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Serious Game Facilitates Conceptual Change About Molecular Emergence Through Productive Negativity (RCT)

Gauthier, A; Jenkinson, J; (2016) Serious Game Facilitates Conceptual Change About Molecular Emergence Through Productive Negativity (RCT). In: Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Games Based Learning. Academic Conferences and Publishing International: Paisley, Scotland. Green open access

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Abstract

Throughout their undergraduate careers, biology students struggle to reconcile how randomness at the molecular level governs cellular systems, often misconceiving these emergent systems as mechanistic in nature. A serious game has potential to facilitate conceptual change by enabling instances of productive negativity—a player may attempt a challenge and fail under their current misconception, and then must reevaluate their understanding in order to succeed. We designed a serious game, MolWorlds, under this premise and tested its efficiency against an interactive simulation that used the same graphics and simulation system as the game but lacked gaming elements such as score, sequential levelling structure, resource management, and a 3rd-person character immersed in the environment. 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. We performed a 3x3 repeated measures linear mixed model to determine how educational level (first-, second-, or third-year biology) and intervention type (no intervention, simulation, or game) affected students’ molecular misconceptions from pre-test to post-test. While educational level did not have an effect on misconceptions, the intervention type did (p<.001). A priori pairwise comparisons revealed that participants who were not exposed to any intervention retained significantly more misconceptions in comparison to those exposed to the interactive simulation (p=.007) as well as those exposed to the game (p<.001), while adjusting for educational level. A trending difference was found between the simulation group and the gaming group (p=.084), with gamers resolving more misconceptions. Analysis of gameplay data revealed that gamers 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: Proceedings paper
Title: Serious Game Facilitates Conceptual Change About Molecular Emergence Through Productive Negativity (RCT)
Event: European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL 2016)
Location: The University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Scotland
Dates: 06 October 2016 - 07 October 2016
ISBN-13: 9781911218098
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.academic-conferences.org/pdf/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
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/10076776
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