Pyrus: Designing a collaborative programming game to support problem-solving behaviors

Joshua Shi, Armaan Shah, Garrett Hedman, Eleanor Mary O'Rourke

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

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

While problem solving is a crucial aspect of programming, few learning opportunities in computer science focus on teaching problem-solving skills like planning. In this paper, we present Pyrus, a collaborative game designed to encourage novices to plan in advance while programming. Through Pyrus, we explore a new approach to designing educational games we call behavior-centered game design, in which designers first identify behaviors that learners should practice to reach desired learning goals and then select game mechanics that incentivize those behaviors. Pyrus leverages game mechanics like a failure condition, distributed resources, and enforced turn-taking to encourage players to plan and collaborate. In a within-subjects user study, we found that pairs of novices spent more time planning and collaborated more equally when solving problems in Pyrus than in pair programming. These findings show that game mechanics can be used to promote desirable learning behaviors like planning in advance, and suggest that our behavior-centered approach to educational game design warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450359702
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2 2019
Event2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: May 4 2019May 9 2019

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Conference

Conference2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period5/4/195/9/19

Keywords

  • Behavior-centered game design
  • Collaborative learning
  • CS education
  • Educational games
  • Problem solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Software

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pyrus: Designing a collaborative programming game to support problem-solving behaviors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this