Video Game Representations as Cues for Collaboration and Learning

Matthew Sharritt and Daniel Suthers

NOTE: This paper was selected by the program committee as a Meaningful Play 2008 Top Paper. It has been submitted to the Meaningful Play 2008 Special Issue of the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS), which will be available in July-September 2009 issue. Due to the copyright requirements of the journal, only the abstract is available in the conference proceedings.


Literature suggests that games can support learning in schools in several ways: by enabling creative problem solving, allowing dynamic resource allocation, and by providing a motivating, immersive activity. However, research is needed to examine how exactly games are utilized for learning. A descriptive, inductive study was carried out to identify how high school students in a school setting actually make use of the video game interface and its representations. Results demonstrate that specific cues grab attention, helping to focus efforts on new or underutilized game tasks. Also, consistent and well organized visualizations encourage learning and collaboration among students. In general, the design of game representations and behaviors can help guide student learning.