The wide definition of new media identifies it with the use of a computer for distribution and exhibition of every kind of information. The more specific approaches define new media objects by numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability and cultural transcoding (Manovich, 2001).
Game-based learning or edutainment (education + entertainment) is very fast developing area which has potential to be very useful for educational system and for economy as well. It's well known fact that practical learning is much more effective than purely theoretical approach. The subject of current essay is - game-based learning as a part of new media. Nothing is not only good or bad, black or white. The learning process based on game-based learning methods has also some disadvantages and areas that need to be analyzed and developed. Many edutainment games do not offer a situated learning experience and simulators cause often so called simulator sickness. Also, children spend more and more time in playing computer games. On one hand it develops their complex skills on the other hand it's a problem because it's more interesting and easier to have for example combat in computer with many interesting enemies than take part in some kind of sport activity. This is one reason why it would be good that some computer games would include also physical devices- the physical training in connection with computer software. For example, you have virtual enemy in boxing, but you have to move yourself in reality to making a punch - not only fingers on the keyboard or mouse in a hand. It's not only aspect of the health, but also the speed of learning process and usage are higher. For example if you teach car driving on car driving simulator, you have to shift gears and use pedals and hand break, not only steering wheel - it's more realistic. As with more developed software and hardware, simulator programs will be more and more realistic, human-friendly and effective for learning process and they allow also to get experience of situations which in real-life training cannot provide - for example to become formula 1 pilot or have an space trip etc. Game-based learning process can connect learning process, entertainment and dreams.
The research by Wong, Shen, & Nocera. et al., (2007) refers the Entertainment-Education paradigm to be quite broad so that all forms of play are learning and all forms of learning are play. In University of Southern California was made a research to study differences between learning and playing. Assumption of the research was that there is a relationship between entertainment and education. Preliminary analysis confirmed that there are no significant differences between the baseline knowledge on video game literacy at the beginning of the study ( Wong, Shen, Nocera, et al., 2007).
Video-games are not only entertainment anymore. They are a part of science. There are many universities which offer programs with support from the industry and universities which offer video-game degrees. The trend in education attracts not only the attention of industry, but also government's interest and support. Offering video-game degrees by universities is closely related with growth of the video-game industry. Both trends are increasing rapidly today (Davidson, 2005).
The new direction in learning process is game-based learning - method which is often more useful and cost-effective than traditional classroom-based method . But it's just developing area and many edutainment games do not offer a situated learning experience and those who offer it, do not have enough impact on popular online game market (Go & Lee, 2007).
Interactive media has very broad areas of implication, computer games and interactive media are not only for human to human communication but also for human to animal communication. For example, the mixed reality-based game "Metazoa Ludens" is a system which allows to play games with small animals in mixed reality environment (Tan, Cheok, Peiris, et al., 2007). The game provides a possibility to interact remotely with small pets and provide their health benefits. In the game human portray as a small pet - hamster - and hamster will portray as human in the virtual world. At the start of the game human helps human avatar (small pet) to the virtual terrain. Pet's movements are tracked by the cameras, mapping its positions and moving the pet avatar in the virtual world. The main idea of the game is for the pet owner to try to evade the pet avatar. Getting caught will decrease human avatar's health points. Such kind of games will certainly help to understand pet's behavior better and give to human exciting possibility to understand his/her favorite.
Human gets about 70% by visual way, by seeing. Therefore it's easy to understand how powerful economical, cultural and educational forces are the video games. It's interesting and important to mark that game-based learning has been widely used by the military forces and US military is the world's larger user of digital game-based learning (Prensky, 2001). The game-based learning is used for training drivers, pilots, sailors and soldiers. The advantage of such learning method is the cost-effectiveness - it is not so expensive as using real planes, ships, simulated battles. Also, the workplace of drivers and pilots include anyway computer screen, where it's possible to detect enemy much earlier than it would be possible directly looking. As simulators are very similar to real combat, there will be no big difference between teaching soldiers by simulators or in simulated real combat.
Also in civil usage game-based simulators will be used more and more in different areas of training. For example ship and plain pilots using very widely simulators as for teaching new pilots so for improving their skills currently and/or after having vocation or longer brake in their work.
Some innovative driving-schools already use driving simulators, also are driving simulators used in scientific research. That kind of simulators (as car simulators so flight simulator) has real-life feedback system, which turns such simulators expensive. Simulators would be very good because of environmental reasons and for experiencing extreme driving conditions, however the price is a clear problem for driving schools - simulators cost much more than a car (Lebram, Engström, & Gustavsson,2007). As research has shown, the students, who have started learning process on simulators will obtain traffic rules faster and it's of course more safety and economical for environment to use such a learning method (Vlakveld, 2005). Research for detecting potentially dangerous drivers by using driving simulators has found that with help of simulators it's possible to detect more dangerous drivers whose driving skills have decreased in higher age (Lee, Lee, Camedron, & Li-Tsang, 2003).
Cognitive scientists have for now come to adopt what is called the „situated view of learning" - thinking is rooted in direct experience and concrete contexts, not a matter of abstract knowledge. And in this field game-based learning works very well (Gee, 2005).
Tsushima (2005) has developed a New Generation Authoring System (NeGAS) specifically for learning contents. It allows to develop an authoring system for learning programs. It's found that game-based learning - as very powerful form of learning - have become an alternative for e-learning. The Belief Desire Intension (BDI) agent architecture was used by Norling and Sonenberg (2004) for creating interactive game characters.
Ghis model shows human deliberation's abstraction which is based on a theory of rational actions in the process of human thinking. It's most popular in agent Applications who has following qualities:
Non Player Character (NPC) does not express realistic human interactions (Go & Lee, 2007). For example, it the agent visits a pub on one day and has a beer there and he will visit the pub on the following day again, the barkeeper will be as much happy as day before - it wouldn't happen in reality. For creating believable and realistic NPS's, a BDI agent architecture have to be in accordance with following conditions:
Information will be collected from game by agent sensors. Goal will be predefined. Behavior module is static agent system. Social system is similar with behavior module.
There was made an experiment with abstract and contextual information. Abstract information was given as a set of ten facts - part of NPC dialogue - but not related with the quest. Contextual information was provided as ten pieces of information - items to be obtained, player milestones to achieve. Player had to accomplish all quest, to gather necessary items and answer to BDI NPC questions. Average time for completing task is twenty minutes. Ten volunteers were tested. After testing from volunteers were asked about the information they have got from the game. It was made first after two hours from finishing experiment and repeated after 24 and 48 hours after finishing experiment.
On the average, volunteers could correctly recall 39% of the information from abstract information. 72% of the contextual information was recalled correctly. It's interesting to remarks that rate of decay for contextual information was less than abstract information. Accordingly contextual information recall degraded from 72% to 22% and abstract information from 39% to 5% after 48 hours.
As game players spend hundreds or even thousands hours in digital world, the game-based technology allows to develop skills very highly and economically. One very important aspect on learning process is physical activity. If you have some practice, you can much easily remember the activity afterwards and repeat it.
An interesting research was made by Liu, Chen, Chen and Chen (2006) for showing how children can recognize different colors through the attraction of tempo which is then associated with colors. In traditional method vivid colors card is used and frequently children won't concentrate because the initiative doesn't come from them. If children can themselves manipulate with physical objects, it's a key component for them for learning. An interesting example is the "CHI-BALL", an interactive device which teaches martial arts for children through physically interactive system (Heberlein, Hayashi, Nashhold, & Teeravarunyou, 2003). The ball uses micro-controller based system for simulating many games which help controlling sparring exercised between two children. For children the tempo game is more attractive than harmony and musical form activity, also warm colors corresponding with rapid tempo and cool colors with slow tempo(Liu, et al., 2006). To conclude, the best way for learning in children's world is play.
E-learning is today a part of learning more for adults than children. There was made thematic research of European Leonardo DaVinci eLearning projects target groups (Littig, 2006). 149 eLearning projects were monitored. Favorite target group were employees - over 41 percent of the projects were targeted to this group. Managers and entrepreneurs formed 21 percent, teachers and trainers 17 percent and students and pupils 12 percent.
The aim of current essay was to outline some interesting trends and issues in game-based learning as a part of new media. To conclude, the meaning and importance of E-learning is changing and developing all the time. If some years ago e-course meant some kind of written text with pictures in some website and/or with possibility to give answers or solve exercised online, then in the future e-learning will mean more and more video-game-based learning methods - with or without physical devices. The game-based learning as a part of new media is very fast-developing area. It attracts industries and governments because it has high efficiency for learning process, for economical aspect as cost effective method and it has also very large potential to improve. Virtual world not only helps to learn more efficiently but allows understand better each other not only human to human but even humans to animals. The potential to develop this are is overwhelming. Virtual world can make our dreams into reality. It gives to us possibility to feel ourselves in almost any role which in real world can be achieved never. However, while developing e-learning environments, it's necessary to notice also the possible disadvantages of this method. Children who spend more and more time in playing video games have less and less physical activity. Computer based simulators causes so called simulator sickness. On the other hand many researches have shown that game-based learning is more effective than traditional methods, or least it can be good additional method. The saying, that all playing is learning and all the learning is playing, is not true only for children, but also for adults. There are many universities which offer degree programs for video game developing. Very clearly the nearest future belongs to game-based learning.
ReferencesDavidson, D. (2005). Games by degrees: playing with programs. The Horizon. Vol. 13 (2), pp. 70-74.