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Vaniver comments on Open Thread, April 1-15, 2013 - Less Wrong Discussion

3 Post author: Vaniver 01 April 2013 03:00PM

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Comment author: Vaniver 05 April 2013 08:51:31PM 8 points [-]

Pokemon is an example of what an educational game which doesn't care about realism could look like. People should be expected to learn the game, not the reality, and that will especially be the case when the game diverges from reality to make it more fun/interesting/memorable. If you decide that the most interesting way to get people to play an interactive version of Charles Darwin collecting specimens is to make him be a trainer that battles those specimens, then it's likely they will remember best the battles, because those are the most interesting part.

One of the research projects I got to see up close was an educational game about the Chesapeake; if I remember correctly, children got to play as a fish that swum around and ate other fish (and all were species that actually lived in the Chesapeake). If you ate enough other fish, you changed species upwards; if you got eaten, you changed species downwards. In the testing they did afterwards, they discovered that many of the children had incorporated that into their model of how the Chesapeake worked; if a trout eats enough, it becomes a shark.

Comment author: gwern 05 April 2013 09:13:04PM 2 points [-]

I'd like to hear more about that Chesapeake result.

Comment author: Vaniver 05 April 2013 09:41:14PM *  3 points [-]

I'm seeing if I can find a copy of their thesis. I'll share it if I manage to.

The GAMER thesis is here. (Also looking for an official copy.)

The ILL thesis is here.