The impact of game-based design on visitor engagement with a science museum app

Brian Nelson, Catherine Bowman, Judd Bowman, Younsu Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Ask Dr. Discovery is a National Science Foundation-funded study addressing the need for affordable, ongoing, large-scale museum evaluation while investigating innovative ways to encourage museum visitors to engage deeply with museum content. To realize these aims, we are developing and implementing a mobile app with two parts: 1) a front-end virtual scientist called Dr. Discovery (Dr. D) for use by museum visitors that doubles as an unobtrusive data-gatherer and 2) a back-end analytics portal to be mined by museum staff, evaluators, and researchers. With a partnership between Arizona State University (ASU), the Arizona Science Center (ASC), and the Arizona Museum of Natural History (AZMNH), we are developing this app to function as a platform for STEM informal education, research, and data-driven decision-making by museum staff. In this paper, we describe the impact of a game version of the Dr. D app on visitor engagement with the app, specifically investigating whether visitors using the game version of Dr. D ask more questions of the app than visitors using a baseline non-game version.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th European Conference on Game-Based Learning, ECGBL 2018
EditorsMelanie Ciussi
PublisherDechema e.V.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781911218999
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Event12th European Conference on Game Based Learning, ECGBL 2018 - Sophia Antipolis, France
Duration: Oct 4 2018Oct 5 2018


Other12th European Conference on Game Based Learning, ECGBL 2018
CitySophia Antipolis


  • Game-based learning
  • Informal science education
  • Museum evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Education


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