Engaging learners: the contribution of animation to motivation, learner control and deep learning Lynne Humphries and Sharon McDonaldSCHOOL OF COMPUTING AND TECHNOLOGYUNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
Outline of presentation • Introduction to the authors’ experience of game programming and research using Visual Basic and Visual Basic.NET as a development environment and the role of animation in teaching programming • The broader context of individual differences in the design of electronic teaching and learning systems. • Description of research into an evaluation of deep learning and navigation from two systems – a web-based system and a games application both designed to teach identical domain content and • the contribution that animation makes to the design.
Use of animation in games • For teaching programming • Motivation e.g teaching programming concepts with examples from games • For users: • Enjoyment • Engagement • Non-interactive movies add to story
Designing for individual differences • The emergence of studies focusing on gender based differences in navigation have arisen out of a more general concern about the role of individual differences within Human Computer Interaction (HCI). • A system that can deliver optimal learning to all users is a major aim of all designers but few studies have concentrated on individual differences, gender being one, in interface design.
Graphical interfaces and individual capabilities • Recent developments in visualization techniques coupled with the widespread use of complex graphical interfaces, frequently designed to meet the needs of a perceived homogenous set of ideal users, have served to highlight the gap between what an interface demands of its user and the user’s actual capabilities. • As a consequence, if we are to be able to develop more usable interfaces, then a consideration of individual differences in interaction becomes increasingly important.
Recent publications • McDonald, S. and Humphries, L.(in press)“Gender Differences in the Navigation of Electronic Worlds,” To appear in the Gender and IT Encyclopedia • Sharon McDonald and Lynne Humphries • Hindmarch, M., and McDonald, S. (in press) Individual Differences in HCI: the case of navigation. To appear in the International Encyclopedia of Human Factors and Ergonomics.
Concern about the lack of females in game programming • So for women programmers/designers to have an influence on the design of interactive learning systems there needs to be female designers/programmers in place. But if girls are put off technology from an early age the digital divide is likely to increase. • When making decisions on careers their perception of computing is as a career for "geeks". Those that make it into the ICT profession meet social and structural barriers to progression (Ahuja , 2004).
Background to the Sunderland research • An earlier study into learning and electronic systems (Humphries, 2002) used three versions of a web-based teaching system to teach the girls web page design. These systems set up three conditions for the teaching of web design to novice users (three groups of 14-year old girls in an all-girls school in Teesside). • One group used a set of web pages with hypertext links to topics (flat web page -non-interactive), one group used the same structure but with interactive tests that they could navigate between freely (high learner control) and the third group could only progress when the short test for each topic was completed satisfactorily (limited learner control).
Research into deep learning: a comparison between a web system and a game format • Research questions: • Does an interactive game better at producing deep learning compared to a web-based system? • Are there individual differences in navigation using fact-based sources versus eye-witness/ experts’ accounts • Pre- and post-test of domain knowledge, • Administrator page to add pictures/questions into database • Single or two-player interactive quiz • Domain: tsunamis (geology)
Results • All three groups (conditions) improved their scores between pre- and post-test and there was no statistical difference between deep learning tested at post-test for all three conditions (against the prediction that the limited learner control group would learn more). It is interesting that despite their success all three measures (perceptions of learning motivation and enjoyment were lowest for the limited learner control group. • One of the explanations is that the delivery was novel and all the girls were highly motivated to compete in their designs especially in their use of animated gifs and marquees (moving text).
Perceptions of learningFigure 1 Results from the post-test survey into motivation, enjoyment and perceptions of learning.
Use of graphics/animation • The subjects will be able to use two forms of information factual and eye-witness/expert reports but they can also use navigation back to the map on the front page or other pages for geographical/factual clues. • It is important that systems are evaluated to measure whether deep learning has taken place and what strategies are best employed to ensure this.
Where to next? • Testing on subjects will take place this summer and results will be published • PhD research on teaching computer programming • Proposed CASE award with local educational games company