The aim of the interdisciplinary workshop “Affective and Emotional Aspects of Human-Computer Interaction: Emphasis on Game-Based and Innovative Learning Approaches” is to define new research directions related to affective and emotional approaches to computer-supported learning and human-computer interactions. The workshop is a unique opportunity to bring together, on the one hand, scientists and research contributions from psychology, educational sciences, cognitive sciences, various aspects of communication and human computer interaction, interface design and computer science and, on the other hand, educators and the game industry. The intensive exchange of information from various research fields should open the gates for evolutionary change and new research directions in technology-supported learning.
Part of the research presented at the ESF workshop is published in this book. For the purpose of this book publication, an additional call for chapters was issued to the international research community, so as to obtain contributions worldwide that reflect the current research in this field. Gathered and reviewed, eighteen selected contributions are grouped into three topics: Game-based Learning, Motivation and Learning, and Emotions and Emotional Agents.
To decide how to categorize the contributions was a very difficult task, hence all the contributions explore the learning process as an emotional and personal experience that is addictive and motivates the learner to proactive behavior. The major topics such as emotions, motivation, games and game-experience, though in different equivalents and various priorities, are present in all of the contributions, thus offering a variety of possible solutions for contribution classification. However, I leave the challenge to organize the contributions differently for the next publication.
Jon Sykes, in his contribution Affective Gaming: Advancing the Argument for Game-Based Learning, reflects upon the two-way interaction between game and student, thus enabling the game to react to the student's emotional state. Having the possibility to detect and steer the emotional state of the student could have a positive impact on using digital games in education.
In the chapter Didactic Analysis of Digital Games and Game-Based Learning, the author Matthias Bopp leads us through different games, starting from Pong by Atari to the latest developments in immersive 3D games. He regards these games as virtual environments that 'teach' the player to perform entertaining actions and proposes a schema to analyse the didactic methods of virtual games, featuring situational, temporal and social aspects. Furthermore, Bopp analyses the didactic methods in popular educational games. Concluding, the author asks if some of the didactic methods used in entertaining games may be used to improve educational games and points at same challenges of such an attempt.
Recent research carried out at the UNITEC, University of Technology New Zealand, indicates that some commercial computer games increase cognitive skills and may enhance the participants' ability to learn. Reported research results in the chapter Immersive Environments: What Can We Learn from Commercial Computer Games? by Paul R. Kearney, suggest that the immersive environment of Counter-Strike does in fact enhance multitasking abilities, but this may be in response to the immersive environment that is created rather than the game content itself. The ability of learners to multitask will require a rethink of traditional learning styles, argues the author.
“Why do I identify with a yellow circular shape on my computer screen and feel that shape being a part of me when I play a game of Pac-Man? Why do I engage in the game play process to such a degree that when this yellow thing gets crammed into a corner with no way to run and no way to hide, I feel severe distress and call for help loud and clear and wake my kids in the middle of the night? ...” In his chapter What Is a Game Ego?, Ulf Wilhelmsson strives to find answers to these and similar questions by proposing a framework for understanding computer games from diverse fields of research: film theory (including theories on narration and narratives), theories on visual perception (which are also applicable to sound) and experientialist cognitive theory.
Hakan Tüzün was inspired by the extreme interest and motivation of children to play the Quest Atlantis game (participating in the pure game activities as well as educational tasks with the same intensity). In the chapter Multiple Motivations Framework, he proposes an organizing framework from which to explain things of significance for motivating learners. His research study is based on the qualitative methods, and the research outcomes provide a very different perspective than what is available in understating motivation. The proposed framework is based on multiple elements that contribute to one's motivation and that collectively constitute the activity of motivation, i.e. Duality of Subject, Duality of Activity, Duality of Outcome, Duality of Object, and Context of Support.
In the chapter An Instructional Design/Development Model for the Creation of Game-Like Learning Environments: The FIDGE Model, the authors Göknur Kaplan Akilli and Kürsat Cagiltay tackle issues of the lack of available comprehensive design paradigms and well-designed research studies on the question of “how to” incorporate games into learning environments, that are experienced despite more than thirty years' existence of computer games and simulations in the instructional design movement. Based on the formative research study results and with the inspiration from fuzzy logic, the authors propose an instructional design/development model for creating game-like environments, called the “FIDGE model”. “FIDGE” stands for “Fuzzified Instructional Design Development of Game-like Environments” for learning.
Learning when Using Commercial Computer Games as Simulations: A Case Study Using a Simulation Game is a chapter by Preston P. Parker, where the author looks at using an off-the-shelf commercial computer game, Age of Empires II, as a simulation to facilitate learning Multimedia Production Management and explores the possibilities of implementing a structure—mapping elements of the game to elements in real-life. This study shows that it is possible that learning objectives can be reached when using a commercial computer game with some obvious mappings, but mostly analogous mappings, to reality. The described case also urges further pursuit of studies on how to use off-the-shelf commercial computer games and how to build an intervention around the game that can facilitate achieving a specific learning objective.
Igor Mayer and Geertje Bekebrede review the use and usefulness of digital games and simulations for (e-) learning, training and decision & policy support of technological infrastructures, such as ports, container terminals, off-shore wind farms etc. In their chapter Serious Games and 'Simulation Based E-Learning' for Infrastructure Management, several examples of such applications are presented. Three cases that bear relevance to infrastructure are discussed in more detail as follows: CONTAINERS ADRIFT is a computer-supported simulation-game revolving around the planning and design of an inland container terminal, VENTUM ON LINE is a multi-user on-line role playing game that is concerned with the planning and design of an off shore wind farm, SIM MV2 is an animated and network based simulation game commissioned by the Port of Rotterdam to explore and support the planning and design of its second harbour area (2nd Maasvlakte).
Motivation and Learning
In their contribution Learning and Motivation with Virtual Tutors, authors Manuela Paechter and Karin Schweizer report on their research concerned with social processes in the virtual classroom. “How important is information about a tutor or lecturer in an online seminar?”, “Is social information about the tutor's appearance or his or her voice important for learning?” and similar questions concerning the role of a tutor and the form of communication between a tutor and students, were investigated in a university seminar. It was analyzed whether the absence or presence of social and personal cues in the communication between a tutor and his or her students influence students' learning and their satisfaction with the tutor and the course. The research showed that not all types of personal information are equally important and possibly pictorial information is more important than audible information. At this point the authors conclude that further research needs to be carried out related to these questions.
The aim of the pilot study presented in the chapter Achievement Motivation, Performance Structure, and Adaptive Hypertext Learning was to investigate whether the sound and empirically valid knowledge space theory is able to cover learning and performance in two different motivational states, which were hope for success and fear of failure. These motivational states were combined with two different learning conditions e.g. pre-structured learning sessions within an adaptive tutorial system contrasting to rather free text-based learning. The data collected with 104 high school students in the domain of elementary probability theory indicate that knowledge space theory is able to represent the responses obtained in a post-test for both motivational states, as well as for both learning conditions. The authors Jürgen Heller, Dietrich Albert, Michael Kickmeier-Rust and Markus Kertz conclude that the results of the presented pilot study strongly encourage the research program to integrate cognitive and emotional/motivational aspects into a comprehensive psychological model for adaptive tutorial systems.
An Interactive Dictionary of Concepts: An Exploratory Platform for Enhancing Communication Between the Concepts by Ania Lian, offers a description of a non-commercial, web-based communication platform. The platform was designed in order to facilitate and support a negotiation process between various interest groups and, as a result, between the concepts in which the interests of these groups are embedded. Unlike standard dictionaries, the Interactive Dictionary of Concepts does not come with ready-made entries. Instead, it enables individuals who are investigating various concepts and issues to create their own entries, which are then situated and organised within the constraints of the management structure of the Dictionary. These creative constraints themselves function as tools for stimulating and generating the critical reflection of authors upon the concepts which they are investigating. This is achieved by offering conditions which challenge, enrich and help to systematise the associations which inform the ideas of authors and their beliefs.
The project outlined in the chapter Human-Computer Interaction: Sharing of Intergenerational and Cross-Cultural Knowledge is designed to investigate attitudinal changes amongst young children, undergraduate students, and senior citizens, in both synchronous and asynchronous learning environments when engaged in Web-mediated collaborative knowledge sharing activities. The global eMuseum System (GEMS) research project extends the principles of a Generative Virtual Classroom and Schank's Sickle Cell Counselor, by combining social interaction through linguistics in a communicative collaborative model. The project team manages the complexity of dealing with diverse subjects by adopting three distinct experiential environments. The first involves senior citizens recalling traditional stories and games. The second defines undergraduate student interaction in a multi-cultural setting, while the third relates to young children's propensity for playful sharing of experiential learning materials. The tracking of the collaborative nature of the involvement with the eMuseum will enhance the knowledge of interaction between generations, creating a capacity for emergent innovative global legends, concludes Elspeth McKay.
Apart from providing the right functionality (being useful) and giving access to it (being easy to use), interactive products also provide hedonic qualities when being applied. The hedonic quality has a stimulation and an identity aspect.
The central question of the study outlined by Michael Burmester and Annely Dufner in the chapter Designing the Stimulation Aspect of Hedonic Quality – An Exploratory Study is which type of product features support the stimulation aspect of hedonic quality and whether this quality can be systematically increased in the design process. This exploratory study had the goal to explore types of feature ideas, design principles, and methods in order to design products showing a high degree of the stimulation aspect of the perceived hedonic quality. Based on the combination of theoretic foundations and tacit knowledge of design experts with user centred evaluation of the outcome of design work, successful strategies to design attractive products can be derived.
Emotions and Emotional Agents
In the chapter On the Role of Self Esteem, Empathy and Narrative in the Development of Intelligent Learning Environments, Paul Brna discusses the production of learning environments which enhance the learner's self esteem, ensure that the learner's best interests are respected through paying attention to the narrative structure of the learner's experience, and the ways in which communication can be enhanced through empathy with the learner. The author outlines experiences of using narrative in learning environments and observations made through the examples of the NIMIS project and the T'rrific Tales software, that was designed to both scaffold the development of narrative skills and to actively guide learners. The evidence of the benefits of empathic narrative-based design for explicitly supporting the development of the learner's self esteem is not yet available even if the indications are favourable.
The role of empathy in the construction of synthetic characters to interact with learners in intelligent learning environments is the main focus of the chapter Empathic Characters in Computer-Based Personal and Social Education written by João Dias, Ana Paiva, Marco Vala, Ruth Aylett, Sarah Woods, Carsten Zoll and Lynne Hall. The authors outline an example of an interactive learning virtual environment called Fear-Not!, that uses synthetic characters and role playing, developed as a set of bullying situations, which emerge from the actions and interactions between synthetic characters in a 3D virtual world. The system was designed to evoke affective responses by the users, in this case children, and has been evaluated with 345 children in June 2004. The evaluation results show that empathic interactions were achieved with synthetic characters.
The effectiveness of intelligent tutoring systems, for instance on-line learning systems, can be improved when the learner's emotions are taken into account. A necessary condition for this is that the system will be able to recognize the learner's current emotional state. The authors Mohammed A. Razek, Soumaya Chaffar, Claude Frasson and Magalie Ochs present an extremely simple method that can be used for determining emotional state, the Emotion Recognition Agent (ERA), which is devoted to exploit the natural relation between emotions and colors. By giving a sequence of three colors, a person can express his/her emotion reliably. Based on the ordered choice of colors the ERA system determines someone's emotion with 57.6 % accuracy. “In fact, the recognition of somebody's emotions is known to be one of the central features of, and even a necessary condition for, Emotional Intelligence. Therefore, our system can be seen as a first step towards realizing online tutoring systems that are emotionally intelligent and can use this ability for the sake of improved learning efficiency.” is the conclusion of the authors in their chapter Using Machine-Learning Techniques to Recognize Emotions for On-Line Learning Systems.
In their paper A Framework for Emotional Agents as Tutoring Entities, the authors Bogdan Florin Marin, Axel Hunger and Stefan Werner show how they integrate agent technology to support collaborative learning in distributed environments. The aim of their research is to provide the first steps in defining a method for creating a believable tutor agent which can partially replace human teachers and assist the students in the process of learning. The authors postulate that the application of emotional animated agents in online learning environments as a tutoring paradigm can be beneficial and increase the learners' motivation. The prototype agent is able to display emotions by means of synthetic speech, facial display and gestures. Verbal and non-verbal behavior is synthesized in the agent's mental model and interpreted in a learning-session. In the paper the authors also discuss the premises under which emotional agents can be pedagogically effective as tutors in a collaborative learning environment.
Cyrus F. Nourani addresses affective computing with a new haptic computing logic. The author argues that “if there is a Gestalt model for the world decided on, the answer might be affirmative. From our published perspective we are where the objects are described with languages as Frege intended, modeled by structures, which can be examined by Kant's transcendental Idealism, and their computability and reducibility areas Hilbert arithmetized. Hence there is a systematic basis to carry out concept-object descriptions for machine discovery, a premise to an illusion logic is developed ”. In his paper A Haptic Computing Logic – Agent Planning, Models, and Virtual Trees, the author discusses questions such as 'are intelligent decisions based on emotions?' He also suggests other related issues that influence creativity, planning, perception, and mood-congruent memory retrieval, with precise computing and cognitive models. These “foundations are applied to present a brief on Computational Illusion, affective computing, and virtual reality.”