Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Advancing Adventure Education Using Digital Motion-Sensing Games

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Advancing Adventure Education Using Digital Motion-Sensing Games

Article excerpt

Introduction

Adventure education involves various adventurous and challenging types of group activity, and was established by the Outward Bound School in the United States and Europe through the field activities of boy-scout courses. In 1970, Jerry Pieh and Gary Baker used various types of simple portable tools in their Project Adventure course and integrated outdoor activities into general courses that enable students to learn teamwork, communication, leadership, and introspection (Prouty, 1990). Adventure education emphasizes learning through experience and cultivates the self-confidence, interpersonal interaction ability, and self-development of students. The activities are often designed with rules that limit the communication channels of participants, requiring them to observe their surroundings and empathize with the people around them. However, the effects of the activities decrease when the situation becomes disordered. The facilitator must therefore be proficiently equipped with knowledge and skills to guide participants through the activities and reflect on the problem-solving process to communicate the themes of the activities. The observation duty of the facilitator is critical because one teacher can lead up to 30 participants at a time. Key actions, communication processes, and events must be recorded in a short time.

Some adventure education activities are difficult to practice because of poor weather conditions, outsized equipment, or dangerous scenarios. Therefore, digital games were developed in this study to create simulated scenarios through which players can experience activities that are seldom performed.

Digital games have been used for learning in various fields. As technology and creativity have advanced, game types and interface designs have changed substantially. Games can be played using keyboards, mouse, and remote and motion sensors. Microsoft released a kinesthetic game console, Xbox Kinect, which revolutionized the control rules of traditional games. Motion-sensing technology can detect and position the movement of players so that they can operate the game system directly without physical contact. Instead of a handheld or stampede controller, players use voice commands or physical gestures. A built-in camera is used to capture the movements of a player in a 3D space, thus enabling intuitive interaction with the characters and objects in the game. Virtual reality provides players with a sense of novelty, increasing their motivation to learn.

This study involved using an Xbox Kinect and Unity 3D game engine to develop two multiplayer adventure education games. The games addressed cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and behavioral aspects of learning. The games were developed based on adventure education activities to enable participants to enhance their interpersonal relationships through group interaction. The digital games emphasized learning processes that involved user-initiated control, enabling users to construct situations that fit their intrinsic cognitions, thus improving their learning effectiveness. The participants enhanced their learning and problem-solving capabilities in the process (Perry, 1998).

Through the postgame reflections, the participants were guided in perceiving their roles in the group, understanding the mechanism of leadership, and collaboratively solving problems. The collaborative gaming processes were recorded using computers, and researchers conducted observations. Questionnaires were used to cross-analyze the achievements of the participants based on adventure education themes, which was the primary goal of this study.

Literature review

Adventure education

Adventure education is an experiential learning process in which people construct knowledge through direct experience, practicing skills, and strengthening values. Kolb (1984) defined learning as the process of transferring experience to knowledge. …

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