Learning through video games in problem-solving approach with handling activities. Part 2 the Learning the handling activity.

Learning is part of our adaptability. But how to optimize learning effectively and efficiently? Besides the traditional teaching materials such as books or texts, the field of information technology and communications (ITC) is constantly growing and increasingly used as a support for learning. In this area of information technology (IT), video games is a live media and omnipresent contact for a wide audience. Video games are a possible way to include objects of learning to be the link between ITC and user tool for easy learning. It is through the playful elements of a learning object in a video game with handling that ITC will be able to dock at the didactic pedagogical environment.

This research ultimate goal is to contribute to the development of learning activities in the problem-solving approach with the help of video games. The actions will be focused on objects of learning and specifically what is done by a person in solving process problems facing a learning object with handling activities. This second article in a series on the subject present the handling activity.

The handling activity

As we have seen, it is difficult to clearly define the concept of learning objects and its structure. To arrive at a solid analysis of the realizations carried out by the user, we must not analyze the unstable concept of the learning object, but what activities the user must accomplish in order to realize any learning object. To do this I make the following hypothesis: a learning object consists of many handling activities, it’s handling activities are generic, reusable and applicable, regardless of the context of the learning object. In addition, as discussed later in this study, handling activity are integrated into problem-solving approaches.

To have a more stable base than the disparate definitions and structures of a learning object, we will descend to a smaller granularity level, hence handling activity. The graph below shows a portrait of the relationship between the learning object and the handling activity.


Figure 1: Portrait of the relationship between the learning object and the handling activity

The handling activity is the element chosen to undertake an analysis in order to realize the design of a unified interface, composed of several tools. This to use in a context of problem solving.

But what is a handling activity? The simple definition of activity and handling gives us a first answer.  “The definition of handle is: “Manage (a situation or problem).” (Oxford Dictionary). The definition of activity is: “The condition in which things are happening or being done.” (Oxford Dictionary). With the combination of these two definitions, we can arrive at the definition that a handling activity is: “To manage a situation or a problem in a condition in which the situation or problem is being solved”.

Several similar terms are used to define handling activity in various fields such as education, psychology, sociology and anthropology. The following rhetoric brings together those various terms.

Handling Activity = Skill = Task = Action = Verb


The handling activity is a skill and therefore a “know-how” as defined by the Ministère de l’éducation du Québec in the education training program for Québec secondary school. The handling activity is a task, a determined work that must be performed according to a problem resolution. Handling activity is an action, therefore it’s what a person undertakes and what he is doing, an intention or an impulse, to solve a given problem. The handling activity is a verb because the terms qualified as handling activity is an action verb like: read, write and search. The handling activity is translated as an activity. The handling activities allow the user to apply different strategies and different reasoning in his approach to problem solving. A further comparison can be made with Gilbert Paquette’s definition of learning activities. The only precision is that the handling activity becomes precise on the specific actions to attain the solution of a given problem. This series of articles on the subject will therefore rely on this handling activity definition.

Transposed into the world of video games, manipulation activity is closely linked with the problem-solving approach. Therefore, the following chapters will analyze the recommended approaches to problem solving within the video game framework.

Transposed into the video games world, handling activity is closely linked with the problem-solving approach. Therefore, the following chapters will analyze the recommended approaches to problem solving within the video game framework.



  1. [IEEE2016] IEEE; 2016; Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC), Systems Interoperability in Education and Training; http://ltsc.ieee.org/wg12
  1. [WISC2016] WISC, ( Wisconsin Online Resource Center ); 2016; http://www.wisc-online.com
  1. [Bourda2001] Bourda, Yolaine ; 2001; Supélec, Plateau de Moulon, Cahiers GUTenberg no 3940; p71- 79; http://www.gutenberg.eu.org/pub/GUTenberg/publicationsPDF/39-bourda.pdf
  1. [Cisco1999] Cisco; 1999; Systems Reusable Information Object Strategy Definition, Creation Overview, and Guidelines, Version 3.0;
  1. [EduCause2016] Educase; 2016; NLII ( National Learning Infrastructure Initiative ); http://www.educause.edu/eli
  1. [Paquette2002] Paquette, Gilbert; 2002, l’ingénierie pédagogique, Pour construire l’apprentissage en réseau, Presses de l’Université du Québec


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