Many researchers have found that “students can learn a variety of skills through game-based learning, which appears to enhance problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity for users” (Magnacca, 2013; Sardone & Devlin-Scherer, 2010). In addition to providing educators with the opportunity to motivate students to learn important academic content through a rewarding and engaging environment, game-based learning can also “facilitate social interaction through multi player chat and voice over internet protocol, and develop skills including pattern and rule generation, hypothesis testing, and generalization” (Annetta, Mangrum, Holmes, Collazo, & Cheng, 2009). Like Mayer and Johnson (2010) mentioned, “[a]dding instructional features that promote learning in a game-like environment,” an educational computer game promotes instructional objectives (encourage players to make desirable changes in their knowledge) and measure specific learning outcomes.
In order to stimulate student’s interests in history through games, the implementation of computer-based video games into history courses must contain enough entertainment features, such as graphic, audio and video, to maintain the players' sense of motivation as well as enough educational features (interactive text, charts, tables, etc.) to provide appropriate cognitive processing during learning.
POV-T (The Points of View Theory)
According to McCully (2012), multi-perspectivity applies to “interpretations of the past, how the past is seen by those looking back, or ‘perspectives in the past’, how actors at the time perceived events as they unfolded”. Both aspects are important in societies where the past is hotly contested. Students need insight into why the cultural and political outlook of individuals and groups today help shape attitudes to past events. They also need to understand why people at the time, depending on their point of view, may have “perceived events in very different ways … and that even partial accounts have validity and are inter-connected” (McCully, 2012).
Sometimes, history in most textbooks are taught in mono-perspectivity, and even if there’s a shift in perspective in those textbooks, it simply took place as “one master narrative replaced another and not as a conversion from one mode of knowledge to another” (Ahonen, 2001). The new narrative was perhaps “useful for the remaking of a nation-state”, but, at the same time, inevitably “excluded a large ethnic minority from any role in the task of nation-building” (Ahonen, 2001).
On designing the game for history class, the player (i.e. student) will be given the chance to select a character at the beginning of the games and play the game through this character’s point of view. The nature of video games allows player to explore the game for multiple times, and through different characters, so that it is possible for the player to experience the same historical event through different perspectives, thus have a better understanding of what really happened and why were these decisions made. As Goldman, Black, Maxwell, Plass, and Keitges (2012) pointed out:
Often, we don't learn because we can't see what the other person (or book or activity) has to offer. Or, because we don't want to let go of our previous mindsets. For many learners, learning itself is frightening. It takes one out of the safe place of knowing to not knowing. But, when we have a chance to change our viewpoints and see what it means to understand the world from another perspective, our worldview changes.