Do preschoolers ‘Game the system’? a case study of children’s intelligent (Mis)use of a teachable agent based play-&-learn game in mathematics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


title = "Do preschoolers ‘Game the system’?: a case study of children’s intelligent (Mis)use of a teachable agent based play-&-learn game in mathematics",
abstract = "For learning to take place in digital learning environments, learners need to use educational software – more or less – as intended. However, previous studies show that some school children, instead of trying to learn and master a skill, choose to systematically exploit or outsmart the system to gain progress. But what about preschoolers? The present study explores the presence of this kind of behavioral patterns among preschoolers who use a teachable agent-based play-&-learn game in early math. We analyzed behavioral data logs together with interviews and observations. We also analyzed action patterns deviating from the pedagogical design intentions in terms of non-harmful gaming, harmful gaming, and wheel-spinning. Our results reveal that even if pedagogically not intended use of the game did occur, harmful gaming was rare. Interestingly, the results also indicate an unexpected awareness in children of what it means to learn and to teach. Finally, we present a series of possible adjustments of the used software in order to decrease gaming-like behavior or strategies that signalize insufficient skills or poor learning.",
keywords = "Gaming the system, Learning-by-teaching, Preschoolers, Teachable agent, Wheel-spinning",
author = "Ternblad, {Eva Maria} and Magnus Haake and Erik Anderberg and Agneta Gulz",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/978-3-319-93843-1_41",
language = "English",
isbn = "9783319938424",
series = "Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)",
publisher = "Springer",
pages = "557--569",
editor = "{Penstein Ros{\'e}}, Carolyn and Roberto Mart{\'i}nez-Maldonado and Hoppe, {Ulrich H.} and Rose Luckin and Manolis Mavrikis and Kaska Porayska-Pomsta and Bruce McLaren and {du Boulay}, Benedict",
booktitle = "Artificial Intelligence in Education",
address = "Germany",