Fostering Collaborative Dialogic Arguments with Games

Project Number
OER 09/11 JMF

Project Duration
January 2012 - September 2015


This design-based project investigates how a board game can be designed to engage learners in the practices of collaborative dialogic arguments. In lieu of the 21st century demand, we maintain that argumentation, defined as the ability to coordinate claims and evidences pertaining multiple perspectives, should be seen as a core new literacy skill for the 21st century because it underlines the capability to critically consume information and produce knowledge. To design a board game that fosters collaborative dialogic arguments, we draw from situated perspectives of learning, distributed cognitions, and argumentation theories to conceptualize a design framework situated argumentation. The situated argumentation maintains that learning programs designed to foster argumentation should concurrently address the epistemological, cognitive, social, and material aspects of design. Coupling with game-based learning principles such as role-playing, open-ended challenges, and rewards, we will design a multi-player board game that engages players in collaboratively coordinating claims and evidences during and after game play. We will recruit participants of various age groups and educational backgrounds to participate in this study in order to understand how the board game affords and constrains their arguments. We will also study how arguments emerge in game play. Through this study, we will advance argumentation theories and game design theories in the following aspects. First, we will better understand how interactive media such as games may be designed to engage people in collaborative dialogic arguments, which is an essential 21st century skill. Second, we will be able to characterize how players of different educational backgrounds and age groups argue in problem-solving situations, which may lead to better understanding of how argumentative expertise progresses. Through iterative design and research cycles, we will derive and refine game design principles for collaborative dialogic argumentation.

Research Themes
Learning Science & Pedagogy

Funding Source

Related Links
ReEd Vol 17: Survival Skills for the 21st Century

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