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

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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 though 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWell Played
Pages (from-to)30-55
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • crowdscience, citizen science, quantum physics, physics education, Game based learning, Framing, Motivation, Grounded theory

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