“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”
Winston Churchill

Computer game industry manages more money than film industry. Nowadays more and more people play more and more with more and more games. This drives e-learning authors to think about games as a field to put their attention, because some studies [1] have shown that enhanced learning which is fun can be more effective. The main characteristic of an educational game is the fact that instructional content is blurred with game characteristics.

This idea is not new. Sesame Street was based about a single breakthrough insight: if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them [2]. And the program held their attention entertained them, because it was fun.

According to these ideas, we are working on an educational game called Javy which teaches the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) structure and the compilation concepts. The system presents a metaphorical 3D virtual environment which simulates the JVM. The user is symbolized as an avatar which is used to interact with the virtual objects. The environment is also populated by a pedagogical agent called Javy (JavA taught VirtuallY) who is able to perform two main functions:

  • Monitor the student whilst they are solving a problem with the purpose of detecting the errors they make in order to give them advice or guidance.
  • Resolve by itself the exercise giving explanation at each step.

Nowadays we are also interested in the inclusion of engaging stories that help the system to maintain student attention. When learning content blurs with game story, the concept of game-based learning appears. We have a rough draft of the script of our game.

Another point of research is using Case Based Reasoning (CBR) and its variant Case based teaching (CBT) in order to generate explanations using former student exercises.


[1] Cordova, D.I. & Lepper, M.R. Intrinsic motivation and the process of learning: Beneficial effects of contextualization, personalization, and choice. Journal of Educational Psychology, 1996, 88, 715-730

[2] Prensky, M. Digital Game-Based Learning, Chapther 2, The Games Generations: How Learners Have Changed. McGraw Hill, 2001

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