Can Game Design Be Leveraged to Enhance Cognitive Adaptability?
Patrick S. Gallagher, Ph.D., Shenan H. Prestwich
Principal Researcher, Serco, performing on contract to Advanced Distributed Learning, Alexandria, Virginia USA
Next Generation Learner, Researcher, Katmai, performing on contract to Advanced Distributed Learning, Alexandria, Virginia USA
Abstract: Adaptability is a metacompetency critically important to the United States Department of Defense and is considered a key component of 21st Century skills by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education). Video games are seen as learning environments supporting the acquisition of 21st century skills. Can games, then, be used as components of an effective learning environment that support the development of adaptability?
Initially this paper describes the metacompetency of adaptability. Next is how adaptability can be functionally and discretely measured by focusing on its most granular or micromomentary level which we describe as cognitive adaptability. The authors then examine both the nature of cognitive adaptability, interventions that support its development, and how those interventions might be translated into game design features. Toward this end, the paper will also discuss how these features are exhibited in a popular commercially available video game, Portal 2, and how it was employed to test the hypothesis that a play frame of 12 consecutive hours would increase cognitive adaptability, measured by a set of cognitive functions and abilities as well as metacognitive attributes, in 18-24 year old enlisted Air Force personnel. The paper discusses the results of this study as well as exploring the usefulness of the CANTAB battery for measuring cognitive adaptability.
Presentation from Dr. Patrick S. Gallagher: