Organization, Information and Learning Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to discover how three person teams use game templates (trivia, role-play, or scavenger hunt) to socially construct knowledge. The researcher designed an experimental Internet-based database to facilitate teams creating each game. Teams consisted of teachers, students, hobbyist, and business owners who shared similar interests and goals of creating knowledge to share with others. Four main questions guided the research. The first question and its sub questions seek a quantifiable measure of how social construction of knowledge occurs during the game creation process. The Interaction Analysis Model (IAM) (Gunawardena et al., 1997) was used to measure the lower and higher levels of knowledge created by each team. The first question asked which game template (trivia, role-play, or scavenger hunt) generates social construction of knowledge (SCK) with sub-questions that studied the lower and higher SCK phases of the IAM. Questions two and three captured qualitative aspects of the participants experience creating knowledge games. Question four adds additional quantifiable analysis based on system usage data. The study deployed a quasi-experimental mixed methods research method. The broad framework of this study — communities of practice, knowledge creation and measurement, and experimental constructivist learning — called for quantitative and qualitative data to understand how SCK occurs online through games. The researcher was at the center of data collection by recruiting participants, designing the system, and collecting research data. Data collection lasted for a span of nine months. Demographic surveys, coding and ANOVA testing of computer messages for SCK using the IAM Model, a thematic review and content analysis of interviews, observations, analysis of game completion surveys, and a report of system usage data encompass the data analysis for this study. All templates generated SCK according to the IAM Model's definition of social construction of knowledge even though there was no statistical significance in terms of which game template was superior in generating SCK coding. Teams initially struggled with the format of the system and messaging system, but gained familiarity by the second and third games. The majority of the games created in this study were rated by the researcher as containing relevant and well written content. The researcher found that familiarity of teammates with one another, complexity of the system, collaboration, contributions, and communication tendencies within each template, and limitations of the technology as factors that influence how SCK occurs. All three game templates generated SCK as supported by findings from mixed methods research. Participants preferred to construct knowledge using the trivia template because of its ease-of-use and straight-forwardness. Role-play offered engaging complexity; even though it was short and simple, discussion and disagreements were needed to construct the activity. Scavenger hunt was found to be an intriguing template for teams to create in-depth activities and share with others, despite taking the most amount of time and writing to complete. Overall, participants expressed optimism for using the system to create knowledge games in order to share with others. Future researchers must employ mixed-methods research when studying custom-built SCK systems. Other suggestions include recruiting larger pools of participants, diversifying the types of teams in the study, providing better incentives, allowing flexible team sizes, and incorporating suggested improvements of the system's design and message board.

Degree Name

Organization, Information and Learning Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Organization, Information & Learning Sciences

First Advisor

Gunawardena, Charlotte N.

First Committee Member (Chair)

Law, Victor

Second Committee Member

Holden, Christopher

Third Committee Member

Salisbury, Mark




knowledge creation, knowledge management, constructivist learning, game-based learning, mixed methods, interaction analysis, social construction of knowledge, databases

Document Type