Using games & cooperation to increase self-confidence

Project Baby Yoda is an educational card game that focuses on building self-confidence while playing. It allows the player to look at their strengths and build goals based on their strength. This project has been based on scientific research such as the growth mindset and learner agency. User testing was done and provided successful results in both usability and an increase in self-confidence.

Who are they?

Hanze University of Applied Sciences has many first-year students with low self-confidence. Many other universities see this as well in new students. Research shows that self-confidence aligns with achieving positive study results and low self-confidence with negative study results.  This research focused on the creative and technical studies within Hanze University.

How to increase the self-confidence of students in the first year of higher education with a tool?

The Research

Self-confidence is an important personal trait when it comes to learning and personal growth. But self-doubt is often more prevalent when starting a new study than confidence. Through research I found the components needed to design a simple card game for students, that could be used under the guidance of their teachers, that would give them insights into their talents, and how goals don’t have to be based on weaknesses but on a willingness to develop further.

Through content research, I discovered that the focus should be on learner agency, progression-based coaching techniques, and the development of a growth mindset. The game came in when researching the target audience. They had a preference towards games and learning in a more fun way as self-confidence in this target group came with lots of fears.

Design Requirements

Intentional actions

The intervention should help the students make their actions intentional to increase motivation

Purposeful learning

The intervention should give students a purpose when it comes to learning to ensure an increase in motivation.

Authenticity

The intervention should help students experience a stronger sense of self and give them insights into what makes them authentic.

Control

The intervention should give the students a sense of control over their learning process.

Clever design choices

Best practices and scientific approaches have been used to create the best user experience.

Repetitive Actions

As one of the goals was for an easy to learn, easy to explain type game, the most important thing was to create repetitive actions that don’t require thinking so that the focus could be on learning. The design became a card game in which students had to collect body parts (arms, legs etc) that has specific skills to them and create a game character that represented themselves. They then would build onto that character by adding a learning goal in the shape of a hat. and lastly they could form groups with people they could help with their strengths and vice versa. In this way the focus was always on talents and the development of new talents.

Cooperative Design

The text on the cards was designed in cooperation with students. I asked +100 students about their strengths and used those to come up with the cards designs. I asked educators to help me with the categorization of the strengths. This would make it easier for students to pick their strengths as similar ones would be on the same type of card.

After the students make a character they discuss their superheroes with each other to find a well balanced group that can support each other in their learning.

Experimenting & interviews

To fully understand the usability of the product I tested this with both educators and students. The teachers were provided with a PowerPoint to help guide the process in class, a brief manual to understand the game and the cards. The teachers used the game in class and afterward I interviewed them with a semi-open interview structure to learn about their experiences.

The Results

“I think they were very enthusiastic about it. They got active immediately and I think they had quite some fun with the characters and creating them and sharing them “

What is the practicality of Project Baby Yoda for the target users?

All teachers indicated to be happy with the guidance in the shapes of the PowerPoint and manual. They indicated students working with the product and enjoying the product. A positive sidenote that hadn’t been encountered in the design was that teachers were excited to get so many insights into their students, their strengths, and what they would like to focus on in terms of learning. The teachers all found the product usable and have since embedded it in the curriculum as standard practice.

All conclusions and results can be found in the research document that has been published on ResearchGate

Do you have a project in mind?

I would love to talk to you about the possibilities for your brand. You can contact me via: hello@odett.nl or via phone at +31(0)6 1191 8501.

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