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Durham e-Theses
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An Investigation Into The Use Of E-Learning Resources Within An Environmental Context For Schools

STEPHENSON, ANDREW, LEWIS (2013) An Investigation Into The Use Of E-Learning Resources Within An Environmental Context For Schools. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The premise of this study was to take a game-based learning and investigate whether pupil engagement was enhanced through an environmental context and a competitive environment. Despite game-based learning being an active research area, there appears to be a relatively slow uptake by teachers (Axe & Routledge, 2011) which perhaps gives light to a certain pragmatism amongst teachers to adopt games in education. However, credibility is given to this body of research by a number of prominent authors (Becta, 2001; Kirriemuir & McFarlane, 2003; Shaffer, Squire, Halverson & Gee, 2004). Research has shown the most effective way of integrating game-based learning is to firstly identify the pedagogy for the learning tool and then wrap this with gamified elements (Gee 2003; Gee 2004). What this study aimed to do was provide a system where pupils could learn about environmental topics through a series of educational activities during a prescribed set of trials in school but also have the opportunity to use the system as much or as little as they liked outside of school hours. In addition, this study introduced a contextualised scenario which challenged participants to make decisions based on both moral and competitive judgement in order to determine whether there was an underlying pattern of competitive behaviour or whether users were motivated by more than just winning, a suggestion made by Deen & Schouten 2011).

As a concept, gaming strategies are ways that participants utilise an educational tool to win or succeed at the game-based element without explicitly fulfilling the pedagogical purpose. Literature suggests mixed results with previous studies as to the demographic profiles of participants who employ gaming strategies and also their motivations behind those strategies (Baker et al, 2004; Baker et al, 2005). This study aimed to identify basic demographic information for participants who used gaming strategies throughout the usage of this contextual e-learning system as well as the ways in which various strategies were used.

One of the fundamental parts of this study was a feature designed to test whether participants were more likely to exhibit selfish or morally responsible behaviour when posed with a number of environmental disaster scenarios. The questions took the form of Environmental Decision Points and provided users with an environmental disaster scenario and three options carrying different points values. The decision participants had to make was whether they chose the more selfish option (and progressed further up their class league table) or whether they took the socially responsible option (where they could perhaps feel better inside but had nothing tangible to show).

Overall, this study was designed to further learning in the areas of game-based learning, contextualised learning and gaming strategies within a cohort of Primary and Secondary school pupils.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 Mar 2013 10:33

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