Making sense of game-play: How can we examine learning and involvement?

Ioanna Iacovides, James Aczel, Eileen Scanlon, Will Woods


It has been argued that there is still much to be understood about the game-play experience, while there is a need for more rigorous examination of how players interact with games and the sorts of thinking they engage in during play. This paper introduces a set of methods developed to explore these issues via a multiple case study approach, including; game-play observation, cued post-play interview, the collection of physiological data and the use of gaming diaries over a three week period. An examination of the strengths and limitations of the approach adopted is presented with reference to two particular methodological issues (i) how to identify breakdowns and breakthroughs that occur during game-play; (ii) how to identify learning occurring beyond game-play. The paper will conclude by emphasising the importance of taking both micro and macro level experiences into account when it comes to capturing learning and involvement within this context.

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