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What World of Warcraft is Teaching Us About Learning.

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Title:What World of Warcraft is Teaching Us About Learning.
Authors:Ackerman, Lynette N. K.
Contributors:Learning Design and Technology (department)
Keywords:World of Warcraft
Social Cognitive Learning
21st Century Skills
Learning Support.
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:Video games are a growing multi-billion dollar industry. Pew Internet & American Life Project (2008) reported that 97 percent of teens ages 12 to 17 years play computer, web, portable, or console games. Of the various genres that were reported, 36 percent of teens played role playing games and 21 percent played massively multiplayer online games. The purpose of this mixed methods case study was to explore and examine the popular massively multiplayer role playing game World of Warcraft as an informal learning environment by examining adolescent game perceptions and experiences. The results will help educators and others to better understand the video game and the implications for formal and informal learning environments. The research was guided by the questions, “How does the World of Warcraft MMORPG serve as a learning environment? What game components support learning? What are game players learning?”
Study participants consisted of nine students in grades 8 through 10 in Hawaii public and charter schools. They played World of Warcraft daily, completing game quests and earning experience points and rewards. Participants wrote about their game interactions at the end of each game period; explaining characters, events, and game choices. Participants also answered survey questions regarding demographics and perceptions of self-efficacy and self-regulation and use of 21st century skills in the game world.
The researcher coded participant responses and found that participants were learning and practicing 21st century skills (critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and communication, and creativity and innovation). Further inquiry revealed that the WoW environment incorporated three areas that aided learning: social cognitive theory, community, and game design components that provided learning support (agency, reinforcement and feedback, graphic user interface, and storytelling).
The results showed that World of Warcraft was a learning environment that integrated learning theory, community, and game design to engage and motivate participants to achieve goals within a video game framework. In addition, WoW offered collaborative experiences across participant differences to achieve common goals. The game was a great equalizer, turning a blind eye to stereotypes of real-world race, ability, and gender as participants practiced 21st century skills in a virtual world of possibilities.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Learning Design and Technology

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