What is E-learning?
E-learning is the general term regarding learning activities where interactivity with a computer programme such as Cerberus is the medium. In our case a computer network is used to transfer the learning material in the form of a serious game to the learners.
Important bennefits regarding to e-learning are that we no longer require books which help the environment, the learning experience is by the learner not experienced as learning but as a fun situation and lastly we can automatically generate highly detailed statistics of the learner.
E-learning vs. Crowdsourcing
The best known form of a serious game such as Cerberus is where the game teaches new knowledge to its players. In the case of Cerberus however, the players are actually responsible for the creation of new knowledge. The fact is, however, before we can enable our players to generate the knew knowledge out of the satellite photographs Cerberus first must teach the players about what to find. This way Cerberus acts both as a crowdsourcing and an e-learning platform. See the diagram for a short clarification.
Diagram: In the case of Cerberus as an e-learning platform we transfer new knowledge to our players. In the case of Cerberus as a crowdsourcing platform the people generate new knowledge out of the data. These two factors are in most Cerberus versions combined.
Learning by Doing
In Cerberus the teaching process is seamlessly integrated with the gameplay. This way the learner does not have the feeling he is actually learning but is just having a fun experience which boosts motivation.
Each virtual landing on a planet's surface begins with a set of missions. These missions ask the player to carry out some specific tasks. Generally these task contain important features which need to be found and mapped. The player 'earns' the next mission when he has reached the mission goals
In this example we see the current mission of Debrah. She has to earn 160 points by finding river deltas on a specific photograph of Mars. When she finds enough she can carry on to the next mission. Note the short mission description in the picture. You can try it yourself here.
While playing the players get active feedback of how they are doing by earning rewards and scores. The higher the scores the better the player performs. By this method players really get rewarded for doing things right. This stimulates them to do their best, play long and work accurate.
The Help System
Because mapping planets can sometimes be tricky, Cerberus is also equiped with an always accessible help system. Each tool comes with some real examples of what to exactly ook at in the photographs. These help features can be written in cooperation with educational institutions or scientists.
A screenshot of the help system in use. Note the photographic examples of where to look at.