Learning through video games in problem-solving approach with manipulation activities. Part 3 the problem-solving approach.

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 manipulation activities. This third article in a series on the subject presents the problem-solving approach.


The Problem-Solving Approach

The learning process is crucial in order to fully understand the handling activity. It allows us to understand the cognitive path of the person who uses different handling activities in order to solve a given problem. As a basis, let’s take the example of the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec, a government institution that regulates education in Quebec. The mission of learning according to the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec is to:

“To help students acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes that should enable them to continue to know and understand the material that surrounds them (…), we encourage you to take a learning approach similar to a technique of problem solving. “[5]

The chart below shows the path proposed by the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec. This approach is based on different benchmarks. It is important to note that the proposed pathway is not linear or cumulative, it may include failures, errors and that “the intellectual activity of the young people involved does not necessarily support the relational requirements of this approach. “[5]. Moreover, this approach is not rigid and leaves room for imagination and creativity. It is also taken up and supported by other research [1,2,3,4,6].



Figure 6: Problem Solving Approach. [5]


The different points of this graph are defined as follows:

– Problem definition (Définition du problème)

The points that characterize this stage are: Observations of the natural or constructed environment, experimental manipulations, measurements, readings, projections of audiovisual documents. These points lead to a questioning process. This situation brings the person into a state called “cognitive imbalances”. First the person tries to identify the problematic then the student will go in search of answers to his questions related to the problematic posed. [5]

– Formulation of hypotheses (Formulation d’hypothèse(s))

The person makes assumptions that seem plausible in order to solve the problem. These expectations can be intuitive, relational or explanatory, it is important to mention that they are temporary solutions that will then be subjected to a more thorough audit and analysis. [5]

– Data Collection (Cueillette de données)

At this stage the person is looking for information. It gathers information related to the problem situation through research and explorations in different data sources. This quest is obtained by observations, measurements, experimental manipulations, surveys, documentary research or other means. [5]

– Data processing (Traitement des données)

The person structures, organizes, classifies, compares and interprets the information obtained in relation to his or her assumptions. The whole, in order to solve the problem. [5]

– Draw conclusions (Établir des conclusions)

As a result of the individual’s steps in problems solving, he concludes by making a judgment about the value of his or her assumptions and demonstrates the results of his / her research in various forms: reports, models, laws, theories. Moreover, the person realizes some introspection on the whole of the situation of learning that he has just lived. Lessons learned during the problem solving process can be reused for a similar learning situation. [5]

In this context, handling activities will be used to cross the different benchmarks of the problem-solving approach. At the level of the definition of the problem, handling activities can take the form of objectives in the context of a video game. In the hypothesis formulation phase, possible choices, trials or actions could be identified as handling activity in order to formulate the hypothesis (s). At the level of data collection, handling activities will be solicited in order to search for information, observations, measurements, experimental manipulations and investigations. When processing data, the person will have to reorganize the information obtained during the data collection. These handling activities will be at the level of reading and writing in order to perform the classification, comparison and interpretation of his or her hypotheses. Finally, in terms of the conclusion, the person will use the handling activities to synthesize the other points made previously. The conclusion will therefore be an amalgamation of the handling activities carried out in the preceding points.


In Conclusion

It is imperative to mention that through its problem-solving approach, the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec has attempted to simplify the approach taken by a student who learns by applying this to a problem that interests him / her. This learning is gradually initiated by the student to a working method based on a strategy of trial and error, experimentation or repetition. All this, to enable him to integrate the abilities, knowledge and attitudes learned during his learning and that he can reuse in the future. It is therefore crucial to ensure flexibility in the use of handling activities, since each problem solving approach, although it goes through all the points mentioned above, remains personal to each person thus the possibility of different video games style.

By analyzing the structure by objectives and the problem-solving approach proposed by the Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec, we are able to draw a general picture of the plausible handling that a person will have to perform. The completed process will allow us to achieve the intermediate objectives. At each stage of the problem solving process, the person will be called upon to use handling activities. It is at this level that handling activities are understandable and observable.



  1. [EduCause2016] Educase; 2016; NLII ( National Learning Infrastructure Initiative ); http://www.educause.edu/eli
  1. [GALLAGHER2000] GALLAGHER, Ann M., DE LISI, Richard, HOLST, Patricia C., MC GILLICUDDY-DE LISI Ann V., MORELY, Mary, CAHALAN, Cara, Gender Differences in Advanced Mathematical Problem Solving, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 75, 165–190 (2000)
  1. IMS, ( IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc. ), http://www.imsproject.org/
  1. [JEAN2003] JEAN, Martine, Description et analyse des stratégies d’apprentissage d’étudiants universitaires, Mémoire, Université Laval, Département d’études sur l’enseignement et l’apprentissage, 2003
  1. [MEQ2004] GOUVERNEMENT DU QUÉBEC MINISTÈRE DE L’ÉDUCATION; Programme de formation de l’école québécoise Enseignement secondaire, premier cycle, 2003, Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, 2004
  1. [WISC2016] WISC, ( Wisconsin Online Resource Center ); 2016; http://www.wisc-online.com


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