Leaving hints: Using player in-game hints to measure and improve learning

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences


Student reflection has been shown to be important for learning in educational domains. In this study, we embedded a student reflection task into a video game to diagnose how players were constructing new knowledge. The game took place in a space station in which odd things had been happening. In order to secure a position on the space station, players had to improve their decision making and solve the mystery. As part of the game narrative, players reflected on each learning opportunity or mini-game by providing hints for future players at the end of each round. A corpus of 674 hints from 41 players, playing a 60-min version of the game were coded independently by two coders. Coding covered four levels of understanding in the hints and ranged from a simple restatement of information to a deeper reflection that integrated ideas and created new knowledge. Analyzing hints provided an in-game learning measure that may complement other measures and a way to understand game play experience that did not interrupt game flow. This study provides some recommendations for the design of embedding user hints into video games.

Publisher's Statement

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30712-7_29

Publication Title

International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction