Play the game.

I have created this game level for the purpose of this dissertation, in order to illustrate the principle being discussed.

Game 1 Jump Up! [designed and created by S. Bezzina]


Metaplay refers to higher order thinking over the cognitive processes involved in play.

Mind the gap

Good game environments afford contexts (Whitton 2009) which allow the player to experiment and experience knowledge in authentic ways (Gee 2007).

The Energy Pill

Meaning is neither general nor decontextualised, but is instead situated in the ‘words, actions, objects, artifacts, symbols, texts, etc’ (Gee 2007, p 224).

Fighting the Monster

Games are a safe space, where the player can risk and experiment (Gee 2007).

Figure 11 Principle 1: Metaplay [edited and adapted by S. Bezzina] (Sploder #1 n.d.)

A game-informed approach to assessment extends the notion and effects of situated cognition (Brown et al 1989) towards assessment. The crude and meaningless reproduction of knowledge, in the form of recall and memorisation, in a ‘non-authentic curriculum’ (Knight 2002, p 281), has led assessment practices to become independent of the context of interest and thus inauthentic (Birenbaum et al 2006). On the other hand, authentic assessment strategies (Rust 2007) aim, amongst others, to demonstrate the ‘candidates’ real life performance skills’ (Whitelock and Cross 2012, pp 2-3). For instance, the use of computer and digital simulations in situated learning and assessment activities (Lunce 2006), helps learners in developing virtual identities (Gee 2007) and/or character roles (de Freitas 2006), thus becoming engaged in a perceived-real world where meaning is situated in the symbols, words and actions (Gee 2007). These, in turn serve as intrinsic fantasy elements (Malone 1980), which immerse the learner (Gee 2007) in an emergent narrative (Murray 1998). The learner is therefore stimulated to ‘think, act, and value like a professional’ (Gee 2005, p 2) in the process of developing ‘ways of thinking and practicing’ (McCune and Hounsell 2005, p 255) that lead to the necessary expertise (Begg et al 2007, McKenzie and O’Shea 2007). Furthermore, assessment like games, should serve as a safe and experimental space (Gee 2007), where the learner takes risks without detrimental consequences on achievement and progress. This space, called a psychosocial moratorium (Erikson 1956), promotes learning as a practice effect (Gee 2005), as the learner takes on an active and critical role in assessment (Clegg and Bryan 2006).

Principle 1

Situated cognition is supported through authentic experimental contexts