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Title: Contribution of Motivational Orientations to Student Outcomes in a Discovery-Based Program of Game Design Learning
Authors: Reynolds, Rebecca
Chiu, Ming Ming
Issue Date: Jul-2012
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS)
Citation: Reynolds, R. & Chiu, M. M. (2012). Contribution of Motivational Orientations to Student Outcomes in a Discovery-Based Program of Game Design Learning. In van Aalst, J., Thompson, K., Jacobson, M. J., & Reimann, P. (Eds.), The Future of Learning: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2012) – Volume 2, Short Papers, Symposia, and Abstracts (pp. 356-360). Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: This paper explored relationships between middle school and high school teams of students' motivational orientation and team outcomes in a guided discovery-based context in which students learned while designing web games. Teams of students with greater initial intrinsic motivation or a greater increase in intrinsic motivation during the activity had higher programming scores. Wiki activity contributed to outcomes. Age was negatively associated with outcomes indicating possibly the program is more conducive to middle school students. Findings contribute to scholarly debates on incompatibilities between discovery learning due to cognitive load, and self-determination theory. Introduction This paper reports findings from the 2009/2010 school year of a Constructionist digital literacy project being conducted with students and educators in the state of West Virginia involving a state-wide network of classrooms engaged in game design learning and purposeful social media use among youth. Middle school, high school and community college students (N = 386) enroll in a blended learning game design elective course offered daily, for 1 or 2 semesters, credit and a grade. The paper explores teams' motivational orientation and active program work in relation to their learning outcomes, in the context of a guided discovery-based curriculum in which students and educators co-learn together in this social learning system. Literature Review Computational game making activities can enhance students' meta-cognition, self-regulation, and computational thinking (e.g., Harel & Papert, 1991; Harel, 1991; Kafai, 1995; Kafai & Ching, 1998; Papert, 1980). Research supporting these findings has been conducted under the educative "framework for action" Constructionism (Papert, 1980; Harel and Papert, 1991). Constructionism draws upon both Piaget's constructivist theory and Vygotsky's social constructivist theory. Adherents design and implement learning innovations and environments that foster learners' conscious creation of a meaningful, computational public artifact (e.g. a game), created and shared in a reflective, workshop environment of peer and expert-guided scaffolding (Harel and Papert, 1991). This study centers on a program of game design that employs a range of web 2.0 technologies including Flash and a wiki e-learning platform. In the co-learning model, the students engage in self-driven learning while their educators are still novices, using the provided resources. This activity can be characterized as guided discovery-based learning. Discovery-based learning While some argue that students can feel frustrated during discovery-based learning, others argue that students can enjoy it (Reynolds & Harel Caperton, 2011). Reynolds & Harel Caperton (2011) find contrasts in student perceptions of both enjoyment and challenge in the discovery-based context investigated here during the prior school year, given that occasionally novice learners must seek out learning supports to meet design needs in the moment. Kirschner, Sweller & Clark (2006) criticize "discovery-based learning" for creating excessive cognitive load due to lack of structure and distraction in the search process that reduces student motivation. In contrast, self-determination theory (SDT, Deci & Ryan, 2008) argues that three primary constructs underlie intrinsically motivated human behavior, and are innate needs: the need for autonomy (to have choice and control over one's life), for competence (to be effective), and for social relatedness (to feel connected to others, loved, and cared for) (Deci & Ryan, 2008; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Deci & Ryan, 1985). Level of autonomy afforded by a given environment, and the intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientation of individuals play roles in their experience and fulfillment. Given the autonomy-supportiveness of the designed intervention, we propose the following hypotheses. Hypotheses. H1. Teams with higher mean intrinsic motivation have higher team scores. Given the guidance, scaffolding and support from both teachers and non-profit staff, along with resources provided in the blended e-learning environment, we expect that even those students who are more controlled in their self- regulation style will also succeed and perform well in the program because the necessary supports have been provided for those who might need them. H2. Teams with more extrinsically-oriented self-regulation have higher team scores. Furthermore, in addition to the generalized holistic inventories outlined above, student motivation towards the specific contextual range of activities in which they engage might be related to subsequent team scores. H3. Teams with greater increases in motivation towards program activities have higher team scores. Finally, given students' active engagement and use of a wiki, we explore the extent to which such activity may contribute to game design outcomes. H4. Teams with more wiki activity have higher team scores.
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