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It is obvious that game interaction happens across time, yet gaming research continues to use static designs. Consideration needs to be given to learning across time. Games are uniquely positioned for this type of research because the medium can also be used to collect data dynamically, through keystroke tracking. Careful research design can reveal common dynamics associated with decision-making, discovery strategies, attention allocation, and other key dynamical processes. What are the driving parameters that we need to understand and what types of behavior do they engender?


More research has been done in this area than any other mentioned in this section. However, game motivation research has rarely examined educational games in the larger ecology of entertainment. Is it realistic to imagine an educational game generating enough interest to draw players away from media that is designed only for entertainment? Or will educational gaming work primarily as a formal, graded school activity, where the primary motivation is supplied by grades?


What types of challenges are effective in educational games? Specifically, can we assume that all learners will have adequate mastery of game mechanics to overcome the intrinsic challenges of a learning game? One game I played assumed a knowledge of first-person shooter mechanics that I didn’t have; my potential learning was defeated before I started. If a child spends two hours of his homework time trying to figure out how to simply navigate the game world, how much education content is being learned?

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