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Little Big Difference: Gender Aspects and Gender-Based Adaptation in Educational Games

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Computer games are tremendously successful and this is why the potential of using this medium for educational purposes is increasingly recognized and researched. However, as new learning technologies need to be appropriate for all students and ensure equal learning opportunities, it is important to take into account evidences on gender differences in the context of computer games. This paper reviews relevant research results on gender aspects. Aiming for the realization of gender-based adaptation in digital educational games, a model incorporating research evidences on gender aspects is elaborated and implications for adaptation are derived. Adaptation principles and game design are illustrated by means of the 80Days project.
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Little Big Difference: Gender Aspects and
Gender-Based Adaptation in Educational Games
Christina M. Steiner, Michael D. Kickmeier-Rust, & Dietrich Albert
University of Graz, Department of Psychology, Cognitive Science Section
Universitätsplatz 2, 8010 Graz, Austria
{chr.steiner, michael.kickmeier, dietrich.albert}@uni-graz.at
Abstract. Computer games are tremendously successful and this is why the
potential of using this medium for educational purposes is increasingly
recognized and researched. However, as new learning technologies need to be
appropriate for all students and ensure equal learning opportunities, it is
important to take into account evidences on gender differences in the context of
computer games. This paper reviews relevant research results on gender
aspects. Aiming for the realization of gender-based adaptation in digital
educational games, a model incorporating research evidences on gender aspects
is elaborated and implications for adaptation are derived. Adaptation principles
and game design are illustrated by means of the 80Days project.
Keywords: game-based learning, educational game, adaptation, gender
difference, game design.
1 Introduction
The young generation is familiar with information technology from earliest childhood
on. Today’s children grow up being surrounded by and using the whole range of toys
and tools of the digital age – computers, video games, internet, music players, cell
phones, etc. and consequently, these children are – in the words of Marc Prensky – no
longer digital immigrants but rather digital natives [1]. This development necessarily
also has consequences for education. As Prensky points out, students of today are no
longer the kind of students our educational system was designed for. As a result, the
use of computer technology for learning must not and has not stopped short of
education.
The fact that young learners of today spend a considerable portion of their lifetime
watching TV and playing computer games – by far more than for reading, needs to be
reflected by taking advantage and utilizing these very technologies for educational
purposes. Computer games, with their dynamic and active nature, their rich and
appealing possibilities are an incredibly successful technology, whose potential of
being used for learning has been increasingly addressed since the 1990s. The central
idea of game-based learning is to utilize at least part of the time people spend on
playing computer games for educational intentions [2].
Steiner, C. M., Kickmeier-Rust, M. D., & Albert, D. (2009). Little big difference:
Gender aspects and gender-based adaptation in educational games. Proceedings of
the 4th International Conference on E-Learning and Games (EDUTAINMENT 2009),
August 9-11, 2009, Banff, Canada. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 5670,
pp. 150-161). Berlin: Springer
A critical aspect that needs to be considered in this context is whether there are
differences in learners concerning their attitude and acceptance towards game-based
learning, especially with respect to eventual gender differences. As computer games
in general are dominated by males, the question arises whether this fact is
immediately transferable to digital educational games. There are, at least, several
evidences on gender differences in computer games that are important to be known
and understood when aiming in advancing them as a novel approach to learning that
is likewise suitable for both groups of learners [3].
This paper elaborates gender aspects in the context of computer games towards a
gender-sensitive approach of designing games for educational purposes. This paper is
organized as follows: We first give an overview on the state of the art on gender
differences relevant and apparent in the scope of computer games. Based on this, the
implications on computer game design in general are discussed. As an attempt for
creating gender fair educational games, the issue of adaptation to gender-based
differences is taken up and an integrated framework for gender-based adaptation in
computer games is elaborated. Finally, a case study of an educational game on
geography is presented, translating the adaptation model and illustrating an example
of an approach to educational games and to learning game design that successfully
works for both sexes.
2 Computer Games and Gender Differences
General Attitude and Usage Patterns. Aside from differences that have been proven
for computer usage in general, such as that males are more confident and skilled in
handling computers [4], there is also particular evidence that males are specifically
more engaged leisure game players than females [5]. Despite the popularity of
computer games is rising in general, the majority of the medium's audience is still
male [6]. As a consequence of that generally greater popularity of computer games
amongst males, more males play and they play for longer periods [7, 8].
Personality Factors. Reasons accounting for a gender gap in playing computer
games that have been identified and that can be related to personality factors include
violence, lack of social interaction, and strong competitive elements in games [9].
Need for achievement refers to humans’ desire for accomplishment and
competence acquisition [10]. Males seem to have in general a higher need for
achievement in playing computer games. Basically, need for achievement can be
equated with challenge, which has also proven to be more important for males [3].
Research evidence led to the assumption of a stronger competition orientation in
males than in females and of females (although able to perform similarly) being less
effective in competitive situations [11]. Competitiveness as a trait can be explained by
three components – the motivation to win/compete, the need to win, and self-efficacy.
In a study on gender and computer games these factors turned out to be significantly
higher for males than for females, confirming females’ inferior competition
orientation in computer games [9].
Sensation seeking refers to the tendency to search for varied, novel, complex, and
intense sensations and experiences and to take risks for the sake of such sensations
[12]. Findings in gambling and sports have shown that males feature a more
distinctive need for sensation seeking than females do [13]. Sensation seeking is
directly related to arousal – high sensation seekers have a high optimum level of
arousal. Unsurprisingly, arousal, which has been identified as one of the most
important reasons for playing games, has also proven to be more important for males
than for females [14].
It has been shown that females in general have a low preference for observing or
taking part in violent conflicts and resolutions, show in their media genre preferences
in general less interest than males in violent entertainment and prefer non-violent
entertainment [15]. As most computer games involve to a large extent and
increasingly realistic violence and violent actions, it is not surprising that this is an
important factor of females’ dislike of games [9]. On the other hand, it has been
argued that violent games provide male adolescents with the opportunity of intensive
emotional arousal and thus explaining the appeal of those games to this audience [16].
In their interaction styles, females characteristically show pro social patterns.
Media research yielded that they value programs with a great extent of meaningful
dialogues and interaction. Most often, single-player games provide few possibilities
for social interaction and are rather action-oriented. This lack of social interaction is
an important reason for females disliking games [9]. Females clearly express a
preference for games that involve communication and human relationships [17].
Game Types. Males and females also characteristically differ in the type of games
they prefer to play. This is due to differing interests and preferences, which are argued
to be grounded already in infancy and socialization, but probably also because
computer games are mostly designed by males, therefore, including essentially
masculine characteristics, a high level of violence, and strong gender stereotypes [3].
While males have been found to prefer strategy, action, adventure, sports, and
simulation games, particularly with violent content [16, 18], females prefer puzzles,
board games, quizzes, role-playing, and adventure, as well as educational games [5, 7,
14]. The main theme of computer games preferred by boys is contest between good
and evil, competition, and winning, whereas girls favor storylines and exploration of
game characters’ personalities [17]. [18] underline, though, that in sum the types of
games that appear especially usable for learning – like strategy, adventure, and role-
playing games – are appealing for both, males and females.
Also game speed and time pressure must be considered. Action games (preferred
by male players) require dexterity and fast reaction, and usually a faster game play
than role-playing games (preferred by female players). There is also some evidence
that young girls prefer colorful, slowly changing screens in a multimedia learning
interface [19]. To sum up, females seem to prefer rather an unhurried game play,
whereas males opt for action and speed to get encouraged.
Reasons to Play. The reason or motivation to play computer games has also been
identified to differ between genders [9]. Existing games are referred to by females as
lacking meaningful social interaction and discouraging because of violence and
stereotyped gender roles of female game characters. Female players prefer the (para)-
social appeal of games, collaboration and community aspects to competitive elements
[20]. In the context of massively multiplayer online role playing games it has been
found that there are gender differences on the relevant motivational factors for
playing – whereas male players feature higher scores on the factors ‘achievement’ and
‘manipulation’, females indicate higher scores on ‘relationship’, ‘immersion’, and
‘escapism’ [21].
Skills. It could be shown that males have in general better computer skills and literacy
[4]. Research results on online skills have shown that although there are no great
gender differences in online abilities, females self-assess their skills significantly
lower than males – which in turn may affect their online and usage behavior [22].
Computer games commonly require cognitive and perceptual skills on which males
tend to perform better than females, such as spatial awareness and visualization [23].
It has also been pointed out that the gender-specific differences in cognitive abilities
fit well with the general gender-dependent preferences for different game-genres [24].
Interestingly, recent research results, however, have shown that the gender differences
on certain aspects of spatial cognition can be reduced through playing an action
computer game for a few hours [25]. Current learning games often involve and
require an integration of different skills to accomplish combinations of activities, and
are thus in general less likely to privilege one gender [3].
Game Characters and Avatar Preferences. It has been shown that female
characters are “underrepresented and proportionally more often sexualized to their
male counterparts” ([6], p. 103). Analyses of best-selling computer games have
shown that only a small percentage of game characters are female, and a large part of
them holds roles of rather bystanders than active participants [17]. Traditionally,
stereotypes and archaic role models are applied to portray female game characters
they are weak victims that need to be protected or rescued by powerful males and
their visual design exaggerates female sexuality [26]. This under- and
misrepresentation of game characters is one reason for the inferior attraction of
computer games to females – although at least a portion of women feel also ready to
accept such role stereotyping [9]. In general, females express strong preferences for
female game characters over male ones [27].
Gender differences have been researched on avatars, that is, the representations of
gamers in virtual or gaming environments. Most male gamers prefer male avatars,
while females prefer female avatars [28], which has also been demonstrated with
static avatars outside a game context [29]. Furthermore, it could be shown that males
want to have avatars that are powerful fighters, whereas females want to see good
fashioned and beautiful characters [28]. In general, players should have the chance to
select or create their favorite avatar [28, 29]. If female players have no possibility to
choose a female avatar they might feel discontent and, as a result, might feel as like
the game was not made for them and refuse to play the game [26].
3 Implications on Game Design
In conclusion, the large body of research on gender differences in the context of
computer games calls for an according consideration and reflection in game design
and development and for gender-neutral games. There is an emerging discussion and
awareness on implications for (educational) practice [17] and female-targeted game
design [26, 30]. This led to the evolution of games especially for a female target
audience. In the beginning of this development, games were launched that had been
designed relying on stereotypical interests of girls, such as fashion, horoscopes,
romance – resulting in so-called ‘pink software’ like the ‘Barbie Fashion Designer’.
This attempt to create special games for girls, however, did not always succeed [31].
Voices against marketing according to and reinforcing old stereotypes and opting for
the opportunity of using game technology instead to go a step further appeared [30].
‘Tomb Raider’ managed to overcome the traditional ‘princess to be saved’ portrayal
of a female character, with a capable and independent woman as main character. A
real success story was born with ‘The Sims’, a game that focuses on social interaction
between players and game characters and succeeded in attracting many female
players.
Especially in the context of designing educational games a gender-sensitive
approach is strongly needed, as the new learning technologies need to be appropriate
for and accepted by all students and to ensure equal (learning) opportunities. Thus, in
addition to a gender inclusive game design, the approach of adapting the game to
gender-based differences appears highly suitable.
4 Gender-Based Adaptation
Instead of designing games that address predominantly one specific group of gamers
separately, to date hardly any effort has been made to create games that are equally
suited for different preferences and characteristics through the provision of
personalized game experiences. By arranging for a variety of differing game features,
components, and characteristics that are chosen in accordance to the individual player,
one single game could fit different learners.
Although the adaptation to current knowledge and competence is thoroughly being
researched and implemented through macro and micro level adaptive approaches in e-
learning and also in educational games [32, 33], current computer games – similar to
the majority of existing e-learning systems do not account for gender differences
through an according adaptation of the game, game features, story etc. Such an
adaptation to gender-based differences appears especially important and relevant for
educational games because of several reasons. When designing and developing an
educational game it should be appealing to all students. Even more important, as an
educational game aims in realizing a learning experience that is appropriately
embedded in narrative and game play, it is necessary to create optimal conditions for
this. This should involve, aside from an adaptation to the learner’s knowledge and
competence, also a gender-based adaptation, which should in consequence lead to
beneficial effects on motivation and learning performance.
4.1 An Integrated Model of Gender Aspects in Educational Computer Games
In an approach to elaborate a framework for the adaptation of an e-learning system to
individual abilities, preferences, and gender differences, the utilization of principles
and structures based on Knowledge Space Theory has been proposed [34]. Using the
framework of Competence-based Knowledge Space Theory [32, 35, 36], these
individual characteristics and gender specificities can be modeled and structured. It is
assumed that – following the notion of prerequisites – a prerequisite relation between
those factors can be established that captures the know-how derived from a large body
of research and empirical studies on the involved individual factors. This means, that
from the degree of one characteristic the degree of another one can be inferred. [34]
identified a model incorporating individual factors influencing learners’ choice of
using a computer for educational purposes [37] and related it to proven gender
differences in order to establish a learner structure modeling gender differences in
relation to those individual factors as a possible basis for adaptation of an e-learning
system. Through this approach the number of possible learner states (combinations of
individual factors) can be reduced to a meaningful range by establishing structural
assumptions based on the existing empirical research evidence in the domain.
Building upon this work and upon the thorough analysis on empirical evidence of
gender differences as presented in section 2, the different factors and aspects of
individuals and computer games have been analyzed and related to each other. The
resulting model is depicted in Figure 1. Based on the overview on gender aspects
presented before, it captures the central aspects of computer games on which gender
differences have been ascertained, as well as underlying latent constructs of cognition
and personality. These underlying constructs, in turn, feature characteristic gender
differences and at least partly explain and account for the gender gap in the different
game aspects. The model can be understood as a Bayesian Net model with the nodes
representing probability variables1 and the arrows representing conditional
dependencies representing relationships and influences among the variables [34, 37].
The diverging preferences of males and females for certain game types, for example,
can be explained by considering gender differences in competition orientation,
sensation seeking, and interaction preferences. The same factors can be assumed to
influence also the reason or motivation to play, which in turn will be influencing the
preferences on game types and, supposingly, also usage patterns. The frequency and
duration of playing computer games furthermore might be influenced and might
influence computer and spatial skills.
This framework can be further enriched based on the model established and
capturing gender-based differences and individual factors for user modeling and
adaptation in educational hypermedia [34, 37]. To this end, factors captured by those
models that appear relevant in the context of educational games are taken up (see
Figure 1), thus bringing in an additional factor ‘visual design’ in the model. Research
evidence in the field of visual design of web-based learning and web pages has shown
that females seem to prefer clearer, undistracting background design and are more
attracted by colors, while males tend to prefer a more complex design and are
attracted by graphics, animations, and interactive aspects [38, 39]. One possible
1 Variables representing the ‘inner state’ of an individual regarding different characteristics.
explanation for such findings are gender differences in processing visual displays [23,
38]. The component ‘causal attributions’ relates to the causal explanations for success
or failure, for which systematic gender differences have been identified. While males
tend significantly more likely to explain success as due to their ability, females tend to
attribute the cause of failure more likely to themselves than males [40, 41]. These
attribution biases are directly related to the self-efficacy beliefs of individuals, which
have been proven to be higher for males in the context of computer games and
working with computers [9, 41]. Dysfunctional attributional styles in females appear
also in other domains [42] and are associated with maladaptive behavior which may
eventually lead to giving up earlier and to avoidance [42, 43]. Furthermore, the
variables ‘expectation’ and ‘value’ adapted from [37] may serve for explaining usage
patterns on computer games. While in accordance with the model ‘computer literacy’,
and in the present context, also ‘reasons to play’ can be assumed to influence the
perceived value of playing computer games, the expectations of successfully playing
a computer game will be influenced by self-efficacy beliefs. Both, expectations and
value of playing computer games will consequently be determining factors of actually
choosing to play an educational computer game [41].
In sum, the established model provides useful information about a player for the
purpose of adaptation by making (preliminary) assumptions on user characteristics
(i.e., the user model) based on well-established research findings without explicit
assessment. Hereby, broad overgeneralizations are avoided; rather the model serves
the assumption of reasonable tendencies on user variables. This is especially valuable
as in the context of a game there is only limited possibility for explicitly querying lots
of things.
Fig. 1. Model on gender aspects relevant for educational computer games.
4.2 Educational Game Design for Gender-Based Adaptation: A Case Study
In the following, implications for gender-based adaptation that can be derived from
the model and an according design shall be illustrated by means of a case study game
design - the demonstrator game of 80Days (www.eightydays.eu). 80Days is a
European research project aiming in advancing psycho-pedagogical and technological
foundations for successful digital educational games through the development of a
higher-level theoretical framework for adaptive educational technology. This shall
allow an adaptation of a game’s story and features to individual learners’ abilities and
preferences. An educational game is being developed, aiming in a new learning
technology that is equally suitable for both, male and female learners. For this, a game
genre that has been proven to be suitable and accepted by both groups of learners has
been chosen and adaptation principles relying on the presented model on gender
aspects have nurtured game design.
Inspired by Jule Verne’s novel ‘Around the world in eighty days’ the game is a
modern version of a journey around the world – in a UFO with an alien travel
companion. From an educational perspective, the game’s main objective is to teach
geography skills. From a storytelling perspective, the main task for the player is to
explore the planet and collect information for an intergalactic travel guide. From the
game play perspective, the main goal is to navigate the UFO to different destinations
around the world and to accomplish a variety of adventurous missions.
In the beginning of the game user characteristics are queried (sex, age, computer
game experience and preferences, sensation seeking) which coincide to a large extent
with variables covered by our model. The preliminary assumptions on user
characteristics (as based on the model) can be verified and adjusted based on the
information gathered in the game’s intro screen and are later on continuously updated
and refined based on the gamer’s behavior and interactions during and with the game.
The evolving user model serves for adapting the game to the individual player. The
game as such foresees a comprehensive adaptation of story elements and learning
content to a learner’s current skills and needs, as well as to preferences and
motivational states. In the following, we want to confine our descriptions to only the
implications for gender-based adaptation, as they can be drawn from the model
presented in this paper (see Figure 3 for an overview). These adaptation mechanisms
build upon the supposed dependencies and influences among the variables as derived
from the literature and mirrored by the model.
The visual design of the educational game can be adapted in order to meet
individual preferences and needs. Females should be provided with a clearer,
somewhat simpler visual design, while males should be provided with more complex,
animated visual design elements [38, 39]. This would also accommodate an
adaptation to spatial ability [23], as well as to the level of experience with games
(computer literacy, [4]). In the 80Days game design this aspect of adaptation is
implemented in the visual design of the UFO cockpit and head-up-display (HUD),
with information displays that can be activated and deactivated (see Figure 2).
Fig. 2. Sketches of different HUD versions in the 80Days game.
Adaptation to competition orientation [9, 11] should occur through realizing
differing levels of competition in the game in terms of combatants represented by
other players or non-player characters. In case of the 80Days game this aspect can be
realized through adapting the number of competing UFOs.
Adaptation to attribution bias and self-efficacy [9, 40, 41, 43] should be realized by
a motivational/attributional training through feedback mechanisms that guide
learner’s perception on causal attribution of success and failure with the aim of
increasing motivation and self-worth [42]. In case of high self-efficacy, an individual
can be guided towards (more) realistic attributions. And in case of low self-efficacy a
training of more realistic and self-confident feedback should be realized, such that
successful experiences become more explicit and engaging and help fostering
expectation of success. In 80Days this aspect of adaptation is captured by adaptive
motivational interventions during the game given by a non-player character.
Adaptation to sensation seeking [13, 14] can be realized through differing levels of
game speed in a game and differing levels of risk or adventure. This most probably
needs to be accompanied by an according adaptation of the game story, aligning the
level of time pressure and risk and adventure to be taken to each other. The 80Days
game realizes a three-mode story pacing with different speed levels – one relaxed
version without time pressure, one more driven version with time pressure, and one
fast and hectic version with explicit time limits.
Adaptation to interaction preferences [9, 17] can be done through realizing
differing degrees and options for interaction in the game. This can be taken up in
80Days by realizing different extents of dialogues and interaction possibilities
between the player and non-player characters, or respectively, other players.
male female
visual design
preferences usage patterns reason to play game type
preferences
avatar
preferences
skills
spatial
cognition/
ability
interaction style/
preferences
computer
literacy
competition
orientation
sensation
seeking
achievement
motivation need to win self-efficacy
causal
attributions
expectationsvalue
visual
design
complexity
competition
level
motivational/
attributional
feedback
game
speed,
risk level
avatar
options
interaction
level
Fig. 3. Model on gender aspects and design implications (dashed arrows) for gender-based
adaptation in educational computer games.
Adaptation to avatar preferences [28, 29] can be done through automatic provision
of avatars corresponding to known preferences of genders in this regard.
Alternatively, a set of different avatars can be provided to the player to choose from it
(as an aspect of adaptability through the player). In the 80Days game this aspect is
planned to be taken into account by the adaptive selection between two avatars, a boy
and a girl.
5 Conclusion
Gender differences relevant in the context of (educational) computer games have been
observed with respect to several aspects. Many of them add up or contribute to the
fact that the game sector is dominated by males and girls and women are less involved
in games than boys. Recently, however, there seems to be at least a trend of increased
involvement of females. Aside from the emergence of female subcultures feeling
prepared and willing to adopt contemporary computer games designed for males [9],
this development reflects the increasing consciousness on gender specificities and
gender sensitivity in the game sector, thus leading to the advent of games appealing
and engaging female players.
With the adaptation of computer games to gender-specific characteristics and
preferences on a within-game level, this development can be further enhanced. This
aspect of adaptation seems especially suited and necessary in the context of
educational games, where one learning technology should supply all students with
equal opportunities and chances for learning. Through gender-specific adaptation of
computer games the implicit classification in typically male or female oriented
computer games could be overcome and progress towards the development of games
that appeal both, male and female players, could be made. In this paper we presented
a framework for gender-based adaptation, integrating research on gender aspects that
are relevant for (educational) computer games.
The involvement of male and female members of the target audience in both, the
design and evaluation process of a digital educational game (i.e. participatory design,
[44]) allows the identification of significant gender-related preferences for a given
purpose (target age, subject matter etc.). This ensures acceptability of design and the
implementation of relevant adaptation aspects, thus contributing to learners’
engagement and successful learning throughout the game.
The realization of gender-based adaptation is not only assumed to have enhancing
effects on students’ motivation and learning performance, but also opens ways to
(cost) effective game development. Gender-based adaptation can be regarded as a step
further when aiming in methodologies for more cost-effective development of
(educational) computer games through the realization of one game appropriate for
both genders instead of different games for males and females, by efficiently (re)using
game assets and resources.
Acknowledgments. The research and development introduced in this work is funded
by the European Commission under the seventh framework programme in the ICT
research priority, contract number 215918 (80Days, www.eightydays.eu).
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... Kinzie and Joseph [45] researched middle school students' game activity preferences (similar to learning strategies) to make videogames more appealing and engaging to middle school students. Moreover, according to Steiner [46], the realization of gender-based adaptation in games will have enhancing effects on both students' motivation and learning performance. ...
... As we have just seen, the literature has reported some evidence on how genre affects the outcomes of educational videogames [40], [45] [40], [45][40], [45] [41], [46] [40], [45] [39], [44][39], [44]. However, taking into account the different attitudes and preferences toward gaming observed between male and female players, it is unclear whether the actual cause for disparate outcomes is gender or the students' attitudes toward game play. ...
... Male players tended to explore the game world without considering the potential effects of their actions beforehand, whereas females planned their moves more thoroughly and read the texts carefully. These observations are consistent with the various studies that analyzed the effect of gender on educational game play that were described in Section 2 [15], [46], [76]. ...
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... Along with gender portrayal, gender aspect in game design also needs to be included, Stefansdottir and Gislason (2008) defines design process as placing and patterning of any act towards a desired goal and emphasizes on the inclusion of gender aspect in design innovation processes. Furthermore, Erb (2009) andSteiner et al. (2009) highlights the significance of the inclusion of gender-sensitive approach for designing educational games to ensure equal opportunities for learning for both genders. In this context, Steiner et al. (2009) presents a model that include factors (i.e. a reason to play, competition orientation, preferences, etc.) for the consideration of gender aspects in educational video game designs. ...
... Furthermore, Erb (2009) andSteiner et al. (2009) highlights the significance of the inclusion of gender-sensitive approach for designing educational games to ensure equal opportunities for learning for both genders. In this context, Steiner et al. (2009) presents a model that include factors (i.e. a reason to play, competition orientation, preferences, etc.) for the consideration of gender aspects in educational video game designs. Gender studies are crucial to detect and understand the factors that can narrow gender bias and contribute to gender equality. ...
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... Nevertheless, it is still difficult to assess the relationship between serious games and the educational models able to empower the learning processes of patients-learners as players. Furthermore, a critical aspect that needs to be considered in this context is whether there are differences in patients-learners concerning their attitude and acceptance towards game-based learning, especially considering gender differences (Steiner et al. 2009). As males in general dominate digital games, the question arises whether this is immediately transferable to educational games (Bonanno and Kommers 2005;Ivory 2006) and to serious games for health as well. ...
... Furthermore, we also expected that there were gender-related impacts on the linkages among the variables of the model (H3). These hypotheses are strictly linked to the idea that the new educational technologies need to be appropriate and accepted for all users, in order to ensure equal learning opportunities; then, serious games for health have to be designed and developed to meet people's health and assistance needs at an inclusive level (Graner Ray 2004;Steiner et al. 2009). Figure 1 gives an overview of the empirical model hypothesized. ...
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... El GBL, en términos sencillos, se entiende como el uso de juegos (y su diseño) en ambientes y con intencionalidades educativas. Steiner et al. (2009) manifiestan en su artículo que la idea central del aprendizaje basado en juegos es utilizar al menos parte del tiempo que las personas dedican a los juegos de computadora para propósitos educativos. Por su parte, Kapp (2012) indica que el GBL facilita el aprendizaje por asentarse sobre el juego: el proceso se sigue más fácilmente mientras se asimilan los conceptos, ya que el juego crea un entorno virtual que recrea situaciones propias de la realidad (simuladores) y de esta forma los usuarios (alumnos) aprenden a desenvolverse en un contexto sin riesgo, pero con normas, interactividad y realimentación. ...
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... Research has shown that there are fundamental differences in the ways that male and female players play computer games (see, e.g. [20][21][22]). For example, males tend to be more enthusiastic players than females [23]; males tend to play games more frequently and for longer durations than do their female peers [24]; male players have stronger desires for competition and tend to be more motivated by a "need to win," while female players prefer the within-game social dynamics between game characters [25]. ...
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