Volume 15(2), 2019-06, 226—255

Players' progression through GraphoGame, an early literacy game: Influence of game design and context of play

Morten Njå
Norwegian Centre for Reading Education and Research
University of Stavanger
Norway

Researchers of serious games frequently investigate outcomes of play but overlook the underlying game-design components that drive those outcomes. In this paper, I aim to show how game design and context of play influence progression through GraphoGame, an early-literacy game. This is done by means of two intersecting studies. The first study shows how the game can be represented by a model that explicitly hypothesizes how the interaction between the player and the game drives progression. The second study explores user data generated by first graders (N = 137) who played the game over a period of 25 weeks as part of early literacy instruction. The juxtaposition of these two studies reveals factors that influence progression. I also highlight an underdeveloped area within the research field and point to the benefits that bridging game design and outcomes of play may hold for researchers, game developers, and educators.

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