Handbook of Learning Analytics

Chapter 15

Game Learning Analytics

Emily Reardon, Vishesh Kumar, & Glenda Revelle


Games are a pervasive cultural phenomenon with intriguing connections to learning, and the use of learning analytics can inform our understanding of learning in the context of games. In this chapter we identify four principles that are fundamental to both compelling gameplay and meaningful learning -- \textbf{agency}, \textbf{engagement}, \textbf{growth}, and \textbf{social connection}. Agency in learners helps them grow and feel safe to fail, persist, and feel ownership of their learning. Engagement, both as great interest and active involvement, is essential to learning, and digital games can be very engaging. Growth involves increases in ability that are developed through effort, perseverance, trying alternative strategies, and seeking help from others. Social connection with other players both within and outside of games facilitates learning. We propose that these four principles serve as an entry point for understanding and conducting game learning analytics work. For each principle we provide examples of evidence-based approaches to the design, measurement, and analysis of learning in game-based contexts to guide thinking and work in the nascent field of game learning analytics. This chapter is intended to be useful not only to game learning analytics practitioners but also to people working in LA-adjacent domains, such as game design, classroom learning, data security, and educational policy. We suggest that designers, practitioners, educators, and learners could all benefit from the translation of academic GLA work into a form that is useful to this broader constituency.

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