Students' Reactions to Different Levels of Game Scenarios: A Cognitive Style Approach

By Chen, Zhi-Hong; Chen, Sherry Y. et al. | Educational Technology & Society, October 2017 | Go to article overview

Students' Reactions to Different Levels of Game Scenarios: A Cognitive Style Approach


Chen, Zhi-Hong, Chen, Sherry Y., Chien, Chih-Hao, Educational Technology & Society


Introduction

With the advance of multimedia technology, the use of multimedia in education has been regarded as a promising approach to optimizing student learning. Such advocacy is underpinned by the theory of multimedia learning (Mayer, 2002), which involves an assumption of how people learn from words, sounds, and images (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). More specifically, multimedia learning asserts that optimal learning occurs when visual and verbal information is presented together simultaneously. This is due to the fact that students have separate channels to process visual and verbal information. Accordingly, students have more opportunities to receive integrative information when visual and verbal forms are linked together. By doing so, students' comprehension (Rusanganwa, 2013) can be enhanced and information can also be stored in the long-term memory structure (Kulhavy, Stock, & Kealy, 1993).

In spite of such benefits, it is still difficult for students to apply what they have learned to real situations because multimedia learning highlights the integration of multiple representation channels, rather than authentic transferable examples. To facilitate such learning transfer, scenario-based learning (Clarke, & Mayer, 2011; Clark, 2009; Kindley, 2002) is proposed based on the principles of situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991), which argues that learning should be situated in a specific context, or embedded in a particular social and physical environment (Kindley, 2002). Scenario-based learning makes students immerse in authentic works, and then integrates needed knowledge and skills in the context, instead of abstract or decontextualized knowledge (Clarke, & Mayer, 2011). In other words, scenario-based learning advocates that students should learn in concrete situations and by examples.

In short, scenario-based learning highlights the significance of real situations, which provides three major potential benefits: engaging, meaningful, and transfer learning. Regarding engaging learning, unlike abstract information, information presented in an authentic way can stimulate students to be engaged in the learning process (Herrington, Reeves & Oliver, 2014), where different scaffolding designs can also be applied to enhance their engagement. Regarding meaningful learning, such a scenario could offer students rich information, including objects themselves as well as the relationships among various objects. Such rich information might help students understand how to organize them in an appropriate way so students can undertake meaningful learning. Regarding transfer learning, scenarios could trigger students to propose questions and acquire knowledge with concrete examples. When students learn from a number of different examples, they could synthesize and analyze similarities and differences among such examples. This experience can help them conduct and deduct what they have learned. Thus, they can know better how to apply their knowledge and skills from one scenario to similar scenarios in the future (Cormier & Hagman, 2014; McKeough, Lupart, & Marini, 2013).

Due to such benefits, the scenario has been widely applied in different learning settings, such as game-based learning and technology-enhanced language learning. On the one hand, game-based learning is often represented as a virtual world, which comprises of a set of concrete scenarios, to allow students to explore every place or interact with each other (Chien et al., 2013; Toscano et al., 2015). For instance, Barab and his colleagues (2005) developed a game scenario, which was designed as a virtual island to facilitate students' scientific inquiry. In the virtual island, students were guided by a set of quests to observe, propose and evaluate their hypotheses. Such exploration and interaction in digital games are beneficial to student learning, especially in motivation and learning performance (Kebritchi, Hirumi, & Bai, 2010; Papastergiou, 2009; Tsai, Yu, & Hsiao, 2012; Tuzun et al. …

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