
(p. 129).
One difference between game-based learning
and traditional training methods is the role of the
learner- whether the learner is put in a passive
role. In game-based learning, the learner can be
an active participant, who can control the path and
pace of instruction. Lepper (1985) indicates that
learner control may increase feelings of compe-
tence, self-determination, and intrinsic interest.
Kinzie (1990) indicates that “exercising control
over one's learning can be in itself a valuable
educational experience” (p. 6). Allowing the users
free access to information may meet the needs of
the learner and also positively impact attitudes
about using the medium, or allowing the students
to follow a specified path of information, choosing
to revisit the information or to proceed onto the
next step (Lawless & Brown, 1997).
While some learner control can motivate
students, too much can be confusing (as cited
in Litchfield, 1993). Hazen (1985) suggests that
the optimal degree of learner control should be
determined by learner characteristics, the nature
of the content, and the complexity of the learn-
ing task. Since some students may not be able to
make effective use of learner control, in order
to help learners make decisions over their own
learning and build effective learning strategies,
Jo (1993) provides the following recommenda-
tions for learner control to be integrated into the
design of instruction:
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