Thursday, May 3, 2012

Effectiveness of Game-Based Brainstorming

Researchers in Taiwan used versions of a computer-based brainstorming game to test the effectiveness of different types of brainstorming in an online collaborative environment. The article outlines how the game Idea Storming Cube (ISC) was used to test how high school students responded to information-based, game-based, and game-based with peer-like intelligent agent methods of idea generation. The article also details the game-design techniques used to create these tools. I think this is an interesting addition to the class's discussions on game-based learning.


ISC, the game used to conduct the experiment, is inspired by the idea of a rubics cube. Users are told to write on their own face of the cube. When users come up with an original idea, the game rewards them by giving them points and turning the cube and allowing them to see answers from other participants. Users win the game by coming up with the more valid ideas than the other participants.

Researchers used variations of this game to test the different brainstorming methods. ISCinfo tested information sharing by adding a window that let users see all of the group members' ideas as soon as they are created, thereby decreasing the reward for original ideas. ISCgame tested how users performed when the competitive rules applied and they were rewarded for new ideas by being shown another user's list. ISCgame_agent added a peer-like intelligent agent, essentially an idea-generating pseudo-user, to inspire users to think more creatively when they were "idea blocked."  The peer-like intelligent agent was designed to encourage paradigm modification, encouraging students to think outside the bounds of the context.


The game-based learning environment was successful in improving students' generation of ideas. Students who played ISCgame_agent had the best performance. The authors of the study found that the peer-like intelligent agent helped students to think about unexplored categories and generate more ideas about categories rarely covered by students playing ISCgame and ISCinfo.


Huang, C.-C., Yeh, T.-K., Li, T.-Y., & Chang, C.-Y. (2010). The Idea Storming Cube: Evaluating the Effects of Using Game and Computer Agent to Support Divergent Thinking. Educational Technology & Society, 13 (4), 180–191.

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