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Christopher J. MacLellan
Research Scientist
Soar Technology, Inc.

Curriculum Vitae
Research Statement
Teaching Statement

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The rich interaction space of many educational games presents a challenge for designers and researchers who strive to help players achieve specific learning outcomes. Giving players a large amount of freedom over how they perform a complex game task makes it difficult to anticipate what they will do. In order to address this issue designers must ask: what are students doing in my game? And does it embody what I intended them to learn? To answer these questions, designers need methods to expose the details of student play. We describe our approach for automatic extraction of conceptual features from logs of student play sessions within an open educational game utilizing a two-dimensional context- free grammar. We demonstrate how these features can be used to cluster student solutions in the educational game RumbleBlocks. Using these cluster analysis we explore the range of solutions and measure how many student are using the solution envisioned by the designers. Equipped with this information designers and researchers can focus their redesign efforts to areas in the game where discrepancies exist between the designers' intentions and player experiences.

© Christopher J. MacLellan