June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Computers in Education
26.1637.1 - 26.1637.13
Usability Evaluation of a Videogame-based Educational LaboratoryTaking advantage of videogame technology, game-based virtual laboratories are able to offerpromising immersive and collaborative learning experiences. Research indicates that such virtuallaboratories can be viable alternative platforms for laboratory learning activities with specialadvantages in distance education applications. Various researchers also evaluated whetherstudents learned target knowledge via virtual laboratory exercises. However, several questionsemerged during these evaluations: Can students complete this new form of laboratory exercises,which they have not encountered before, in an effective way? What are the factors that affecttheir performance during the laboratory exercise?This article tries to answer these questions by assessing the students’ performances in twovideogame-based virtual gear train laboratories. Simple and planetary gear train scenarios weredesigned and implemented on the basis of Garry’s Mod, a sand-box 3D game utilizing theSource game engine. 94 junior-year undergraduate students taking a Machine Dynamics andMechanisms course were assessed right after completing the lecture and homework of thechapter on gear system design and modeling. Most of these students were randomly divided intolaboratory groups of 2 while the remainder conducted the laboratory exercises alone, thusserving as control group to assess the students’ collaboration in such laboratories. In order tosimulate a remote learning scenario, the group members were physically separated into tworooms so that they could not communicate directly with each other but could do so only by text-chatting within the virtual laboratory. A teaching assistant was present in each room to help thesestudents.In order to evaluate the usability of this videogame-based laboratory, a data set containing thestudents’ videogame background, their overall performance in the course, and a game log werecollected and analyzed. The log tracks their activities during the laboratory exercises, theircompletion time for the exercises, as well as their text-chatting frequency. It was discovered that,from the perspective of the viability of this laboratory approach, the students generally were ableto complete the exercises within a suitable amount of time regardless of their prior videogameexperience (both exercises were designed to be completed within one hour). From the point ofview of performance, those students with better overall performance in the course tended tocomplete the laboratory exercise with fewer mistakes. From the perspective of studentcollaboration, the text-chatting frequency varied from group to group and the grouped studentsmade more mistakes than the students working individually.
Chang, Y., & Aziz, E. S., & Zhang, Z., & Zhang, M., & Esche, S. K. (2015, June), Usability Evaluation of a Virtual Educational Laboratory Platform Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24973
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