AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Digital games for architecture and spatial design: Investigating game design and facilitation of learning

by Dean Utian

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: Education
Year: 2015
Keywords: architecture; digital game; learning; spatial design
Record ID: 1061499
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/54320


The development of design thinking and practice amongst university students is often viewed as problematic. Within higher education architecture and corresponding design disciplines, the design studio remains the pivotal component of the program where students are thrown into the process of design before they know what it actually represents. Over the last few years, the complexity of the design studio has expanded with increased demands of manual and digital representation skills, the acquisition of a range of new software understanding as well as research skills. A key challenge for design teachers is how to manage these expectations while giving students suitable orientation to their selected discipline. Video games, simulations and virtual worlds are current technologies advocated as artefacts and spaces for learning. A deeper understanding of educational game design and alignment to learning outcomes can reveal opportunities for the growing challenges in design disciplines. This study uses a mixed method approach to capture perceptions and personal impact of the use of an educational digital game developed to facilitate spatial understanding and design in a collaborative learning environment. It explores the factors that influence the outcomes of a digital game-based learning (DGBL) approach and uncovers requirements for the design and delivery of a digital game as well as the facilitation of student learning. The study draws findings from developing an educational game, surveying students on their experiences as well as through interviews. In addition, images produced by students as part of the game are analysed. The findings indicate that the students had positive perceptions of the value of a DGBL approach to spatial design and collaborative learning. For many, it facilitated a reflective process and provided scaffolding for subsequent learning within their course study. The research exposes the challenges for students in relation to collaboration, feedback and personalisation. A recommendation emerging from the research is the importance of authentic, situated frameworks, and developing clear roles and strategies for collaboration. In addition opportunities for personalisation and self-expression facilitate the creation of engaging and meaningful experiences in design-based contexts.