The project’s research aims at solving problems in educational practice and developing sustainable innovations. Consequently, the project adopted a Design-Based Research methodology (DBR; Van den Akker et al., 2006) and a User-Centered approach of designing, testing and redesigning. For this purpose, the project involves teachers and students in an iterative process of co-design sessions and usability tests in several project stages.
DBR emerged out of the need to adapt research to practice and bridge the gap between design and theory in the study of formal education contexts. It stands in contrast to more “traditional” research approaches, such as experimental designs, surveys or correlational analyses, which focus on descriptive knowledge and provide few guidelines to address a variety of design and development problems in the field of education (Van den Akker et al., 2006). As DBR emphasizes the design of the intervention and its adaptation to the specific context, it positively impacts the planned implementation. Finally, the approach also seeks to develop communicable theories and scientific findings on learning and teaching, making the scientific development process relevant to practitioners and researchers alike (see Reinmann, 2005).
Reinmann, G. (2005). Innovation ohne Forschung? Ein Plädoyer für den Design-Based Research-Ansatz in der Lehr-Lernforschung. Unterrichtswissenschaft, 33(1), 52--69.
Van Den Akker, J., Gravemeijer, K., McKenney, S., and Nieveen, N. (2006). Introducing educational design research. Educational design research, 1, 3-7.
First formative evaluation
The first large formative evaluation cycle was carried out in spring 2019. The school trials aimed to gradually extend and improve the original game concept as well as the gamified, media-supported learning scenarios in several consecutive steps so that a playable version could be tested at the end of the cycle.
Co-design sessions included the following steps
- Collaborative development of the GameLet Gameboard, its playing fields and interactions
- Playtesting to balance game mechanics, such as game rules and level structures
- Further development of the meaningful game concept along a radio play narrative
- Character design workshop regarding appearance and behavior characters in the story
- Testing the integration of didactically proven tasks to promote reading fluency
- User tests using paper prototypes and digital click dummies on smartphones and PCs