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Serious Game Leverages Productive Negativity to Facilitate Conceptual Change in Undergraduate Molecular Biology

Gauthier, A; Jenkinson, J; (2017) Serious Game Leverages Productive Negativity to Facilitate Conceptual Change in Undergraduate Molecular Biology. International Journal of Game-Based Learning , 7 (2) pp. 20-34. 10.4018/ijgbl.2017040102. Green open access

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Abstract

We designed a serious game, MolWorlds, to facilitate conceptual change about molecular emergence by using game mechanics (resource management, immersed 3rd person character, sequential level progression, and 3-star scoring system) to encourage cycles of productive negativity. We tested the value-added effect of game design by comparing and correlating pre- and post-test misconceptions, interaction statistics, and engagement in the game with an interactive simulation that used the same graphics and simulation system but lacked gaming elements. We tested first-, second-, and third-year biology students’ misconceptions at the beginning and end of the semester (n = 526), a subset of whom played either the game (n = 20) or control (n = 20) for 30 minutes prior to the post-test. A 3x3 mixed model ANOVA revealed that, while educational level (first-, second-, or third-year biology) did not influence misconceptions from pre-test to post-test, the intervention type (no intervention, simulation, or game) did (p<.001). Pairwise comparisons showed that participants exposed to the interactive simulation (p = .007), as well as those exposed to the game (p<.001), lost significantly more misconceptions in comparison to those who did not receive any intervention, while adjusting for educational level. A trending difference was found between the simulation group and the gaming group (p = .084), with the gaming group resolving more misconceptions. Quantitative analysis of click-stream data revealed the greater exploratory freedom of the control simulation, with greater accessibility to individuals who do not play games on a regular basis. However, qualitative analysis of gameplay data showed that MolWorlds-players experienced significantly more instances of productive negativity than control-users (p<.001) and that a trending relationship exists between the quality of productively negative events and lower post-test misconceptions (p = .066).

Type: Article
Title: Serious Game Leverages Productive Negativity to Facilitate Conceptual Change in Undergraduate Molecular Biology
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.4018/ijgbl.2017040102
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.4018/ijgbl.2017040102
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Conceptual Change, Interactive Simulation, Molecular Biology, Productive Negativity, Randomized Controlled Trial, Serious Game
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10076756
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