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Leveraging PBL and Game to Redesign an Introductory Course

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Journal of Educational Technology Volume 7, Number 1, ISSN 0973-0559


The purpose of this paper is to discuss one instructional design that leverages problem-based learning and game structures as a means of developing innovative higher education courses for students as responsive, lived experiences. This paper reviews a curricular redesign that stemmed from the evaluation of an introductory course in computer applications that had high drop, failure, and withdrawal (D/F/W) rates. Interviews with students and faculty in this course revealed that students were not engaged with, motivated by, or satisfied with the instructional methods, which were often frustrating and difficult to navigate. Using data collected from students and faculty, we describe the full redesign of the course, which included ill-structured problems for students to solve, multiple forms of learning assessment, and a contextual framing stemming from a digital, alternate reality game design. When comparing the new design to the original, the first iteration research indicated decreased failure rates, increased achievement on standardized assessments, and a range of individual student experiences from high praise of the design to some disappointment.


Warren, S.J., Dondlinger, M.J., Jones, G. & Whitworth, C. (2010). Leveraging PBL and Game to Redesign an Introductory Course. Journal of Educational Technology, 7(1), 40-51. Retrieved February 3, 2023 from .

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