Understanding student learning through education games

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Example: Alice in Arealand

We all learned “area = length x width.” But what does the resulting number mean? Educators want students to go beyond memorization to conceptual understanding.

For area, students should understand that what they are doing is figuring out the number of non-overlapping, equal-sized square units laid side-to-side and end-to-end needed to cover a space.

In the game Alice in Arealand, a player must move the snow blocks into the spaces in the gate so our character, Alice, can walk past without being seen by the Yeti.

Real-world application

There are still outstanding research issues to work through when it comes to education games.

Before replacing traditional assessments, we need to know that the estimates of knowledge, skills, and attributes that educators receive from games are also good representations of players’ knowledge, skills, and attributes in the real world.

This requires a long process of establishing validity, but we’ve completed the first level and we’re on our way.

Explore the research

View the following resources to learn more about using education games in assessment.