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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Adaptive and interactive methods for gathering user preferences in educational games Gauthier, James


Web-based learning environments often use games and simulations to enrich the learning process. Understanding the response of learners to these non-text-based environments is usually accomplished through laboratory testing or field surveys. One common method of gathering user feedback is the "click-to-submit" web-form questionnaire. However, these questionnaires are plagued by low response rates and inconsistent results. Research into survey design reveals many potential problems in the construction and administration of questionnaires — problems that are exacerbated by the nature of communication over the web. With its interactive NFBkids website, the National Film Board of Canada uses web-form questionnaires to gather user feedback. Unfortunately, the web-based questionnaires at NFBkids fail to obtain useful feedback from those who visit the website. Moreover, the managers of NFBkids feel the website fails to create a sense of "community" among the site's users — one of the design goals of NFBkids. By applying existing research into cognitive theory and psycholinguistics to the design of interactive methods of gathering user feedback, this paper investigates an alternative methodology for the collection of user preferences. In addition to the familiar "clickable" web-form, the research described in this paper explores interactive tools that complement web-forms as a method for gathering feedback from users. Real-time, peer-to-peer assessment techniques are introduced as a way to collect valuable user feedback and to foster a sense of peer presence among a community of web users.

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