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Meaningful Play 2018 at Michigan State University

Paper Information

TitleDesigning an Inclusive Playtesting Process Using Cognitive Load Theory
Presenter(s)Elaine Fath, Alexandra To, Geoff Kaufman and Jessica Hammer
SessionPlaytesting and Participatory Design
TimeFriday, October 12, 2:30p-3:30p
LocationLake Ontario
FormatPaper Presentation
DescriptionDesigning effective educational games requires a keen understanding of learner-specific needs and preferences, informed both top-down by learning theories and instructional design practices and bottom-up by extensive playtesting with learners. When not all players are included in both processes, then the final game risks being impactful for only some players - too often this means excluding marginalized and other underrepresented groups (based on factors such as socioeconomic status, race, and gender). Through this case study of iterative playtests at two sites with different demographic characteristics, we identify design issues to consider that may disproportionately affect players with high levels of cognitive load, which prior work has shown disproportionately affects players from marginalized groups. We explore how cognitive load issues might arise in prototype fidelity, game theming, replayability, and game rules, and propose how these issues can be mitigated--and therefore how good playtest data can be collected from all players.

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