Making Existing Educational Games Adaptive (by AOP)

Type of Thesis: 
Master Thesis

Children are growing up today in a society that is increasingly dependent and driven by digital technology. Schools and teachers need to adapt their way of teaching in order to capture the attention of this new generation of children (the so-called digital natives). One path that is currently being followed and receives a lot of attention is the introduction of Educational games. By Educational games we mean games that are specifically designed to teach people about a specific subject or assist them in learning as they play.

Games provide opportunities that traditional methods of teaching cannot offer, e.g., they can provide simulations that immerse the learner into different situations, or can incorporate social aspects. Games also allow incorporating implicit learning or learning-by-doing which entail that learners do not need to be consciously aware of their learning experiences in order to display learning behavior. Therefore, games may be an interesting learning instrument in specific situations or for children and adults with very low motivation.

On the other hand, there is a bulk of research demonstrating that individualized learning is superior to the uniform approach of more traditional and one-size-fits-all teaching approaches. Therefore, it is important to adapt the educational game dynamically (at runtime) to the individual player/learner and to keep the engagement of the player/learner while he is playing. This is what is called adaptivity. This aspect is not only important from a gaming perspective, but also from a learning perspective.

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how an existing (non-adaptive) educational games can be extended into adaptive educational games.

To start with, an existing educational game (MonkeyTales) will be taken as case study. The purpose is to investigate how it can be turned into an adaptive game without the need to rewrite large parts of the code. Aspect oriented programming (AOP [1]) techniques may be considered for this purpose. Next, and based on the experiences with the case study, a generic approach for extending educational games with adaptivity can be developed.

 

[1] ECOOP'97 — Object-Oriented Programming In ECOOP'97 — Object-Oriented Programming , Vol. 1241 (1997), pp. 220-242.

 

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Background Knowledge: 
  • C++
  • Knowledge of aspect-oriented programming is an adavantage
Technical challenges: 
  • You will learn how to realize adaptive systems
  • You will be able to work with the code of a professionally developed educational game and may have the opportunity to collaborate with the game developing company
  • You will have the opportunity to  experiment with aspect-oriented programming 
Contact: 
Olga De Troyer
Academic Year: 
2011-2012