Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Formative evaluation provides feedback during
the program development and implementation.
Some recently developed frameworks will be
described which could support the evaluation of
educational games and help lecturers to choose
the game which best fits their curricula as well
as to implement the chosen games in everyday
education.
Naden (2007) focuses on the evaluation of
learning, considering it as a part of the evaluation
of the effectiveness of education technology. The
complete evaluation should consist of elements
including concepts of usability, user's attitude,
usability and implementation. Three methods of
assessment of learning supported by game play-
ing learning technology are discussed: survey,
in-game data collection, and the combination of
these two methods. The evaluation criteria were
that the evaluation strategy had to assess learning
accurately without burdening the user, and that
the evaluating strategy had to pass as politically
acceptable according to the existing standards.
The advantage of the survey is that the researchers
can form questions in such a way that the answers
can be direct and lead to the research goal. The
disadvantage of surveys is that they have a serious
limitation because of the nature of their mecha-
nism. The survey usually evaluates how well the
student recalls facts about a topic, and not the abil-
ity of using such knowledge in real world, which
is a much higher level of knowledge. On the other
hand, in-game data collection has the disadvantage
that the data can be misinterpreted because the
motor abilities such as the speed of positioning
the mouse and clicking the mouse button lead
to differences in the results. The combination of
the two methods can unveil the user's problems
with the game. Evaluators can confirm the data,
thus avoiding misinterpretations. Researchers can
utilize the collected data to improve the game
play and the learning. To meet the requests of
standards considering political acceptability, the
participants of the research have to be provided
by sufficient information so that they can decide
whether to participate in the research. Users also
have to be informed about collecting data when
in-game data collection is in question.
Virvou et al. (2005) describe the comparison
of learning with Intelligent Tutoring System
(ITS) with and without virtual reality games and
animated-speaking agent. The ITS without games
was predominantly based on hypertext. The com-
munication with the students was realized through
dialog boxes, drop-down menus and forms. The
highest level of improvement in learning was
noticed with the students who had had low grades
before. This leads to the conclusion that those
students had not been interested before, but the
game-way of learning motivated them. Teachers
reported that previously discipline had also been a
problem for those students. The important finding
of the study was that the educational effectiveness
of the game was particularly high for the students
who used to have poor performance in the domain
taught prior to their learning experience with the
game. The results of the evaluation show that
educational virtual reality games can be very
motivating while retaining or even improving
the educational effects on students. Sustainability
of the product is an important aspect. It would
be necessary to track students' performance for
a certain period and to make continuous evalu-
ation, to get results about the time the students
are interested in the same game, as well as how
much the fact of being a novelty influences the
students' satisfaction with the game.
Formative evaluation has to be conducted from
the beginning of the project of game designing.
The feedback from representatives of the poten-
tial users can serve as a guideline to improve
the project. As the technology is improving and
the environment is changing rapidly, there is a
need for doing formative evaluation even when
a project development phase has been finished
and exploitation begins. Often modifications are
necessary to enhance the learning objects to keep
step with the growing expectations of the users. A
survey in the form of on-line questionnaire can be
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