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Personalization of serious games for learning

Boyan Paskalev Bontchev (Department of Software Technologies, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria)
Valentina Terzieva (Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria)
Elena Paunova-Hubenova (Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Article publication date: 11 January 2021

Issue publication date: 19 May 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present principles for personalization of both learning content and gameplay in serious games for learning, which are based on a combined model of the student that comprises user, learner and player-related aspects of the student’s profile. Each of the considered user, learner and player sub-models has a static and dynamic group of characteristics. These characteristics assist general approaches for learning mazes game personalization applied to embedded mini-games (designed as information units, learning objects and educational tasks) so that to be adjustable and to enable learners to acquire knowledge more effectively.

Design/methodology/approach

A student modelling approach was applied to design the personalization of learning content in the educational maze game and each of them contained mini-games. To evaluate the student’s preferences about the types of mini-games and ways of their personalization depending on individual and group student characteristics, the authors conducted an online survey.

Findings

This study presents examples of personalization of four types of mini-games available in maze halls, namely, question, searching, arranging and action games. Next, the research discusses findings from an online survey aiming at the evaluation of the preferred types of mini-games and the way of their personalization. There are analysed results concerning the impact of the student model characteristics on the preferred ways of personalization in educational maze games, together with criteria for personalization of educational resources according to student’s level of knowledge, age, goals and learning style.

Research limitations/implications

A significant limitation of the research is the relatively small number of survey participants and the lack of studying the impact of learning and playing styles over game personalization. Another limitation of the study is the inclusion of only some of the mini-games within the demonstration maze, which respondents play before answering the survey questions.

Originality/value

This paper presents original research on the personalization of educational maze game based on a model of the student profile that comprises both static and dynamic properties reflecting user, learner and player-related aspects of the student character, together with results obtained from an online survey.

Keywords

Citation

Bontchev, B.P., Terzieva, V. and Paunova-Hubenova, E. (2021), "Personalization of serious games for learning", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 50-68. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-05-2020-0069

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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