Chapter 20: Digital learning games in artificial intelligence in education (AIED): a review
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An important and emergent area of research within the field of AI in Education (AIED) is digital learning games. These types of games use artificial intelligence to support learning through motivating and engaging students in computer-based gameplay. AIED digital learning games research is still in its nascent stage, as witnessed by how infrequently research articles on learning games even mention AI (Schöbel et al., 2021). Furthermore, while AIED researchers have created some prominent digital games to support learning – games such as Battleship Numberline, Crystal Island, Decimal Point, iSTART-2, MathSpring, Policy World, Physics Playground, and Squares Family - there are still many more ways that AI could be applied to digital learning games. This chapter describes the progress thus far with AIED digital learning games, highlights and categorizes the most noteworthy games in the field and suggests new directions of research. The suggested new directions include focusing more on equity and inclusion in AIED digital learning games, creating more realistic and compelling non-player characters, creating student models of enjoyment that guide gameplay, developing more games that integrate the physical world with AI game software, designing and developing more collaborative (versus individual) AIED digital learning games and moving AIED digital learning games out of the research realm and into real-world use. With a multidisciplinary approach, tapping the expertise of learning scientists, educational technologists, game designers, human–computer interaction designers and AI experts, these new directions could lead to new, exciting and effective learning games, as well as significantly more use in educational settings.

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