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Student participation in serious games design

Serious games can be defined simply as games with an educational intent. These games are regularly positioned within a curriculum as simple teaching agents and often lack meaningful participation from learners in their development. In 1992, Roger Hart proposed a model for the roles children play in participatory projects with adults. ‘Hart’s Ladder’ presents eight levels of children’s participation moving from tokenistic manipulation of children at the base of this ladder to ‘citizenship’ at the top where children can initiate and share activities with adults. This research contributes to knowledge on methods of integrating serious games into formal educational settings by investigating how children, as participants, can work with their educators, as facilitators, to create serious games for use by their peers. Exploratory field studies have worked with secondary school children (11-16 years) to evaluate the hypothesis that higher levels of participation of children in making serious games will produce more effective educational artefacts. Educational artefacts are context specific to each study but encompass the product and accreditation of the process by participants, facilitators and all stakeholders involved. Experimental work has investigated methods of facilitating a participatory serious games design project led by children with adults in a supportive role at level eight of Hart’s Ladder. Results are compared with a design project led by adults who inform and assign specific roles to children (level four) and finally a revised design project led by adults who share decisions with children (level six). The participatory design approach is also applied to a serious games design project with adult offenders (considered students of an educational probation programme) to evaluate its scalability to a wider demographic of learner. The research concludes that simply increasing the participation of students in making serious games does not consistently produce more effective educational artefacts. Rather, the positioning of learners and adults as ‘design partners’ at level six of Hart’s Ladder produces a more engaging and productive design process together with a more functional and client-sensitive serious game product.
Date January 2011
CreatorsBates, M. I.
PublisherNottingham Trent University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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