An Experiment on How Adult Students Can Learn by Designing Engaging Learning Games

Charlotte Lærke Weitze

Abstract

This article presents and discusses the first iteration of a design-based research experiment focusing on how to create a motivating gamified learning design, one that facilitates a deep learning process for adult students making their own learning games.

Using games for learning has attracted attention from many teachers as well as researchers because of their promise to motivate students and provide them with deep learning experiences. Part of the young adult target group in our current case has motivational issues in the formal learning environment, and the use of learning games is therefore worth investigating as a motivational learning strategy. As meaning can be constructed through the manipulation of materials, which facilitates reflection and new ways of thinking, the use of learning games in education is taken one step further into the building of learning games in collaborative settings. It is proposed that this may be an approach that enables deep and motivational learning processes.

The paper discusses which elements, practices, and processes are essential when creating innovative and motivating learning designs for teachers and adult students. This gamified learning design enables the students to be the designers of their own learning, by allowing them to create their own digital learning games, while implementing learning goals from cross-disciplinary subject matters (Figure 1). Another focus has been to create a learning design that scaffolds the studentsí own learning-game-design process, and enables teachers to evaluate whether the students have been successful in learning their subject matter.

The findings suggest that the current learning design comes partway toward facilitating learning and making the experience engaging. But to enable a deeper learning process, there is room for improvement. Future topics of research are: how students are facilitated in establishing learning goals, how teachers and students engage in the learning experience, and introductory suggestions for students on how to design the learning-experience inside their learning game.