Potential prejudice against mobile learning games in croatian university students
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Potential prejudice against mobile learning games in Croatian University students. mGBL project. Contract no : 027607 Project acronym : mGBL Project full title : mobile Game-Based Learning Area : Informational society technologies ( IST ) URL : www.mg-bl.com

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Mgbl project
mGBL project Croatian University students

  • Contract no: 027607

  • Project acronym: mGBL

  • Project full title: mobile Game-Based Learning

  • Area: Informational society technologies (IST)

  • URL: www.mg-bl.com

  • Duration: October 2005 - September 2008

    (3 years)

Mgbl project partners
mGBL Croatian University students project partners

  • evolaris Privatstiftung www.evolaris.net

  • SAB- Schul und Ausbildungsberatung www.ausbildungsberatung.at

  • ARC Seibersdorfresearch Gmbhwww.researchstudio.at

  • Ultralab – Anglia Polytechnic University higher education corporation ww3.ultralab.net

  • University of Rijeka - Faculty of Maritime Studieswww.pfri.hr

  • University of Rijeka - Faculty of Arts and Scienceswww.ffri.hr

  • DEEI - Dipartimento di Elettrotecnica, Elettronica e Informatica, University ofTrieste www.units.it

  • ASTER- Societa consortile per azioniwww.aster.it

  • Univerza v Mariboru ecom.fov.uni-mb.si

  • AZM-LU – Andragoski zavod Maribor ljudska univerzawww.azm-lu.si

Overall goal Croatian University students:To improve efficiency and effectiveness of learning in young adults aged 18 - 24 through the development of innovative learning models based on mobile games.

Specific goals:

  • To design, develop and trial a prototype game platform that can be used to efficiently develop games for m-learning, whereby the focus is on the support of decision making in critical situations, not only in a cognitive but also in an emotional way

Expected outcomes tools for teachers
Expected outcomes Croatian University students – tools for teachers

  • Software which supports the choice of mobile games suitable for:

    • Different learning aims and conditions

    • Different kinds of students

  • Platform and templates for teachers:

    • Possibility of own materials implementation (lectures, exercises, plans, …)

    • Distribution of games to students via mobile technologies

    • User evaluation

  • Multiple user gaming

  • Examples from e-health, e-business and e-career guidance areas

Research background
Research background Croatian University students

  • social constructivist theoretical framework

  • development of e-health and e-commerce content for the user trials and testing in the transnational environment (end-user evaluation, expert evaluations and laboratory usability tests)

  • integration of existing tools, technologies and experiences with user requirements and new pedagogic/didactic approaches for the development and adoption of new innovative services

  • wide target group diversified by involving young people from different societal fields, from different regions and countries.

Mobile phones
Mobile phones Croatian University students

  • Availability

  • Power

  • Applications

  • Usability

  • Pure enjoyment

    Mobile game-based learning is an emerging field.

R esearch findings so far
R Croatian University studentsesearch findings so far

  • mobile games offer considerable potential for supporting social-constructivist learning

  • the pedagogical role of fun in learning

  • strategic use of games can contribute to a ‘flow’ experience that is a characteristic of successful learning processes

  • despite some important psychological and cultural relationships to games, the academic community has a history of bias present from the beginning regarding the value of games as an instructional tool or strategy in the learning process (Rieber, 1996).

This paper
This paper... Croatian University students

  • reports findings that are coming to light from our initial user trial and the following research showing that Croatian students, although not statistically very different from any other partner country students, may not readily embrace the concept of mobile learning games.

U ser trials framework

Month 34 Croatian University students

D 6.4 Final user trial

Month 24

D 6.3 Second user trials

Month 12

D 6.2 First user trials

Month 8

D 6.1 Detailed user trials plan


Initial review questionnaire results Croatian University studentsStatistical analysis of quantitative data gathered prior to the first user trials

  • no significant difference between Croatian respondents and the respondents from other countries regarding the use of technology in learning.

  • slight difference between Croatian and Austrian respondents; Croatian students want more technology in learning than Austrian students.

  • significant difference between Croatian respondents and the respondents from other countries regarding the daily time spent using the computer; Croatian students spend less time using the computer than respondents from other countries.

  • they do prefer delivery of the lectures via technology. The result of “desire for average of 35% of technology lessons” shows that students are aware of technology and future trends.

Initial review questionnaire results 2
Initial review questionnaire results (2) Croatian University students

  • respondents from High schools in Croatia and Great Britain are on the opposite sides of learning habits; Croatian students and high school pupils are a little conservative due to education policies in Croatia. 78% of Croatian students and 90% of Croatian High school respondents like to learn alone, and only 10% like to learn in a group.

  • All respondents, including Croatian students, are somehow skeptic about using mobile phones in learning process, and 44% do not know if mobile phone games can be used for education purposes.

  • As this is a fairly new idea, 34% of the students think that it is not possible to use mGBL for education purposes, while 20% think that it is possible.

First user trial
First user trial Croatian University students

  • conducted online

  • sample of 342 respondents from 5 countries: Austria, Croatia, Great Britain, Italy and Slovenia


  • in Croatia research was conducted from 26th October to 27th October 2006.

  • 63 respondents, 37 male and 25 female.

  • students from the University of Rijeka, Faculty of Maritime Studies.

  • 2 professors answered the questionnaires.

    All respondents thought that mGBL is interesting as an

    idea and a concept.

First user trial results
First user trial-results Croatian University students

The qualitative analysis of the first two games:

  • games were described as an interesting way to reach young people, although they don't have thetraditional game scenario.

  • overal they were entertaining, but with some faults in the game design.

  • games were evaluated as very dynamic, interesting and also educational.

  • they could be used as an addition to teaching process in order to make the subject more interesting.

  • possibility of competition with other players exists.

  • different types of tasks could be assigned.

  • the games present a "normal" situation in the classroom, while the mobile device is just a support.

    After first user trials all students are convinced that there is a

    potential usage of mobile phones in education.

First user trial results 2
First user trial-results (2) Croatian University students


  • comments primarily directed to interface, and to playability of the games.

  • games were described as difficult to understand and not user friendly.

  • there is no effectiveness, affect, and there was a lack of help feature.

  • the interaction was very limited.

Some of the comments included the following
Some of the comments included the following: Croatian University students

  • It is very unusual: mobile-games in education?

  • Very linear, seems a waste on a digital device. It could be easily replicated with paper and a stopwatch. The graphic style whilst cute, was completely irrelevant to the game context - why should I take health advice from a fat cat businessman smoking a cigar??!

  • This game checks just knowledge. The learning process must develop skills.

  • Unsuited to a mobile, dull game play, irrelevant scenarios. I find this game hard to recommend.

  • It could be more interesting with more options. The third game seemed a much more adventurous concept that would be fun.

  • It certainly seemed more appealing, although the activities would need more support. Also I fear that it is not really a 'game', more an activity. Be careful that the phones do not distinguish among students regarding their or their families' economic status....

Group discussions results
Group discussions results Croatian University students

  • subsequent lively discussions that were initiated by students and professors.

  • only one structured group discussion within the first user trials with students on 27th of October 2006. It was held at the Faculty of Maritime studies, University of Rijeka, with 27 students participating in the project.

  • other discussions were prompted by mGBL presentations at the University of Rijeka where the project and the concept of mobile game-based learning were presented (Mitchell, 2007)

Group discussions results 2
Group discussions results (2) Croatian University students

  • Many appeared to be strongly prejudiced against the deployment of such games within learning programs, considering them at best a waste of time.

    Many students remained unconvinced, arguing strongly on the following lines:

  • older professors will never use mobile game-based learning

  • use of mobile technologies will only add to the alienation already perceived as a result of increasing e-learning

  • learning games are more suitable for schoolchildren

  • students already know how to investigate sources and build arguments – how is playing games different?

  • Why does everything have to be fun?

Second user trials
Second user trials Croatian University students

  • conducted in 4 countries, during August, September and October 2007

  • qualitative methodology

  • evaluation of 3 mGBL games regarding:

    - fun and playability

    - content, in terms of:

    • style and design

    • relevance to topic

    • suitability to level

    • supporting users in developing decision-making skills

Ahead of the game
“Ahead of the game” Croatian University students

On the edge
“On the Edge” Croatian University students

Get real
“Get real!” Croatian University students

A nalysis of the mgbl focus group in croatia
A Croatian University studentsnalysis of the mGBL Focus Group in Croatia

  • one mixed focus group was assembled to test the game and the mGBL platform in Croatia.

  • it consisted of6 participants; teachers and students in the area of maritime distress (2 professors and 4 students).

  • all of the participants used the Nokia N80 mobile phones and were given the consent form at the beginning of the focus group, along with an USB memory stick as a gift at the end of the test.

    After testing the game, participants reported their positive attitude towards the idea and the game itself.

Students Croatian University students

  • students liked it because the content was familiar to them and they tried to collect as many points as they could, and were really competitive, comparing their scores with each other.

  • they found the game content satisfactory, and pertinent to real life; all participants agreed that they would play the game again, to refresh their knowledge and to learn new facts, because it contains the type of content that is used in real life hazardous situations, and can very well save human lives and property. They also thought it would be an excellent supplement for learning.

  • students thought that the scores and reports should be good for the teacher to see what areas the students are good/poor in. That way the teacher could pay more attention to that area when giving a lecture. They would also like to go through the analysis of the game play with the professor to help them advance in that area.

  • they would play the game again if there were more and different supplements in the game. Some students said they would play the game such as this after the lectures to see how much they have learned from the lectures.

Teachers Croatian University students

  • thought that this was an excellent tool for learning, not only for students, but also for experienced sailors who use maritime distress procedures in real life situations. They all agreed, considering the fact that this is an educational game, that graphics are not that important.

  • this can be an interesting way for life-long learning processes, as well as an e-learning tool for any type of distant learning.

  • there wasn’t much difference in reporting from Croatian students/teachers compared to Slovenian, Italian or any other partner focus group results (D6.3, 2007).

  • in general, teachers thought that the game with multiple possible scenarios and an open-end game would give them an insight on how the students think, how they make decisions, how they could apply that thinking into »real life« situations.

  • a thought about grouping the students to play group game was mentioned. That way the game would tackle the collaborating part and team work in education and real life.

Conclusion Croatian University students

  • Students and professors, although biased before trying the games, were in the end content with the usage of the games in the learning process.

  • Most of them changed their attitudes about the games, and their comments were directed towards improving of the process.

  • Furthermore, the game could be pure fun for the younger target groups, while for the older target groups a simulation component should be included.

There is still plethora of challenges that mobile Croatian University studentsgame based learning should address, from ethical and legal to technological and financial issues and maybe most important and most difficult challenge to encourage officials to take up the mobile games for learning support in higher education environment.

The third User Trials will take place in the summer of 2008, combining both methodologies which were used in the first and the second User Trials. Part of the work has already been done in Austria and Croatia.

Vladimir Takšić Croatian University students

Ivana Ilijašić Mišić

Edvard Tijan

Thank you!