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Benefits of a game-based cognitive interface for knowledge work – from basic effects and neural correlates to neuropsychological rehabilitation

Project description

From a psychological perspective, digital games for learning can be described as a cognitive interface, transferring knowledge between the individual and a digital environment. Importantly, game-based learning environments provide engaging interfaces between individuals and digital information environments to augment and potentially outperforming traditional educational settings This is particularly important for knowledge-intensive contexts (requiring ‘knowledge work’), such as numerical and mathematical cognition, which is of considerable importance in everyday life. Therefore, in the current project we evaluate the benefit of an adaptive game-based cognitive interface for conceptual number knowledge.

Game-based learning environments use interaction as well as information design and finely balanced mechanisms to maintain users’ attention and motivation, making it a highly functional medium for conveying learning content. However, to better understand effects, potentials, and the applicability of a game-based cognitive interface as a specific representational format for conveying learning content, we will investigate its influence on the learning process on three different levels of processing: (i) Cognitive processing: in all studies we are interested in the learning outcome as the crucial indicator for whether a game-based cognitive interface is superior to a non-game-based equivalent. (ii) Emotional processing: we will specifically evaluate whether a game-based cognitive interface induces more positive emotions, which in turn should further enhance learning performance. (iii) Neurofunctional processing: we will specify the neurofunctional underpinnings of game-based learning and its rewarding nature to further clarify the origins of its beneficial effects. 

Finally, in addition to these aspects addressing questions of basic research we will apply our game-based cognitive interface to elderly neuropsychological patients who may benefit specifically from a game-based cognitive interface. The current project, thus, not only clarifies the cognitive, emotional, and neurofunctional underpinnings of game-based learning, but also evaluates its applicability to a new target group.

  1. ProjeCt Team


Greipl, S., Moeller, K., Ninaus, M. (in press). Potential and Limits of Game-Based Learning. International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning.

Greipl, S., Ninaus, M., Bauer, D., Kiili, K., & Moeller, K. (2019). A fun-accuracy trade-off in game-based learning. In International Conference on Games and Learning Alliance (GALA 2018) - Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Cham. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11548-7_16 

Kiili, K.,Koskinen, A., Lindstedt, A., & Ninaus, M. (2019). Extending a Digital Fraction Game Piece by Piece with Physical Manipulatives. In International Conference on Games and Learning Alliance – Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11548-7_15

Kiili, K., Koskinen, A., & Ninaus, M. (2019). Intrinsic integration in rational number games – A systematic literature review. In J. Koivisto & J. Hamari (Eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd International GamiFIN Conference (pp. 35–46). Pori: CEUR Workshop Proceedings. http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-2359/paper4.pdf

Kiili, K., Lindstedt, A., & Ninaus, M. (2018). Exploring characteristics of students’ emotions, flow and motivation in a math game competition. In J. Koivisto & J. Hamari (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2nd International GamiFIN Conference (pp. 20–29). Pori: CEUR Workshop Proceedings. http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-2186/paper3.pdf 

Kiili, K., Moeller, K., & Ninaus, M. (2018). Evaluating the effectiveness of a game-based rational number training - In-game metrics as learning indicators. Computers & Education, 120, 13–28. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.01.012 

Kiili, K., Ojansuu, K., Lindstedt, A., & Ninaus, M. (2018). Exploring the Educational Potential of a Game-Based Math Competition. International Journal of Game-Based Learning, 8, 14-28. https://dx.doi.org/10.4018/IJGBL.2018040102 

Kober, S. E., Ninaus, M., Friedrich, E. V. C., & Scherer, R. (2018). BCI and Games: Playful, Experience-Oriented Learning by Vivid Feedback? In C. S. Nam, A. Nijholt, & F. Lotte (Eds.), Brain–Computer Interfaces Handbook: Technological and Theoretical Advances. Boca Raton: CRC Press - Taylor & Francis Group.

Ninaus, M., Greipl, S., Kiili, K., Lindstedt, A., Huber, S., Klein, E., Karnath, HO., & Moeller, K. (2019). Increased emotional engagement in game-based learning - A machine learning approach on facial emotion detection data. Computers & Education, 142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2019.103641

Ninaus, M., Kiili, K., Siegler, R. S., & Moeller, K. (2017). Data-Driven Design Decisions to Improve Game-Based Learning of Fractions. In J. Dias, P. A. Santos, & R. C. Veltkamp (Eds.), Games and Learning Alliance (pp. 3–13). Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71940-5_1 

Ninaus, M., Moeller, K., McMullen, J., & Kiili, K. (2017). Acceptance of Game-Based Learning and Intrinsic Motivation as Predictors for Learning Success and Flow Experience. International Journal of Serious Games, 4, 15–30. https://dx.doi.org/10.17083/ijsg.v4i3.176 

Conference Contributions

Greipl, S., Kiili, K., Bieck, S. M., Moeller, K., & Ninaus, M. (2018). Effectiveness and benefits of game-based training for rational number understanding. 36th European Workshop of Cognitive Neuropsychology. Bressanone, Italy. [Talk]

Greipl, S., Kiili, K., Lindstedt, A., Moeller, K., Klein, E., Karnath, HO., & Ninaus, M. (2018). Quantifying emotions in a game-based vs a non-games-based learning task. 2nd VECTOR Workshop on Virtual Environments: Current TOpics in psychological Research. Tübingen. [Talk]

Greipl, S., Kiili, K., Moeller, K., Klein, E., Karnath, H. O., & Ninaus, M. (2018). Increased emotional engagement in game-based learning. European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI). Special Interest Group (SIG) 8: Motivation and Emotion - 16th International Conference on Motivation (ICM 2018). Aarhus, Dänemark. [Talk]

Ninaus, M. (2018). Emotional engagement in game-based learning. Invited talk held at the International Summit on Serious Health Games, London, United Kingdom. [Keynote]

Ninaus, M., Greipl, S., Kiili, K., Lindstedt, A., Klein, E., Karnath, HO, & Moeller, K. (2019). Increased emotional arousal in game-based learning. 18th Biennial EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction, Aachen, Germany. [Talk]

Ninaus, M., Greipl, S., Kiili, K., & Moeller, K. (2018). Increased emotional engagement in game-based math learning. International Symposium on Dyslexia & Dyscalculia: Digital Diagnostics, Intervention, and Game-Based Learning. Munich, Germany. [Poster]

Ninaus, M., Greipl, S., Kiili, K., & Moeller, K. (2018). Game-based training of rational number knowledge. Workshop on Integrating Educational and Cognitive Perspectives on Mathematics. Tübingen. [Talk]

Ninaus, M., & Moeller, K., (2018). Semideus - A game-based approach on rational number learning: From Design to Implementation. Invited talk held at the Behavioural Science Institute, Nijmegen, Netherlands. [Talk]

Ninaus, M., Kiili, K., Moeller, K., & Kober, S. (2019) Same, but different - Investigating effects of gamification on NLE performance using eye-tracking. 2nd Mathematical Cognition and Learning Society (MCLS) conference, Ottawa, Canada. [Talk]

Ninaus, M., Kiili, K., Siegler, R. S., Moeller, K. (2017, Dezember). Data-driven design decisions to improve game-based learning of fractions.  International Games and Learning Alliance conference. GALA 2017. Lissabon, Portugal. [Talk]