n Education as Change - Development, evaluation and use of an assessment instrument to measure learning skills

Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1682-3206
  • E-ISSN: 1947-9417
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In order to evaluate the usefulness of computer-based games as viable learning tools, it is necessary to be able to measure the effects of game-play on player skills. The objective of this study is to design and evaluate an assessment instrument that directly measures Literacy (visual, logic and mathematical) and Communication (reading and writing) skills, as defined in the Persona Object Model (POM), in order to provide information that could contribute to the design of appropriate game-based learning tools. The POM, previously developed to define a typical player in terms of the Game Object Model (GOM), which incorporates modern educational theories to support the conceptualization and design of educational games, provides the theoretical underpinning for the development of an instrument to appraise literacy (visual, logical and mathematical) and communication (reading and writing) skills. This paper reports on the design, testing and use of this instrument, in order to quantify the skills of 5 groups of young South African learners (school students from Buhlebemfundo, Qhakaza and Tholokuhle, and first year students from the University of Zululand [UniZulu] and University of KwaZulu-Natal [UKZN]), prior to game-play. Results indicate that majority, except most of the UKZN sample, lack appropriate visualization, logical, mathematical, reading and writing skills. Analyses of the results suggest that poor performance might be related to language skills and socio-economic factors. Educational games for South African learners therefore need to include appropriate interfaces, content representations and puzzles that support different literacy and communication skills.

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