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Cognitive Walkthrough for Learning Through Game Mechanics at ECGBL13

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This presentation supports my paper at ECGBL13.

The central idea to the presentation is that making serious games that are reliably able to achieve their goal is really hard.

Good theory tends to be at a very high level, whereas game design happens on a day to day basis at a much lower level.

We need procedures and processes that can help designers bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Cognitive Walkthrough is a well established UI process that helps UI designers to correct their mistaken assumptions and biases by scaffolding their thinking - but there is nothing magical about UI design.

All interaction design requires the designer to think "like" another type of user.

So I'm arguing that we should adapt Cognitive Walkthrough to support our game designers, particularly serious game designers.

I also present one adaptation of Cognitive Walkthrough and use it to evaluate why very similar sections of one educational game differed greatly in their success.

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Cognitive Walkthrough for Learning Through Game Mechanics at ECGBL13

  1. 1. Cognitive Walkthrough for Learning Through Game Mechanics David Farrell & David Moffat Glasgow Caledonian University
  2. 2. Key Messages • We should be adapting tools, such as Cognitive Walkthrough to support serious game designers. • It’s hard to make good GBL
  3. 3. Information and animations for junior and senior pupils across Europe.
  4. 4. Lesson packs for teachers in junior and senior schools.
  5. 5. a game to teach junior pupils
  6. 6. a game to teach senior pupils
  7. 7. K. Squire & Civ III D. W. Shaffer & Soda War on Terror Sweatshop
  8. 8. Cognitive Walkthrough • A HCI technique, well established in UI design and evaluation. • Instead of relying on pure instinct, CW offers cognitive scaffolding.
  9. 9. Typical CW • Stage 1:“Defining Inputs” • describe users • describe task • describe system • list each action required to complete task
  10. 10. Typical CW • Stage 2:“Walkthrough” • 1:Will user try to achieve effect? • 4: If correct action performed, will user notice progress towards solution? • 3: Will user associate correct action with the desired effect? • 2: Will user notice correct action available?
  11. 11. CW and Serious Games • UI design is not unique in the requirement of the designer to ‘imagine’ the user’s brain • All interaction design requires the designer to simulate how someone else will think • This is also true of game design. • This is important in GBL
  12. 12. Bespoke CWs • There are many viable GBL pedagogies • Whatever the underlying theory, there is a risk translating that theory, through design into game implementation. • To be useful, a CW should map to pedagogy
  13. 13. CWLTGM • Stage 1:“Defining Inputs” • describe users • describe task • describe system • list each action required to complete task
  14. 14. CWLTGM • Stage 1:“Defining Inputs” • describe players • describe task • describe system • list each action required to complete task
  15. 15. CWLTGM • Stage 1:“Defining Inputs” • describe players • describe desired learning outcome • describe system • list each action required to complete task
  16. 16. CWLTGM • Stage 1:“Defining Inputs” • describe players • describe desired learning outcomes • describe how game entities & behaviours map to subject-domain • list each action required to complete task
  17. 17. CWLTGM • Stage 1:“Defining Inputs” • describe players • describe desired learning outcomes • describe how game entities & behaviours map to subject-domain • list actions required that are assumed to support learning
  18. 18. CWLTGM • Stage 2:“Walkthrough” • 1:Will user try to achieve effect? • 2:Will user notice correct action available? • 3:Will user associate correct action with the desired effect? • 4: If correct action performed, will user notice progress towards solution?
  19. 19. CWLTGM • Stage 2:“Walkthrough” • 1:Will user attempt the game task? • 2:Will user notice correct action available? • 3:Will user associate correct action with the desired effect? • 4: If correct action performed, will user notice progress towards solution?
  20. 20. CWLTGM • Stage 2:“Walkthrough” • 1:Will user attempt the game task? • 2:Will user understand which in-game actions might achieve the task goal? • 3:Will user associate correct action with the desired effect? • 4: If correct action performed, will user notice progress towards solution?
  21. 21. CWLTGM • Stage 2:“Walkthrough” • 1:Will user attempt the game task? • 2:Will user understand which in-game actions might achieve the task goal? • 3:Will user associate correct action with the progress towards game task completion? • 4: If correct action performed, will user notice progress towards solution?
  22. 22. CWLTGM • Stage 2:“Walkthrough” • 1:Will user attempt the game task? • 2:Will user understand which in-game actions might achieve the task goal? • 3:Will user associate correct action with the progress towards game task completion? • 4: If correct action performed, can we expect learning to take place?
  23. 23. Step 4 of Walkthrough
  24. 24. • In the less successful area of the game, I identified 9 separate logical links required Findings • Of these only 3 appeared safe • Applying CWLTGM in this capacity offered reasonable explanation of confusing results
  25. 25. Conclusion • Gap between best pedagogical theory and ‘day to day’ game design • Too much depends on designer instinct and intuitive simulation of users’ mental model • CW is a general purpose tool, not restricted to UI design, that can help structure this process • We will need bespoke CWs depending on pedagogy
  26. 26. Future Work • More analyses of (un)successful games with this process • Using CWLTGM during design process
  27. 27. Questions? • I’d love to hear from anyone interested! • david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk

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