Honor Thesis - Support CS EduGame Design

$6500 fellowship

In 2021 Spring, I took the class 05418/818: Design Educational Game with Dr. Erik Harpstead, which ultimately led to my honor thesis project: Support Designer-Teacher Collaboration in Educational Game Design Using Learning Science Principles, which received a $6500 fellowship.

In 05418, we learned about some theoretical frameworks1 that integrate learning science principles2 in the educational game design process, which triggers my interest in the application of learning science principles in games as the educational technology. After talking with Dr. Harpstead and reading some papers, I decided to propose a research and study the following questions:

Would the usage of learning science principles be beneficial in a collaborative educational game design context? If so, how would the presentation format of the principles influence the collaboration of educators and designers?

I received a $6500 DC Honor Thesis scholarship for this project. I’ll use my senior year and 2021 summer to conduct the game design workshops in 4 conditions (prescriptive statements, guided questions, concrete examples, and control group), differed by presentation formats of learning science principles in a design-support tool like this (in the workshop, we used this simplified tool). I’ll use expert evaluation on the design pitch product from the workshops and other qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze the collaboration process and generate some insights on how can we best present learning science principles to support the CS game design.

I’ve written a series of blogs about my research background, design, and implementation during the summer. We’ve published our work-in-progress to the 2021 CHI-Play conference (I’m the first author, checkout our presentation here)3. We conducted all workshops and started data analysis during 2021 Fall, then we will seek publication of this work to conferences such as ISLS and CHI-DIS.

  1. Aleven, V., Myers, E., Easterday, M., & Ogan, A. (2010). Toward a Framework for the Analysis and Design of Educational Games. 2010 Third IEEE International Conference on Digital Game and Intelligent Toy Enhanced Learning, 69–76. https://doi.org/10.1109/DIGITEL.2010.55 

  2. Kenneth R Koedinger, Julie L Booth, and David Klahr. 2013. Instructional Complexity and the Science to Constrain It. Science 342, 6161: 935–937. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1238056 

  3. Qianou Ma and Erik Harpstead. 2021. Support Designer-Teacher Collaboration in Educational Game Design Using Learning Science Principles. In Extended Abstracts of the 2021 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’21), October 18–21,2021, Virtual Event, Austria. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 8 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3450337.3483494