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Assessment Frameworks for Epistemic Games


Contemporary video games are profoundly engaging and motivating to young people, and a growing body of research on epistemic games, or games based on professional practices shows that epistemic games that simulate professional training can make deep and powerful learning available to students. In epistemic games, players develop expertise by playing as novices training to be professionals such as engineers, urban planners, science journalists, and so on. In these games, however, players are not just “playing around” and doing whatever they want. Direct mentoring by experts is part of any professional training, thus explicit guidance is part of an epistemic game. But the mentoring is the kind of mentoring that professionals get in their training experiences, rather than the traditional direct instruction of school-based learning or the skill-and-drill in basic facts and skills that too many educational games currently provide. This proposal addresses a critical issue in the use of such game technologies for learning, namely: How can we assess innovative and creative thinking developed by computer games? Specifically, we plan to validate two assessment instruments (epistemic frame inventories (EFIs)) for game-based learning by showing that they can distinguish between novice and expert thinking in the problems, concepts, and domains of the innovative professions of urban planning and engineering. As a result, we will be able to distinguish levels of performance on the EFIs, as well as determine the relative contribution of overall maturity and domain-specific expertise on frame development. (That is, we will be able to see whether professionals develop “innovative thinking” in general, or whether their expertise in creativity is specific to their area of practice.) In so doing, we propose to both advance the field of educational games, to transfer knowledge about epistemic games and assessment, and to build a long-term collaboration between US and European game re

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Heidelberglaan 8
3584 CS Utrecht
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 79 766,10
Administrative Contact
Paul Kirschner (Prof.)