Mobile Learning & Serious Gaming

The Mobile English Learning project I was finalised n 2011. A comparison between three groups revealed that the group working at home with our mobile learning app, learnt more than two other groups how either worked without the app at school, or who worked with the application in a school context. If you are interested, you can either read the article which appeared in Computers and Education: Mobile English Learning: an avidence-based study with fifth graders or you can vist : http://youtu.be/fxlD1ViTPKA. Here you will find a video clip that explains the project and features, children, parents, teachers and researchers.

Mobile English Learning II investigated the following adaptations of our original application.

  1. The application was embedded in an adventure game environment
  2. The application referred the learner to learning material at his or her level of knowledge and skill

To this end we  created two separate applications, one based on our original application. We only adjusted some flaws and extended the domain of study. Besides the theme “Zoo animals:, we introduced a second theme “Neighbourhood”. The other application, embedded the learning material of the two themes in a game environment. For Zoo animals, this meant that the application started with a request from the Zoo keeper: “help all the animals have escaped, please help me find them back”. The children thus experienced a quest – upon locating an animal and clicking on it, they were referred to the learning material. Besides this adaptation, an algorithm was implemented that selected the right animal, that is to say at the right level of difficulty to look for by the child.

To make a long story short, the results (based on a pre- and post test design) revealed that our enhanced application out[reformed our original application. However, the effect was not that large and the children who used the enhanced application spent additional time on the gaming elements. Our results support the general conclusion offered by Pieters et al. (2013) in their meta-analysis of serious games: in general games show better learning results than traditional methods, however the effectiveness  of games is mitigated by moderating variables,

 

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