A Typology of Players in the Game Physics Playground

Slater Stefan Bowers Alex Kai Shimin Shute Valerie
2017 DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference

Educators are increasingly using games as a method for enabling engagement and learning in students, but research has suggested potentially inconsistent outcomes for the use of these digital tools. One explanation for these mixed findings may be different preferred playstyles of game players, such as Bartle’s (1996) player taxonomies. This research uses latent class analysis (LCA) as a means of examining similarities across student play interactions, using log data obtained from student actions in a game environment. Our research identified at least three groups of players who play the educational physics game Physics Playground – achievers, who obtain a higher number of awards in the game; explorers, who focused on constructing and tinkering with elaborate machines and contraptions; and disengaged players, who seemed to find little content in the game that attracted their attention. Improvements to the existing research methodology and future directions for research are discussed.