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A knowledge engineering approach to developing educational computer games for improving students' differentiating knowledge

Authors


  • Gwo-Jen Hwang is a chair professor in the Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. Han-Yu Sung is a graduate student in the Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. Chun-Ming Hung is a PhD candidate in the Department of Information and Learning Technology, National University of Tainan, Taiwan. Li-Hsueh Yang is a graduate student in the Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. Iwen Huang is an associate professor in the Department of Information and Learning Technology, National University of Tainan, Taiwan.

Dr Gwo-Jen Hwang, Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, 43, Sec.4, Keelung Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan. Email: gjhwang.academic@gmail.com

Abstract

Abstract

Educational computer games have been recognized as being a promising approach for motivating students to learn. Nevertheless, previous studies have shown that without proper learning strategies or supportive models, the learning achievement of students might not be as good as expected. In this study, a knowledge engineering approach is proposed for developing educational computer games to help students learn about the knowledge for differentiating a set of learning targets in an interesting and meaningful way. Based on the proposed approach, an educational computer game has been developed for an elementary school natural science course. The experimental results show that the proposed approach significantly improved the students' learning achievement as well as their learning attitude and motivation.

Practitioner Notes

What is already known about this topic

  • • Educational computer games have been recognized as being an important instructional strategy for promoting learning motivation of the learners.
  • • Educational computer games have great potential in helping learners acquire abilities and construct knowledge.
  • • Knowledge engineering methods have been recognized as being an effective approach for helping people organize knowledge of specific domains.
  • • The process of organizing the derived knowledge enables learners to make explicit their own interpretations and reasoning, and hence engages them in higher-order thinking.

What this paper adds

  • • Proposing a knowledge engineering approach for developing educational computer games to help students learn about the knowledge for differentiating a set of learning targets.
  • • Investigating whether the students who learn with the educational computer game have better learning achievements and attitudes than those who learn with the conventional information technology-applied approach.
  • • Investigating the feelings of the students about using the educational computer game in terms of perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness.

Implications for practice and/or policy

  • • The educational computer games developed with the knowledge engineering approach not only promoted the learning attitudes of the students, but also improved their learning achievements.
  • • Educational computer games are able to create enjoyable and realistic learning environments for learners to acquire abilities and establish their knowledge in the process of playing games.
  • • It is worth investigating more research issues concerning the effects of educational computer games from different aspects, such as students' learning styles or cognitive styles.
  • • It is important to develop educational computer games by taking pedagogical theories or instructional strategies into account.
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