Research

GBLxAPI was developed under a National Science Foundation
research grant and Dig-iT! Games.

Industry Research

Vocabulary Development

System Development

Background

Creating an Industry Standard for K-12 digital applications
The initial research phase of the GBLxAPI project with the National Science Foundation proposed a new approach to transparently capture and report game-based learning (GBL) outcomes that will lead to an improved understanding of the benefits of GBL as an education technology for learning science. We believed that the K-12 educational market required a consistent reporting system for learning outcomes in GBL products while sufficiently protecting student data. Given the important benefits that K-12 GBL products can provide to allow for independent and enjoyable education, teachers needed improved reporting options to evaluate those benefits.  GBL was the initial focus of the global standard to keep the scope of the research manageable.

Dig-iT! Games led the research team.  The company has over 10 years of educational game development experience for the K-12 industry and had developed a proprietary learning data systems similar to other developers in the GBL market.

Experience API (xAPI) was being proposed as the underlying e-learning specification for this new approach.  This new specification was being rapidly adopted by the U.S. Federal government, corporations and higher learning institutes when compared to adoption of a previous specification know as SCORM. Experience API is a community-driven initiative that is free to implement.

1 - Industry Research

During this task we interviewed education and GBL industry stakeholders(teachers, administrators, GBL industry participants and researchers), reviewed large-scale studies of GBL use, examined prior and existing learning data efforts and examined top GBL products to determine what data is currently collected and how it is reported.  We then evaluated the game data & systems collected or reviewed and combined it with stakeholders stated requirements. This provided a baseline for the current learning data environment, existing standards and an objective review of practical and future data requirements.

Standardization of data was strongly supported by the majority of those interviewed, but game developers remained cautious of the potential time committment to adopting a new standard.  This aligned with our initial hypothesis that adoption would remain challenging if implementation was difficult.  It also supported our decision to use xAPI as the baseline for GBLxAPI.




Data Essential to GBL Adoption at Scale
Image

2 - Vocabulary Development

A detailed investigation of existing U.S. national learning standards was accomplished next.  Standards investigated included: Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards for Math and English Language Arts, and National Council for the Social Studies College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards.  Efforts were made to normalize terminology across the disparate standards with a resulting terminology set capable of being used in the GBLxAPI platform schema. The table below shows the core approach to developing the six core vocabulary types in the GBLxAPI community of practice.  Each type has been proposed as a new xAPI context extension.

Science 

Math 

ELA 

Social Studies 

Disciplinary Core Idea

Domain 

Domain 

Discipline 

Science and Engineering Practices

Standards for Mathematical Practice

Anchor Standards 

Dimension 

Crosscutting Concept 

Skill 

Skill 

Disciplinary Tools and Concepts 

Topic 

Topic 

Topic 

Topic  

Focus 

Focus 

Focus 

Focus 

Action 

Action 

Action 

Action 


The resultant research created six vocabulary types that could support K-12 education in the four subject area that could be applied globally. 

3 - System Development

The research project included the development of a prototype to support hypotheses for a new approach to capturing K-12 learning outcomes. A Unity C# and JavaScript API was developed to support using xAPI in various games. An open-source learning record store was implemented to receive xAPI data. Various reporting solutions were evaluated to support requirements beyond those available in the LRS.  

Game-based learning products that included different K-12 standards were included in the test set so that data across different subject areas could be evaluated individually and in the aggregate.  Once games were intergrated with the GBLxAPI APIs for telemetry data capture, reports and dashboards were developed to support requirements identified from various stakeholders.

Testing was performed in K-12 classroom environments.  Educators were then shown various levels of reporting and the transparency of the data in the xAPI statements. Reports were then created that aggregated results across three different stakeholder products into a unifed dashboard.

The primary goals of the research were proven with the testing and prototype platform. Research is on-going at Dig-iT! games and the platform is available for others to perform pilots of their own.  Additional research information will be forthcoming.
© 2017-2018 Dig-iT! Games LLC