By Laura Benton (UCL Knowledge Lab)

This month the UCL iRead team returned to the CHI conference (2019 Conference of Human Factors in Computing Systems) to present some follow-up research focused on IMG-20190508-WA0013the instructional design within existing reading games for children and also to demonstrate the latest version of the Navigo game. These submissions were also supported by the teams from University of Gothenburg, NTUA and Fish in a Bottle.

CHI is the biggest international conference for human-computer interaction (HCI) research and this year was the biggest yet with around 4000 attendees and over 20 different simultaneous sessions. This year the conference took place in Glasgow, UK.

Our paper was included as part of the technical program during the Serious Games session and was entitled “What’s Missing: The Role of Instructional Design in Children’s Games-Based Learning”. We presented a study which involved pupils from three of our design schools and explored young children’s breakdowns in popular reading games (Reading Eggs and Teach Your Monster to Read) as well as the strategies they use to recover from these. We identified that many breakdowns caused by trivial usability issues which children found it difficult to recover from. We also identified particular aspects of the game that encouraged the use of strategies that enabled children to recover from errors. The paper concludes with intrinsic and extrinsic instructional design recommendations for both game designers and primary teachers to better support children’s learning within games. You can read the full paper here.

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We also participated in the Demonstration track which showcases this year’s most exciting interactive technologies and installations from industry, research, startups, maker communications, the arts, and design. The Demonstrations kicked off with a launch event on the first evening of the conference and also took place during the coffee breaks for the rest of the week. This gave us a great opportunity for us to share the Navigo game prototype with many different conference attendees, who were really impressed with both the quality of the game and underlying design. You can find out more about our game design principles here.

During the conference we even got the chance to experience some true Scottish culture which included some ceilidh dancing in a beautiful converted church!

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