Over the past two decades electronic games have become ingrained in our culture Children's fixation with these games initially alarmed parents and educators, but educational researchers soon questioned whether the motivation to play could be tapped and harnessed for educational purposes. A number of educational electronic games have been developed and their success has been mixed. The great majority of these games are designed for singler players; it there is more than one player, the players are usually required to take turns playing. Althought learning within a cooperative group setting has been found to be extremely effective, designing educational games to support multiple players working together has received little atention. using a multi-player game format could provide the motivation that children need to learn and at the same time enhance both the achievement and the social interactions of the children. In order to design multiplayer educational games we must understand what motivates children to play electronic games, how to incoporate educational content into electronic games, and how to develop appropriate multi-person educational tasks. An understanding of design issues for multi-user software is also required.
This essay is a literature review that addresses the issues involved in the design of educational electronic multi-player games. The relevant bodies of literature include human-computer interaction, electronic games, educational electronic games, electronic multi-player games. Two of the most relevant areas of the human-computer interaction literature are Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL). All of the bodies of literature are discussed with respect to educational electronic multiplayer games, areas where further research is required are noted, and gegneral design guidelines for educational eelectronic multi-player games are offered.
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