Legends of Alkhimia: Fostering Authentic Learning of Chemistry within Fictionlized Game Environments
Legends of Alkhimia is a multi-player computer game designed to foster authentic learning of chemistry in fictionalized game environments. It is part of a broader learning program for lower secondary school chemistry designed to help students understand chemistry through situated practice. Student learning involves extended problem solving in the context of performing scientific inquiry.
In the game, students have to solve the mystery of recent strange happenings in the once sleepy town of Alkhimia. In tackling this challenge, students engage in doing chemistry to create effective weapons that can repel marauding monsters that appear out of nowhere and to fulfill missions for the good of various inhabitants of the town. They slowly become acquainted with the legends of Alkhimia. They learn that not all is as it appears . . .
The pedagogy of game-based learning in Legends of Alkhimia involves the dialectic relation between experiential and dialogic learning within a developmental trajectory of chemistry competence gained through chemistry performance. By engaging in the learning program, students develop a practical sense with and of chemistry as a professional domain of practice. In so doing, they appropriate the habitus of professional practice and develop the values and dispositions of critical reflexivity and epistemological vigilance. In short, they learn to become chemists.