Know your enemy: Learning from in-game opponents

David Weintrop, Uri Wilensky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


In this paper we present a novel approach to the design of game-based learning environments in which the content to be taught is embodied by the opponents the learners compete against as they play. By providing the player with the resources to make sense of the concepts exemplified by their opponents, as well as the tools needed to incorporate the concepts into their own gameplay strategy, players are challenged to learn from their opponents in order to advance in the game. This paper introduces RoboBuilder, a blocks-based, program-to-play game that uses this design strategy to introduce programming novices to core computer science concepts. Along with more fully developing this design principle, we provide evidence from a preliminary study conducted with RoboBuilder of players learning from their opponents to create winning strategies that use the concepts designed into the opponents they are facing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of IDC 2013 - The 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2013
Event12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2013 - New York, NY, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2013Jun 27 2013

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Other12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York, NY


  • Computer Science Education
  • Design
  • Game-based Learning
  • Visual Programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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