Game Based Learning

It is a known fact that, learning by experience is more efficient than learning by studying. To give the chance to the students to learn by experience, the researchers are trying to find out ways and means of providing virtual learning environments to the students. As a result of which the concept of “Edutainment” has sprung up. Now it has been realized that the usage of computer games for educational purposes offer a variety of opportunities to apply the knowledge within a virtual world facilitating the learning process. That is because, rather than studying the theory and imagining what would happen, the students have the opportunity to make observations depending on the experiments in an imaginary world. The students can do various experiments, by changing the situation and acting various roles. Hence the students can acquire a vast store of knowledge which they cannot acquire in the real world. Sometimes the students may have the chance to develop their personality and communication skills by interacting with various types of people. This innovative education paradigm called “Game based learning” helps students of various age levels to develop their learning process. No matter it is primary, secondary or higher education, we can apply this concept to any educational system to enhance it.
Nowadays various types of online games exist such as action games, adventure and role playing games, arcade games, action games, adventure and role playing games, arcade games, strategy games, simulation games, driving games etc. There are several reasons which compel a computer game player to get engaged in such games. Some of the benefits they get from them are pleasure, ability to face challenges, and a chance to get immersed into an imaginary world.
These games can be used to improve the subject knowledge of the students and such games are not only limited to Computer Science subjects, but also they are related to psychology, youth, media and cultural studies. In addition to these games there are some games especially for kids to improve their mathematical knowledge, awareness of the spellings, team playing, and strategy planning.
Presently, there are various types of simulations to teach some practical subjects. For example, we can show the simulations that have been implemented to give the training to military staffs. By using such games, the soldiers can get an idea as to how they could face unexpected sudden attacks from the enemies. Likewise it is better to give a game to be played by the students relevant to their subject matters, before their teacher starts that lesson. Hence the students can have the basic idea of the lesson and it would be a great help for them to understand the theory very clearly.

Motivation
At present the role of the teachers is to teach everything they know to the students rather than encouraging them to learn by themselves. As a result of that, the thinking ability of the students is limited to that frame.
We all know that learning by experience is more efficient than learning by studying. As mentioned earlier, it has been realized that the usage of computer games for educational purposes offer a variety of opportunities to apply the knowledge within a virtual world facilitating the learning process by introducing the concept called “Edutainment”. As this latest education paradigm called “Game based learning” helps students of various age levels in their learning process, it has been decided to introduce this ground breaking concept called “game based learning” to the students of the UCSC.

Aims and Objectives
In Computer Science field, there are lots of algorithms to be taught to the students. As these algorithms are somewhat difficult to understand we thought of applying the “Game based learning" to teach the algorithms. The main objective of this research is to scrutinize the adaptability of this concept to teach the Computer Science related algorithms while introducing the “Game Based Learning” to the UCSC students.

Project Scope
First of all we selected “Operating Systems” subject module to create a game as it is somewhat difficult to the students to learn and understand. Throughout this project we implemented a simple game to teach one of the algorithms in Operating Systems course module called “Peterson Algorithm”.

Deliverables
The ultimate goal of this project is to generate a simple game to give the idea of the “Peterson Algorithm” to the students before their lecturer delivers the relevant lecture.

Publications
Jayasinghe, U., Dharmaratne, A. & Hewagamage, K.P. (2010). Application of Edutainment in Computer Science Studies. In J. Sanchez & K. Zhang (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2010 (pp. 1372-1377). Chesapeake, VA: AACE

U. Jayasinghe, A.T. Dharmaratne, A Game-Based Learning Approach to Teach Computer Science Concepts, Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, CG Publisher, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 2010.

U. Jayasinghe, A.T. Dharmaratne, A Game-Based Learning Approach to Teach Computer Science Concepts, in Ubiquitous Learning Conference 2010, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada: Dec, 2010.