Play the game.

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

Game 4 Warrior [designed and created by S. Bezzina]


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

The Wise Owl

In-time and on-demand feedback (Gee 2004) directs the players towards the ultimate goal (Malone 1980).

Gateway Doors

Levelling is a tangible sign of progression (Greenfield 1984).

Health and Stamina

Immediate performance feedback helps players self-regulate and monitor their course of actions (Malone 1982).

Figure 14 Principle 4: Metaplay [edited and adapted by S. Bezzina] (Sploder #1 n.d.)

Feedback on learning during assessment remains a major concern for students in higher education (Hounsell 2008, Nicol 2010). In contrast to immediate feedback on performance experienced during gameplay (Malone 1982), feedback during assessment practices is often ‘too sparse, too low in nutrients, or comes too late’ (Hounsell et al 2007, p 1). On the other hand, feedback in a game-informed approach to assessment assumes a high value disposition through its feedforward nature (Hounsell et al 2007), as it becomes both informative and constructive, and does not exclusively focus on past or current performances. This helps the learners to program their subsequent actions (Gee 2004) and therefore act effectively on the feedback received (Carless 2007, Gibbs and Simpson 2004-5). The in-time, ongoing and formative feedback (Gibbs and Simpson 2004-5) strengthens the students’ self-regulating and -monitoring strategies (Nicol and MacFarlane-Dick 2006, Nicol 2009) and allows students to close the loop between the present and desired performance (Carless 2009, Sadler 1989). For instance, well-crafted multiple choice questions, using hints and background information, can have an accelerant effect on learning (Hounsell 2007), by engaging the leaner in a probe, hypothesise, reprobe, rethink cycle (Gee 2007). In fact, this learning and assessment model forms the ‘basis of expert reflective practice in any complex semiotic domain’ (Gee 2007, p 88). Furthermore, good feedback practice results in a number of positive repercussions. Rather than a one-way transmission model of information about learning, good feedback encourages teacher and peer dialogue (Nicol and MacFarlane-Dick 2006). This reinforces the students’ own repeated involvement in assessment and ‘is likely to lead to better quality learning and higher grades’ (Carless et al 2011, p 406).

Principle 4

Progression is promoted through feedforward