Development of an Enjoyable Educational Game on Fundamental Programming: Designing for Inclusion and Learning Analytics
Keywords:Game-based learning, Game design, Inclusive design, Game-based learning analytics, Programming education
A well-discussed problem is how to attract a new public to computer programming, and especially how to reach girls and women. At the same time research reports on that children spend considerable amounts of time playing different types of games, where educational games today are part of formal, informal and non-formal learning. However, many educational games still have a design that appeals more to boys than to girls. Another problem addressed in this paper is how to measure the learning outcomes of an education game. It is a challenge per se to design for joyful gaming, but to assess the learning outcomes is important if the game should be accepted by teachers and a part of teaching and learning activities. The aim of this study was to describe and discuss the design and development of an educational game where girls would like to play together and at the same time learn fundamental programming. The research question that guided this study was: " How could a motivating and inclusive educational game on fundamental programming be designed and developed, with minimal prerequisites for students and teachers?". The overall strategy for the design and development of the was the Design Science Research (DSR) approach. This work was carried out according to the recognised DSR process with the five phases of: 1) Explicating the problem, 2) Defining the requirements, 3) Designing and developing the artefact, 4) Demonstrating the artefact, and 5) Evaluating the artefact. Phase one was based on a minor literature study, while Phase 2 was a combination of a larger and more systematic literature study combined with game testing. Phase 3 was conducted with brain storming sessions for design followed by implementation in the Unity game development tool. Finally, the game has been demonstrated for, and tested by, a group of academic game developers. Results from the formative evaluation look promising, but the important next step in this project is a more formal evaluation using game-based learning analytics with a larger and more diverse test audience.