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Title: Computer-based learning games involving chance-based uncertainty : an appraoch in the interdisciplinary area of neuroeducation
Author: Demetriou, Skevi
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
There were a few reasons that determined my interest in this field of research and justified the reasons why this doctoral study was carried out. One was literature praising the motivational incentives of chance, uncertainty. and competition in learning settings and especially computer games. Another Important factor was research revealing the memory and learning promoting properties of reward uncertainty and, particularly, prediction error (PE: the difference between expected and actual reward). All the previous together with my personal interest on how people learn through gaming, determined my interest in pursuing this PhD study. The current study is based on asking both adults and children to interact individually and collaboratively with competitive and non competitive learning computer games that promoted reward uncertainty and PE. It was conducted within both laboratory and classroom based settings and the data collected was of both quantitative and qualitative nature. Specifically, this research was conducted in two parts; the first part consisted of four studies on uncertainty and the second part that consisted of two phases. Phase _1 was in the laboratory with adults using a non competitive learning game and phase _2 was in the classroom with children interacting with competitive games of learning. For the purposes of this research, a mixed methods approach was employed, including quantitative methods like physiological measurements and statistical explorations of numeric data, as well as qualitative methods such as audio recordings and interviews. The general aim of this study was to investigate the potential link between uncertainty and PE, engagement and learning in laboratory experiments involving adults, and then use this understanding to explore how children engage with learning games involving chance-based uncertainty in more "real world" classroom environments, seeking to interrelate this understanding with the discourse and social constructions associated with such games and to also examine the effect of the artificial opponent (AO) within such contexts. Part! revealed many interesting things with regard to uncertainty. The first part_1 study showed children's preference towards uncertainty involving computer gaming tasks with their justifications revealing that they wanted, liked and enjoyed this option more than the certain one. The second study showed that the inclusion of an element of gaming uncertainty appeared to raise the EDA of the adult participants when answering questions that were intended to support their learning. Part_l-study_3 revealed similar trends in children's EDA responses within the same gaming context, also revealing some very interesting results on children's emotional synchrony when collaborating around computers. Part_1-study _ 4 aimed to explore the emotional arousal of children within this gaming context in more depth, by looking at their facial and bodily expressions. It also aimed to explore the link between the emotional arousal due to gaming uncertainty and learning as revealed by part_1 studies 2 and 3 further, by tracking the appearance of each question in the game in order to look at the different ways in which material was learned. Part_I-study _ 4 found that the game intervention promoted learning as participants scored significantly higher on the post test than on the pre test. In this study it was tr 1 found that the most frequently occurring and intensely emotionally loaded a mressions were associated among others to courses of the game when many points were at. stake. This study also found that a lot of the material in the game was encoded and/or recalled through highly emotionally loaded events as revealed from the video analysis. The general feeling from the video analysis was that students were immersed in the gaming discourse and they enjoyed playmg the computer game. Part 2 showed some very interesting things. Phase_l revealed that at recall, PE for successful learning was significantly higher than PE for unsuccessful learning. This . provided the green light to investigate the potentially positive influence of positive prediction error (PPE) on learning within computer gaming environments of this type. Classroom based studies of phase_2 revealed that the type of the AO, whether matched based on academic ability or gaming strategy, does make a difference on students' discourse and constructs in a learning experience and also provided indications on how children collaborate around computers. This difference in students' constructs was revealed from their drawings of the two AOs, since they appeared to draw each of them in a different way based on the AOs' characteristics that were revealed while competing against them in the game. This was an interesting finding as it provided indications that, when matching the performance of the AO to the players, the source of the uncertainty originating from the AO, whether it is located in its academic ability or gaming strategy, does make a difference. Finally, similarly to Phase _1, in the second study of this phase it was found that on average, PE for successful learning was significantly higher than PE for unsuccessful learning, providing indications for the potentially reinforcing properties of positive PE on learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.559473  DOI: Not available
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