Waves: Scaffolding Self-regulated Learning to Teach Science in a Whole-Body Educational Game

  • Emily Kuzneski JohnsonEmail author


This study employed mixed methods to investigate the efficacy of scaffolding self-regulated learning prompts within a whole-body educational game, Waves. This game was designed to teach middle school–aged children basic concepts of waves by moving their bodies to mimic the motions of waves, physically experiencing different velocities and wavelengths. Textual prompts intended to scaffold self-regulated learning behaviors respond to learner actions (or non-actions) within Waves. The adult facilitator reinforced the in-game prompts by speaking them aloud. This study is framed around the research questions: (1) How does a whole-body educational game effectively teach players about STEM concepts? (2) How can self-regulated learning be effectively scaffolded in a whole-body educational game? and (3) Are self-regulated learning scaffolds utilized the same way by all players? A quantitative pre-post assessment of learning and self-regulation skills was further elucidated by a case study analyzing the recorded discourse of two partners while participating in the larger study.


Self-regulated learning (SRL) Simulation Educational game Scaffolding Science education 



The studies in this article are also described in a published dissertation (Johnson 2015).

The creation of Waves was supported by the National Science Foundation under award DRL-1114621, and much of this study fell under the National Science Foundation sub-award 2014-00987-01.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The study described in this paper followed guidelines for ethical treatment of human subjects and received the full approval of the university’s Institutional Review Board. Written informed consent was received from the participant’s parents or guardians, and verbal assent was received from the participants themselves prior to their participation in the study. Conflict of interest: the creation of Waves was supported by the National Science Foundation under award DRL-1114621, and much of this study fell under the National Science Foundation Subaward 2014-00987-01. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the granting agencies.


Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the granting agencies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Games Research LabUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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