Exploring Instructional Support Design in an Educational Game for K-12 Computing Education


Instructional supports (Supports) help students learn more effectively in intelligent tutoring systems and gamified educational environments. However, the implementation and success of Supports vary by environment. We explored Support design in an educational programming game, BOTS, implementing three different strategies: instructional text (Text), worked examples (Examples) and buggy code (Bugs). These strategies are adapted from promising Supports in other domains and motivated by established educational theory. We evaluated our Supports through a pilot study with middle school students. Our results suggest Bugs may be a promising strategy, as demonstrated by the lower completion time and solution code length in assessment puzzles. We end reflecting on our design decisions providing recommendations for future iterations. Our motivations, design process, and study’s results provide insight into the design of Supports for programming games.

Proceedings of the ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education