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Seriously considering play: Designing interactive learning environments based on the blending of microworlds, simulations, and games

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Abstract

Little attention has been given to the psychological and sociological value of play despite its many advantages to guiding the design of interactive multimedia learning environments for children and adults. This paper provides a brief overview of the history, research, and theory related to play. Research from education, psychology, and anthropology suggests that play is a powerful mediator for learning throughout a person's life. The time has come to couple the ever increasing processing capabilities of computers with the advantages of play. The design of hybrid interactive learning environments is suggested based on the constructivist concept of a microworld and supported with elements of both games and simulations.

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Correspondence to Lloyd P. Rieber.

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The author thanks Luther Rotto and Tillman Ragan for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper. He also thanks Ron Oliver and the faculty and students at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia, for their comments and feedback of this work presented during his visit in the summer of 1995. Special thanks go to Cindy Ellington and Holly Ward for their participation and cooperation in various aspects of the project in which children designed their own educational computer games.

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Rieber, L.P. Seriously considering play: Designing interactive learning environments based on the blending of microworlds, simulations, and games. ETR&D 44, 43–58 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02300540

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