Learning African-American history in a Synthetic Learning Environment
Adams Greenwood-Ericksen, University of Central Florida, United States
University of Central Florida . Awarded
Synthetic Learning Environments (SLEs) represent a hybrid of simulations and games, and in addition to their pedagogical content, rely on elements of story and interactivity to drive engagement with the learning material. The present work examined the differential impact of varying levels of story and interactivity on learning. The 2x2 between subjects design tested learning and retention among 4 different groups of participants, each receiving one of the 4 possible combinations of low and high levels of story and interactivity. Objective assessments of participant performance yielded the unexpected finding that learners using the SLE performed more poorly than any other learning group, including the gold-standard baseline. This result is made even more surprising by the finding that participants rated their enjoyment of and performance in that condition highest among the four conditions in the experiment. This apparent example of metacognitive bias has important implications for understanding how affect, narrative structure, and interactivity impact learning tasks, particularly in synthetic learning environments.
Greenwood-Ericksen, A. Learning African-American history in a Synthetic Learning Environment. Ph.D. thesis, University of Central Florida.
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