Hooked By Avatars? Literature Studies in Upper Secondary School—A Simulation Study

  •  Caroline Graeske    
  •  Sofia Aspling Sjöberg    
  •  Stina Thunberg    


Several studies have shown that Swedish students’ reading comprehension and ability to understand fiction are decreasing year by year. Numerous alarming reports point to the unsustainable situation concerning young people’s reading engagement, but the ideas of how it can be remedied are few. This study aims to investigate and evaluate a didactic design that includes avatars as game elements in order to promote students’ reading of fiction. What opportunities and challenges might such a design present? In the study, an action research method and game theory were used, where teachers and researchers collaboratively explored and evaluated the outcome. The results showed that this design offered many opportunities and generated reading engagement. The students co-design their learning by creating an avatar and then entering the fictional world of a short story. Creating an avatar that interacts with the fictional text requires both participation, reading comprehension and meta analytic skills. However, the design also presented challenges, that some students did not link their avatars clearly to the text and instead did their own stories. The design could thus be further developed to provide more room for avatars to interact more with the chosen literary environment.

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