Point of departure for this project is the observation that digital learning games suffer from various deficits that severely impair their effectiveness as a learning tool. For example, they do not make use of the motivating power of elaborate story telling.
ELEKTRA's response to this problem is to link research in the field of pedagogy with neuroscience, cognitive science and computer science. This will bridge the gap between cognitive theory and gaming practice and help to assess the cognitive potential of learning games and to put their development on solid scientific grounds. The neuroscience part of ELEKTRA will study the effectiveness of different teaching/learning scenarios by event-related brain imaging in combination with psychological learning tests. ELEKTRA's vision is to make learning as exciting for learners as leading-edge computer games are exciting for gamers. This vision shall be realised in the form of an immersive 3D world for learning that uses state-of-the-art game design techniques for visualisation, interaction and storytelling.
ELEKTRA's 3D world will visualise learning topics as highly interactive virtual landscapes, conceived as a 'garden of knowledge' through which the learner can perambulate freely or by following the guidance of a storyline and/or a game character. This typical concept for game-play comprises a user-centric perspective, supported by multimodal concepts for learning paths and learner models. Narration ('the original form of teaching') will be part of the didactic design. The game-play will be enhanced with interactive dramaturgy and direction in order to drive the storytelling and deepen the immersion of the learner into the learning topic. Monitoring and assessment of the learner will be integrated in a way that enables a situated and activity-driven learning experience. The virtual learning environment will react in relation to the learner's behaviour and cognitive state and to the learning progress represented in the learner model. Target groups for these next generation learning games are secondary school children and university students.
ELEKTRA is set up as a multi-disciplinary project. The consortium combines research expertise in the fields of cognitive science, pedagogical theory and neuroscience with the design techniques of computer games and e-learning.