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Defining perplexity and reflective thinking in a game-based learning environment

Ekta Shokeen (College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)
David Weintrop (College of Education, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)
Anthony James Pellicone (University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)
Peter Francis Moon (College of Education, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)
Diane Ketelhut (Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)
Michel Cukier (University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)
Jandelyn Dawn Plane (Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 31 March 2023

Issue publication date: 12 April 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the role of perplexity in young players’ experiences within an educational videogame and how reflective thinking can help them to get out of perplexing scenarios.

Design/methodology/approach

We used a constructivist grounded theory approach and the lenses of Dewey’s conceptualization of perplexity and reflective thinking to examine young players’ in-game experiences.

Findings

We find that perplexity in gameplay is an experience that occurs when players encounter uncertainty about where to go or what to do next in the game. Findings reveal that while playing an educational game players engaged in two forms of perplexity – exploration-based and puzzle-based. Additionally, we unpack how players overcome these perplexing scenarios by reflecting on the information provided in the game.

Research limitations/implications

While in a state of perplexity, reflecting on the in-game information aids players to think and make meaning, thus supporting learning. We provide suggestions for how to better utilize perplexity as an in-game design mechanism to encourage young players to reflect on in-game information.

Originality/value

This empirical study is original in its context of studying the phenomenon of perplexity in videogames and young players’ in-game reflection experiences.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the funding support of the [Anonymized]. Also, The authors thank the students who participated in this study for sharing their experiences with us.

Corrigendum: It has come to the attention of the publisher that the article: Shokeen, E., Weintrop, D., Pellicone, A.J., Moon, P.F., Ketelhut, D., Cukier, M. and Plane, J.D. (2023), “Defining perplexity and reflective thinking in a game-based learning environment”, Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 124 Nos 3/4, pp. 110-127, https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-10-2022-0112 did not initially include funding information.

The funding information is as below:

The authors acknowledge the funding support of the U.S. Department of Defense. The views and conclusions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Department of Defense or U.S. Government. Also, the authors thank the students who participated in this study for sharing their experiences with us.

Citation

Shokeen, E., Weintrop, D., Pellicone, A.J., Moon, P.F., Ketelhut, D., Cukier, M. and Plane, J.D. (2023), "Defining perplexity and reflective thinking in a game-based learning environment", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 124 No. 3/4, pp. 110-127. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-10-2022-0112

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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