Using games as educational tools : An evaluation of a game for children to train facial expression recognition

University essay from KTH/Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID

Abstract: Facial expressions play a large role in non verbal communication. Research shows promising results for using games to improve facial expression recognition in children with autism spectrum disorder. Games are effective educational tools and are successful in motivating students. Using a game to improve facial expression recognition could be beneficial for all children as it reduces the risk for problematic behavior and mental health issues. For this study a game to train facial expression recognition to children was developed and evaluated. The goal of the evaluation was to determine which factors influence performance and engagement in the game and if there are expressions that are often identified incorrectly. Additionally the children’s attitude towards the game was evaluated. The results show that performance is affected by the difficulty, context and intensity. The children that showed the most engagement also performed better in the beginning of the game, however the correlation between performance and engagement is complex. Unfortunately it was not possible to evaluate the effect of rewards on the children’s engagement, but children were generally positive on the rewards. The confusion of expressions was in line with earlier research, but not as symmetrical. The players were generally positive about the game. Further research is needed to determine the long term learning effects of the game and to assess ways to engage players more.

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