Papers from ECGBL (Part 1)

Well it all went so quickly, but another excellent European Conference on Game-Based Learning, organised by my friends Jordi Sánchez-Navarro and Dani Aranda. For me, this is one of the best conferences of the year – lots of relevant and high-quality papers, interesting and fun people, and good food and too much wine. What’s not to like?

Although there were loads of excellent papers, here are some of the highlights for me:

Boyle and Connolly (2008) provide a theoretical overview on theories of enjoyment, looking at the following theories:

  • Ryan and Deci’s self determination theory – behaviour is governed by three innate psychological needs: competence, autonomy and relatedness; behaviours that satisfy all three are intrinsically motivating.
  • Malone and Lepper’s motivations to play computer games – challenge, curiosity, fantasy, control.
  • Lucas and Sherry’s research based on uses gratifications theory – this identified six reasons why people play computer games: competition, challenge, social interaction, diversion, fantasy and arousal.
  • Arousal theory – there is an optimal level of arousal linked to best performance and greatest pleasure.
  • Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory – the optimal experience when a person is fully engaged in an activity.
  • Apter’s Reversal theory – there are two different ways of experiencing arousal: excitement seeking and anxiety avoidance

Boyle, E. & Connolly, T. (2008) A Review of Theories of Player Enjoyment in Playing Computer Games. In Proceedings of the 2nd European Conference on Games-Based Learning. Barcelona, Spain, 16-17 October 2008.

Connolly, Stansfield and Hainey (2008) present a framework for evaluating games-based learning based on an extensive literature review that was undertaken as part of Thomas Hainey’s doctoral research. First the paper provides some examples of existing frameworks and then presents a framework based on the following components:

  • improvement in learner performance
  • motivation and interest in participation
  • perceptions such as realism, complexity, support and proficiency
  • attitudes towards the subject and games for learning
  • regularity and effectiveness of collaboration (optional)
  • preferences, such as learning styles or modes of interaction
  • GBL environment (environment, scaffolding, usability, level of social presence, deployment)

Connolly, T., Stansfield, M. & Hainey, T. (2008). Development of a General Framework for Evaluating Games-Based Learning. In Proceedings of the 2nd European Conference on Games-Based Learning. Barcelona, Spain, 16-17 October 2008.

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