Date of Original Version

7-2009

Type

Conference Proceeding

Abstract or Description

Games are increasingly being adapted for use as educational tools. One relatively new use of games is to facilitate learning social or interpersonal skills such as conflict resolution by simulating human behavior with virtual characters. This work investigates students' social goals to understand how they help motivate students to acquire cultural understanding in BiLAT, one such system designed to teach cross-cultural negotiation skills. We hypothesized that students who were given explicit social goals (e.g. “Come to understand your partner’s point of view”) would be more successful learning from the game than students who were given task-only goals. We ran a randomized controlled experiment in which 59 students played BiLAT. 30 students played the game as designed, with negotiation task goals. 29 were additionally given a social goal. The results did not confirm our hypothesis – the group without the social goal learned more according to most measures. However, on further investigation, students who reported having social goals in a manipulation check, regardless of condition, seemed to learn the most. These results suggest that social goals and interactions are important in learning cultural negotiation, but that setting explicit social goals may not be the right scaffold.

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Published In

Proceedings of the Workshop on Intelligent Educational Games, 14th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education.