Matthew Jensen Hays, H. Chad Lane, Daniel Auerbach: “Clear and presence danger: Feedback in serious games.”

June 1, 2012 | Chania, Greece

Speaker: Matthew Jensen Hays, H. Chad Lane, Daniel Auerbach
Host: 11th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Serious games are generally designed with two goals in mind. First, they are designed to promote learning. Second, like most games, they seek to create compelling and engaging experiences, often referred to as a sense of presence. Presence itself is believed to promote learning, but serious games often incorporate additional features to increase pedagogical value. One such feature is the use of an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) to provide feedback during gameplay. Because feedback from an ITS is usually extrinsic (i.e., it operates outside of the primary game mechanic), attending to it may disrupt players’ sense of presence, thereby hindering learning. To avoid this potential disruption, ITS feedback has been removed from some serious games, and omitted from the design of others. However, the most beneficial conditions of instruction and practice are often counterintuitive; in this paper, we challenge the assumption that feedback during learning hinders sense of presence. Across three experiments, we examined how an ITS that provided extrinsic feedback during a serious game affected presence. Across different modalities and conditions, we found that feedback not affect presence (although manipulations of visual richness did). Presence was also unaffected when we manipulated different features of the ITS, such as the participants’ ability to control feedback delivery, or even their displeasure with feedback frequency. Our results suggest that it is possible to provide extrinsic feedback in a serious game without detracting from the immersive power of the game itself.