Red Hill Studios received a Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE) grant from the National Science Foundation to discover optimal methods to achieve sustained engagement in educational game play. We are researching what we call AME, the Area of Maximal Engagement.
For this project we are collaborating with PBSKids.org, WestEd, and Knight-Williams Research Communications to evaluate new versions of our Lifeboat To Mars! games on PBSKids.go. We have developed custom data tracking and visualization software to provide both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the observable actions of the game players.
The study aims to answer two key questions:
What is the educational value of a forced progression of levels vs. random selection of levels by the student-player?
The games are built so that each game level maps to a specific concept in a learning progression. Will students perform differently when the games include reinforcement levels (that don’t introduce new concepts)?