Aarhus Universitets segl


Leaderboard Effects on Player Performance in a Citizen Science Game

Accepted for ECGBL 2017

Quantum Moves is a citizen science game that investigates the ability of humans to solve complex physics challenges that are intractable for computers. During the launch of Quantum Moves in April 2016 the game's leaderboard function broke down resulting in a "no leaderboard" game experience for some players for a couple of days (though their scores were still displayed). The subsequent quick fix of an all-time Top 5 leaderboard, and the following long-term implementation of a personalized relative-position (infinite) leaderboard provided us with a unique opportunity to compare and investigate the effect of different leaderboard implementations on player performance in a points-driven citizen science game.
All three conditions were live sequentially during the game's initial influx of more than 150.000 players that stemmed from global press attention on Quantum Moves due the publication of a Nature paper about the use of Quantum Moves in solving a specific quantum physics problem. Thus, it has been possible to compare the three conditions and their influence on the performance (defined as a player's quality of game play related to a high-score) of over 4500 new players. These 4500 odd players in our three leaderboard-conditions have a similar demographic background based upon the time-window over which the implementations occurred and controlled against Player ID tags. Our results placed Condition 1 experience over condition 3 and in some cases even over condition 2 which goes against the general assumption that leaderboards enhance gameplay and its subsequent overuse as a an oft-relied upon element that designers slap onto a game to enhance said appeal. Our study thus questions the use of leaderboards as general performance enhancers in gamification contexts and brings some empirical rigor to an often under-reported but overused phenomenon. (07/2017)    

Knowledge Formation and Inter-Game Transfer With Classical and Quantum Physics

Published as Work in Progress Paper at ECGBL ’16

In order to facilitate an intuitive understanding of classical physics concepts we have developed Potential Penguin - a game where players manipulate the landscape around a sliding penguin in order to control its movement. The learning goal of Potential Penguin is to familiarize players with kinetic energy and potential energy - the energies associated with movement and position in the landscape respectively. The game levels introduce the concepts one by one, as players are tasked with sliding the penguin through a landscape towards a specific location, while keeping the velocity under control. When the player manipulates the landscape, the potential energy of the penguin is changed, which determines the penguin's movement. To build a strong connection between theory and game the analytical expressions for kinetic and potential energy are displayed during play with font sizes continually growing and shrinking according to changes in each energy type. With Potential Penguin we hope to study whether visualizing the amount of kinetic and potential energy through visible mathematical expressions generates a connection between the intuitive actions taken in the game and the underlying physics concepts. The knowledge about kinetic and potential energy gained with Potential Penguin can also be used to understand most of the physics behind the citizen science game Quantum Moves, which has the goal of building a working quantum computer. The two games share the principle of the core interaction - manipulating the potential-energy landscape. We aim to investigate whether a proficiency and understanding of Potential Penguin predicts a better performance in Quantum Moves and a deeper understanding of the quantum physics behind that game.  (08/2016)

Virtual learning environment for interactive engagement with advanced quantum mechanics

Published in Phys. Rev. Phys. Education

A virtual learning environment can engage university students in the learning process in ways that the traditional lectures and lab formats cannot. We present our virtual learning environment StudentResearcher, which incorporates simulations, multiple-choice quizzes, video lectures, and gamification into a learning path for quantum mechanics at the advanced university level. StudentResearcher is built upon the experiences gathered from workshops with the citizen science game Quantum Moves at the high-school and university level, where the games were used extensively to illustrate the basic concepts of quantum mechanics. The first test of this new virtual learning environment was a 2014 course in advanced quantum mechanics at Aarhus University with 47 enrolled students. We found increased learning for the students who were more active on the platform independent of their previous performances. (04/2016)

Play or science?: a study of learning and framing in crowdscience games

Published in Well Played 4(2), 30 (2015)

Crowdscience games may hold unique potentials as learning opportunities compared to games made for fun or education. They are part of an actual science problem solving process: By playing, players help scientists, and thereby interact with real continuous research processes. This mixes the two worlds of play and science in new ways. During usability testing we discovered that users of the crowdscience game Quantum Dreams tended to answer questions in game terms, even when directed explicitly to give science explanations.We then examined these competing frames of understanding through a mixed correlational and grounded theory analysis. This essay presents the core ideas of crowdscience games as learning opportunities, and reports how a group of players used "game", "science" and "conceptual" frames to interpret their experience. Our results suggest that oscillating between the frames instead of sticking to just one led to the largest number of correct science interpretations, as players could participate legitimately and autonomously at multiple levels of understanding. (10/2015)