Dynamic modeling as a cognitive regulation scaffold for developing complex problem-solving skills in an educational massively multiplayer online game environment
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Following a design-based research framework, this article reports two empirical studies with an educational MMOG, called McLarin's Adventures, on facilitating 9th-grade students' complex problem-solving skill acquisition in interdisciplinary STEM education. The article discusses the nature of complex and ill-structured problem solving and, accordingly, how the game-based learning environment can facilitate complex problem-solving skill acquisition. The findings of the first study point to the importance of supporting cognitive regulation of students for successful complex problem-solving skill acquisition in digital game-based learning. The findings of the follow-up study show that when scaffolded by dynamic modeling, students made significant improvement in their complex problem-solving outcomes. Implications drawn from the findings of these two studies are discussed related to: (1) educational game design strategies to effectively facilitate complex problem-solving skill development; and (2) stealth or embedded assessment of progress in complex problem solving during digital game-based learning. © 2011, Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.
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