Motivational Needs in Game Development using Unity in 9th Grade Informatics - A Qualitative Content Analysis
Abstract: This paper presents a qualitative content analysis on pupils’ experiences in learning to code through game development in the professional grade game development environment (GDE) Unity™ in six Informatics groups in a secondary school. After engaging in block-based programming through controlling robot behavior and initial text-based programming attempts in the console, 64 students between 14 and 16 years of age with minimal computer literacy explored the Unity GDE in a limited time frame of approximately 20 course hours. Following preliminary online resources provided through the “Learn to ProGrAME” project, they constructed a platformer game featuring physics objects and programming concepts such as inheritance. Development steps were typically elaborated together with the teacher in the classroom, before students collaborated in small groups to implement new components in their games. In 128 learning journal entries, students shared challenges and learnings. A qualitative content analysis was conducted to pinpoint their learnings, motivational needs and concerns. Findings were complemented by students’ contributions in focus groups on game development in five learning groups.