Motivation is key when it comes to knowledge acquisition. Most of eLearning projects out in the market are considered to be repeative, therefore boring. In order to draw the learners’ interest, the instructional designer/ eLearning developer should come up with techniques and ideas that spark the user’s imagination. 

What is a better way to achieve this than incorporating the element of fun into the project by making it look like a game or story?

The game takes place in unfriendly galaxy far away. The user takes the role of a captain who tries to survive the hazards of the universe by navigating his spaceship back to safety. The game includes 3 mini games, an exploratory one, one that requires agility and one that requires pace. There are also questions that require to be answered in order for the user to claim the achievements and rewards. 


Learning Theory behind the game

A common problem that is found in serious games is that they are way too….serious; Yes, I know, serious games are meant to be educational so creators populate them with questions and answers, based on the theory of behaviourism. That makes them boring for students since they realise that those games, are just well-looking tests.

Having that in mind I decided to do something different. In this particular approach of mine I have choosen the path of combining two of the major learning theories, constructivism and behaviourism to create a serious game that is also fun!

Contents of the game

The game is made of 9 main questions and 3 mini games.

In the first mini game the user has to find out a hidden word in a website, pretty much like a treasure hunt.

In the second mini game, the user has to be fast and improve one’s spatial awareness by clicking the objects that appear on the screen.

In the third mini game the user has to avoid the grid and keep one’s composure until the game is complete by bringing the shuttle to the vault (finish line)

The game is considered complete inspite of succession in the mini games. To see the final animation that congratulates the learner one must gather all 9 stars, meaning that all 9 questions need to be answered right

 Learning techniques used

In terms of behaviouristic point of view the game includes 9 questions. In the initial design of the game I used some questions to help EFL students learn the English language. What is different here is that there are also three mini games which are alligned with the theory of constructivism, experimental and experimental learning. 

Discovery learning is an inquiry-based, constructivist learning theory that takes place in problem solving situations where the learner draws on his or her own past experience and existing knowledge to discover facts and relationships and new truths to be learned. Students interact with the world by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments.

Gamification techniques were also applied. The game includes Avatars, in the form of spaceships, Progression tracking in the form of collectible stars and Achievements after sucessfuly completing each mini game. By doing so, the user is motivated to return back to the game and try once more, if the initial effort  didn’t provide the wished outcome. I wanted to “force” the learner re-visit the question before trying again the mini-game in order to further establish knowledge aqcuisition. After all video games have a reversible level of diffuculty, meaning that learner adapts and becomes better until one reaches the necessary skill level to overcome the obstacles set. 

Finally, videos are also included to engage the user. Explainer videos make abstract concepts easier to conceive. A video can break down a big complex chunk of data into understandable visual bits. This transition to visual representations automatically makes the information more appealing.GenZ students are drawn to this kind of presentation compared to old-fashioned text. Having that in mind, I decided to use graphical representations and language that match the learners age.

 

A final word

The game works on both LMS and browsers, which means that it can be customizable and be applied to different scenarios and types of learners. The game includes 24 variables in total that adjust various conditions spanning from turning on and off the music to counting the user’s progression.I decided to create such a complex game with lots of eLearning techniques and a deep pedagogical background to show the vast potential that educational games can have if manipulated correctly.

You may play the game by clicking the button on the right

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