Fostering Argumentation Competence through a Digital Educational Game in Higher Education

This project aims to foster the acquisition and application of argumentation competence by the means of an argumentation game-based learning system with various fading regimes of external support. In addition, this project will investigate the focus of the empirical research on argumentation with respect to provision of first-order and second-order argument-scaffolding and their relation.

Higher education students need to acquire argumentation competence to grasp, comprehend and acknowledge different viewpoints, resolve differences of opinion, and finally to refine and integrate their own opinions considering others’ viewpoints and perspectives of the issue at stake. Yet students in academic settings struggle to argue in a reasoned way. The reasons include: a paucity of argumentation competence consideration in the regular curricula, students’ psychological, emotional, motivational, and social barriers, the complex, non-linear and ill-structure character of argumentation. Previously, many instructional scaffolds aim to orchestrate diverse roles and interaction patterns during argumentative discourse. Nevertheless, it is not clear whether these argumentation-scaffolds have been designed as first-order scaffoldings or as second-order scaffoldings. Moreover, computer-support systems need to motivate student’s in order to facilitate learning. Therefore, this research aims to 1) conduct a systematic literature review to ascertain the extent to which empirical research on argumentation focuses on the provision of first-order and second-order argument-scaffolding and what is their relationship, 2) find out the extent to which students’ knowledge, behavior and attitude toward argumentation are related, how they differ among individual students, and how they influence acquisition of domain-specific knowledge, 3) explore the effects of an argumentation game-based learning system on student’s argumentation competence and also its impact on acquiring domain-specific knowledge, 4) determine the effects of an argumentation game-based learning system with various fading regimes of external support on students’ acquisition of argumentation competence, domain-specific knowledge, as well as their motivation, appreciation, and satisfaction with the learning experiences and its outcomes.

About Anahuac Valero Haro

Per August 8th, 2013, Anahuac started his PhD-project on Adaptive Feedback & Adaptive Fading in Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning. In particular, his research will focus on fostering Argumentation-Based Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning by the means of a game-based system to teach argumentation skills. The game-based system would adapt and fade external support considering the current internal argumentative script of the learner. Before coming to Wageningen UR, Anahuac graduated from the international research-oriented master programme in Computer Science at Saarland University (Germany) in April 2013. During his study programme, Anahuac worked for 2.5 years as student research assistant and made his master’s thesis in the Collaborative Learning Lab of CeLTech (a research and innovation institute founded by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and Saarland University). There, he contributed to the development of LASAD (a web-based, collaborative argument-diagramming tool). In addition, Anahuac has worked in the industry as software engineer for 4 years.

Anahuac is interested in all aspects of how computers can facilitate learners the knowledge acquisition. Currently he has special interest on how to facilitate collaborative learning by the means of argumentation. In this approach, learners are expected to argue with their learning partners in order to grasp and comprehend the, possible, different viewpoints or perspectives of the issue at stake, to resolve the differences of opinions, to acknowledge their learning partners’ viewpoints and take them into account in relation to their own viewpoint, to integrate them all, and finally to reform their own opinion. This learning process requires learners to be able to argue, reason logically and think critically in order to explain their positions and the reasoning behind in a concise and clear manner.


Project team