The Human Face in Play Based, Shared, Digital Learning Experiences

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Patterson, Dale
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Sydney, Australia


Students today study in a highly technical and digitally connected educational world. From web based resources, to social media interactions and even gamification of resources, the modern student navigates a world of content and engagement through an interactive digital lens. A key challenge in online delivery is engaging students in a way that stimulates their interest. The applied use of computer game technologies and play based interactions has been demonstrated as offering potential to assist in student engagement. The power of play based systems to enable personal exploration and interaction offers many positive outcomes. This project extended the concept of play based systems for education, with a focus on the addition of human facial interaction, in the form of live video chat between participants engaged in multi-player online game-play. The project involved a randomized control trial of 41 students comparing two online 3D open world multiplayer educational game environments (presenting the same set of learning materials). One environment (face) had the addition of live, on screen, human face based video chat interactions, and one without live video-chat. The results demonstrated similar learning outcomes in both groups, but there was a statistically significant increase in the amount of time students engaged in discussion and in terms of a self-reported sense of engagement with the human face based environments.

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Proceedings of the Australasian Computer Science Week Multiconference

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Human-computer interaction

Science & Technology

Computer Science, Theory & Methods

Computer Game

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Patterson, D, The Human Face in Play Based, Shared, Digital Learning Experiences, Proceedings of the Australasian Computer Science Week Multiconference, 2019