A highlight of this semester was writing arguments. It was challenging, yet exciting to see my arguments come together. Assembling research to support my claims allowed me to dive further into topics of interest to see if what I believe could be backed by science. I was able to confirm many beliefs that I had about cognition and learning from digital games. In addition, I found literature that supported the need for my research interests. Overall the research done for my arguments gave me confirmation that I am traveling in the right direction.
Writing arguments also enhanced my technical skills. Previously my strengths were in understanding and summarizing literature. Although this is a good strength to have, I needed to take that further by synthesizing that information to align with my beliefs or claims. In writing an argument points from literature tie back to the big claim, this allowed me to state the point and show proof that my point was valid. This way of looking at literature gave me an opportunity for discussion instead of merely summarizing literature.
The first minor argument, Web-based learning positively influences the achievement of learning outcomes, reflected how little I knew about writing arguments. Points were not as well made and the argument format was underdeveloped. I started realizing errors after I had finished. Out of the three minor arguments, my second was the strongest. The second argument, Commercial Serious Game Elements Can Influence Specific Cognitive Functions aligned with my research interests. I fixed errors made when writing the first argument making the big claim and points stronger than in the first. The third argument, Digital game-based learning improves achievement of learning outcomes. was interesting and along the lines of my interests but a couple of things threw me off. First, research does not consistently use game related terminology. A great deal of literature intertwines gamification, game-based learning and at times serious games. They are different concepts, which required more diligence in sorting through literature. Ultimately I tried using points that backed an accurate definition of digital game-based learning. The other challenge is I found lots of bits of information but not always enough to support a major point. It was harder to make major points and I ended up with a lot of subpoints. In taking the third minor argument to a major I tried grouping the subpoints to better assemble major points.
As a PhD student I find that I grow every semester. This semester is no exception, my academic writing has elevated further. My love for investigating cognitive changes from game play has grown into a passion, and I feel fortunate to pursue my passion.