Non-digital educational games to support conceptual change in astronomy education
14:45 - 15:00
Co-authors: Veronica McCauley and Jessamyn Fairfield
Research on astronomy education has primarily focused on investigating students' conceptual understanding through the lens of student cognition. However, learning involves more than just acquiring or reorganizing ideas. Despite this, there have been very few studies that have examined the learning process through multiple perspectives within a naturalistic environment. Additionally, the lack of validated astronomy game resources aligned with curriculum learning outcomes has hindered the inclusion of Game-Based Learning (GBL) in astronomy education.
To address this issue, this presentation explores the use of non-digital games as a pedagogical approach to support multidimensional conceptual change in post-primary astronomy education. Two dimensions of learning were examined: affective and cognitive. A mixed-methods quasi-experimental research approach was employed on a cohort of 474 post-primary students, divided into intervention and control groups. This approach included knowledge diagnostic tests, affective learning surveys, focus groups, and classroom observations. The results demonstrate robust evidence of the efficacy of non-digital games in promoting sustained conceptual change for post-primary students. The sociocultural environment created by the games was observed to favour student motivation and prolonged cognitive conceptual change. Additionally, differences across groups of students were identified in both domains of learning (cognitive and affective). The GBL pedagogical intervention created multiple opportunities for students to review and refine their knowledge and perception of astronomy. Through this presentation, the authors will report on how GBL facilitated the student learning process and the positive impacts of teaching astronomy with non-digital games. This will contribute to the advancement of both theory and practice in astronomy education.