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Redesigning Game Characters: Addressing Cultural Diversity and Stimulating Social Cohesion Among University Students
PROCEEDINGS

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World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning,

Abstract

This paper reports on the reconceptualising and redesigning of a serious game characters to: (i) address the cultural diverse group of students and North-West University (NWU) and, (ii) stimulate social cohesion among university students playing the game. In 2015 a group of researchers, game developers and statistics lecturers started with the development of the serious game (Thabang’s Statventure) for fundamental statistics for first year students at NWU Vaal Campus. Since 2015 a prototype of Episode I of the game was developed, and the following evaluations were executed: (i) test of the prototype with first year students; (ii) eye tracking and an electroencephalogram (EEG) to enhance the mechanics of the game; and (iii) a heuristic evaluation of the game characters. However, in 2017 NWU underwent restructuring which forced the game developers to relook at the characters before the alterations of Episode I of Thabang’s Statventure. In order to address the recommendations and to evaluate whether the game characters adhere to the cultural diverse student cohort, a focus group interview, as part of second iteration of the design research, were conducted with lecturers in statistics and lecturers teaching intercultural communication. The participants were selected to ensure that the game developers create characters which are representative of the diverse racial population and ethnicity of the students at NWU. This paper discusses the findings from the evaluation of the second iteration of the design cycle (focus group interview), and the Agile Software Development Cycle. The findings (design principles) established the adaptation of the existing characters, the development of more characters, and the exclusion of one character, to address the cultural diversity of students as well as to stimulate social cohesion among students at NWU.

Citation

Leendertz, V. & Villiers, J.M.D. (2019). Redesigning Game Characters: Addressing Cultural Diversity and Stimulating Social Cohesion Among University Students. In Proceedings of World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning 2019 (pp. 77-84). Retrieved April 5, 2020 from .

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