Proposal Defense - Travis W. Windleharth
You are cordially invited to join us for the Proposal Defense of Travis W. Windleharth, to be held on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, via Zoom from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Title: Mental Models, Meaning, & Games: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Player Meaning Making in a Complex STEM Themed Video Game
Game based learning is attracting increased attention and interest as a novel platform for experiential learning, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The affordances of real-time interactive simulations in video games are being leveraged to create complex games for learning, designed with components assembled to reflect models of real-world systems in physical, biological, and social sciences. To build these models, designers use the complex multimedia nature of video games to encode and represent information in an array of game components with key attributes and relationships with one another, to provide a system that players can interact with, and use to explore properties of the game model as they achieve game goals. Much work has been done to study outcomes of learning games in terms of post-intervention knowledge assessments, but relatively little has been done to explore the process of player mental model construction and adaptation at the level of specific interactions with formal game components over time. This research aims to expand understanding of how players make meaning during gameplay in the STEM themed game Oxygen not Included, specifically through their interaction and experimentation with game objects and their relationships. Using the approach of interpretative phenomenological analysis, in conjunction with formal analysis of gameplay and continuous think-aloud interview techniques, this work endeavors to collect rich qualitative data on player meaning-making processes during gameplay to answer the following research questions: How do youth learners make meaning of game systems and components that model real world phenomena through their experiences interacting with them in game based learning environments? What patterns of interaction with formal elements correspond to construction of mental models? How do players adjust their concept of game model elements through observation, experience, and experimentation with components and systems in complex learning games? And, what design recommendations for learning game creators does this work suggest?
- Jin Ha Lee, Chair
- Philip Thurtle, GSR
- Dave Eng, Member
- Jessica Luke, Member
- Jason Yip, Member