Comprehension Game is developed based on reading research from the last 30 years utilizing the available scientific knowledge. Contrary to the vast majority of ways to support reading, Comprehension Game does not focus on basic literacy, i.e. on the reader learning to pronounce words from writing. For that GraphoLearn is a good practising tool (www.lukimat.fi).
Comprehension Game helps the user to reach the central goal of reading: transmitting the message or the information to the use of the reader.
In today’s world, Finnish girls learn to master the main objective of reading. This is proved by the PISA results. The goal is reached by continuing reading, preferably immediately after learning the basic reading skill. Girls start to read early and most of them read so much (motivated by for example the reading diploma) that they can automate their reading ability already during the second and third grades. Thus saving their cognitive resources from being wasted on the basic processes of reading. Therefore, those resources are at their disposal for understanding the message conveyed by the text.
Unfortunately, the nation that reads the most in the world – Finns, who read more newspapers, for instance, than other nations – is not able to encourage boys to read enough to reach the girls’ level. Girls too have something to learn in achieving critical reading skills, the practice of which is also part of Comprehension Games’ basic functions.
In practice, students learn the basic reading skill during the first grade in Finland, thanks to good school teaching. Nonetheless, many of the boys fail to reach the main goal of reading, which is proved by the research on adults (https://lukukeskus.fi/news/aikuisten-lukutaito-vaatii-lisaa-tunnistamista/). More than 10% of adults do not understand their employment contract after reading it.
Therefore, good advice is valuable when it comes to stopping the decline of PISA results. Especially now, when video games that attract boys take their time away from reading in ever more extensive and captivating ways. Reading is necessary in order to achieve full literacy and to learn information by reading. That’s how most information is learned.
The scientific basis of reaching full literacy
Comprehension Game has been developed based on the best scientific knowledge (for more information see scientific basis) to help with reaching full literacy. In order to do that, the learner needs to be able to understand the information they read as well as they understand spoken messages.
In addition, the basic structure of the game (evaluating the truthfulness of statements) trains and motivates the learner to have a critical approach to texts. That is something that a reader needs to be careful of in today’s world when the amount of misinformation is increasing. In other words, one of the goals is to develop critical literacy.
Good literacy skills ensure learning at school. That’s why, training with Comprehension Game has been taken to the school environment, together with reading textbooks. Consequently, the most important information in the schoolbooks will be learned as a secondary product.
The teacher becomes experienced in strengthening the core of their teacherhood (= How to help their students to absorb the most important information from their schoolbooks in a way that encourages them to learn). When contents are created by several professionals in the field of education, the game will contain locally the optimal educational contents for every language, school, and age environment.
At the core of learning is repetition. Realizing the repetition can only succeed when the learner commits to learning with sufficient intensity. This can most likely be achieved in an entertaining, game-like environment. The children of today are used to spending their time in such environments. The game-like elements should be maximized especially for boys, for example by the means of competition. as long as the criteria focus on increasing the learner’s competence instead of mere comparison between learners.
The study of literacy recognizes a group of essential demands that reaching the main goal of literacy (the one measured in PISA tests) requires, in particular when the focus is on learning, especially school learning. In a well-managed school system, the guidance of school learning takes place in such a way that moves forward in a step-by-step manner. Always so that the necessary background information for taking the next step has been learned before. Therefore, the school context is well suitable for practicing reading comprehension. The child is able to understand when they do not bite off more than they can chew at once. A simple example of this is the fact that in order to understand new information, the learner needs to be familiar with the related concepts. Before it is possible to learn multiplication, the child needs to learn addition; before it is possible to learn geography, the child needs to learn what exists in nature, that is, land and sea, continents and countries which have cities, one capital city, etc.
In addition to learning the vocabulary and concepts of different levels, the learner progresses from the base level to the meta-level, through which it is possible to gain all the basic knowledge and eventually erudition. Erudition is gained in all educational levels from primary school to university and beyond. All of this promotes the process of absorbing knowledge.
One of the learning objectives mentioned in the literature can be described as thinking skills. An experienced teacher can create statements in the game considering this side as well. Comprehension Game offers help in all levels of supporting the learning process where the subject of learning can also have a visual form. Therefore, the most extensive application of the game is learning the core materials of a nonfiction book. Every nonfiction book contains core information as well as plenty of supplementary material, which for example a university student does not necessarily need to learn in order to do excellently in assessments.
It is also important to highlight how Comprehension Game is based on so-called dynamic assessment. In other words, it gives as accurate an assessment of the learner’s current state of knowledge as possible. It also adapts to the speed and quality of the learning process of each learner so learning progresses optimally.
Comprehension Game has features that are superior to other digital learning environments, which for example include…
- Independence of language
- The readiness to efficiently teach students to learn by reading
- An unlimited and inexpensive way to learn information that is presented in a visual form
- Easily accessible online so that the user can see the game’s fundaments, method of use and the evidence base
- Efficiency, since the learning materials focus on core information
- Ensuring the learning results, since both the learner and the teacher get feedback on how well the material was understood
- The readiness to teach the core information even without purchasing the traditional book-form materials
- Is both inexpensive and usable everywhere where there are digital devices and internet connection
- The most important feature seems to be the possibility, offered and encouraged by the method, to bring it to all the literate people in the world in a way that guarantees learning. This is based on the possibility to define the goal and the assessment method for every course. It saves the measurement results which can be used for proving the effectiveness empirically. Comprehension Game can be set to follow the learning process automatically and very precisely. That is a task for the researchers, for whom the method could be automated to validate the effectiveness, that is, in a form that allows the research to progress effortlessly.
The validation studies for the game have been started in two extreme ends when it comes to learner environment and course contents: Finland & Zambia
In Finland the objective is to give the game to all the primary school teachers and their students the possibility to use the game free of charge in 2022-23 and to observe its effectiveness. So far, Comprehension Game has been piloted in Finland in one municipality.
In rural Zambia (Katete), where literacy is either unfortunately low or non-existent, the use of Comprehension Game is the most extensive for the time being and progresses in the shape of ongoing research. At first, the game GraphoLearn (grapholearn.info) was used for training the basic reading skills, and currently Comprehension Game is used for practising reading comprehension.
The part of the research results that cover the learning of basic reading skills has been published, and the part that covers reading comprehension is meant to be published in 2022 with appropriate references.