Formal and Informal Context Factors as Contributors to Student Engagement in a Guided Discovery-Based Program of Game Design Learning
Learning, Media and Technology, 2013, DOI:10.1080/17439884.2013.779585
Posted: 1 Oct 2013
Date Written: September 30, 2013
This paper explored informal (after-school) and formal (elective course in-school) learning contexts as contributors to middle-school student attitudinal changes in a guided discovery-based and blended e-learning program in which students designed web games and used social media and information resources for a full school year. Formality of the program context did not substantially influence attitude changes but did appear to influence learning outcomes. While intrinsic motivation did not change in the aggregate from pre- to post-program among students, positive changes in intrinsic motivation were found to be associated with engagement in almost all areas of student engagement in Globaloria, with several at-home engagement changes measured. This finding challenges critiques of discovery-based learning as being de-motivating. Lower parent education among students was associated with positive changes in self-efficacy for online research indicating that disadvantaged students may stand to benefit from programs like this one. The study offers support for the need to more definitively explicate instructional design and context factors in educational technology research when investigating influences upon learning outcomes. The study holds implications for designing effective digital literacy interventions, and contributes to theory in the learning sciences and socio-technical systems research.
Keywords: game design, educational technology, digital divide, motivation, parent education, social constructivism
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