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Game-based feedback for educational multi-user virtual environments

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It is generally accepted that informative and timely feedback is important to a student's learning experience within higher education. In the study of commercial digital games it has also become increasingly understood that games are particularly good at providing effective feedback of this form to gameplayers. We discuss recent game based learning research that attempts to harness the motivating qualities of digital games to inform the design of educational technology. Results from this research demonstrate student participation and performance can be improved by providing Game-Based Feedback (GBF) to students. The GBF approach awards points to students for the successful completion of tasks throughout a course of study. Points and achievements accumulated over time builds a profile that provides a student with a potentially powerful representation of their educational identity. In this paper, we argue that virtual worlds are particularly suitable for this form of GBF and can further enhance a student's understanding of their educational standing. We outline a Virtual Learning Landscape (VLL) design that is embedded within a multi-user virtual environment, where educational feedback is supplied to students via their avatar and a virtual world's landscape. The core structural principles of the proposed VLL are explained and several examples of the use of the VLL are provided to illustrate the system.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Ulster in Northern Ireland

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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