CIRCA:Fort Edmonton Park Assessment


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Broadly speaking there are three methods of assessment to be used:

  • Evaluation by participants
  • Evaluation by game producers
  • Quantitative analysis of game metrics

Currently, the priority is developing the assessment tool for use with participants, as the seasonal nature of the park dictates that there is a narrow window in which to collect this information this year. Park staff and game producers will be available for commentary and analysis beyond the end of summer, unlike park visitors.


Interaction with participants

In order to determine the success of the game it will be necessary to get information from participants about their experiences. To this end we will need to have two groups of volunteers while the game is running and give each a post-experience questionnaire. Both a control group who does not play the game and a group which does play the game will be required to determine whether the experience of playing the game enhanced the overall park experience.

The questionnaire will be used to gauge how much fun participants in the game had versus those who simply visited the park and did not play our game. The questionnaire will also be used to gauge if they retained more knowledge from playing the game than from simply visiting the park and learning from signs and interpreters. Finally the questionnaire will help us ascertain what parts of the game interface worked and what needs to be improved.

The questionnaire will be available both in paper form and online. Perhaps participants could be asked if we can email them a link to the questionnaire?

Demographic Information

General demographic information (age, gender, experience with technology) will be useful to collect to identify who is playing the game. This will help determine whether the intended target demographic (men 18-35) is indeed the group who plays the game.

Demographic questions

  • Age:
  • Did you play Bygone Pursuits (the cell phone game) today?
  • Have you visited Fort Edmonton Park previously?


fAR-Play has been developed as an academic project with an interest in serious games and games for learning, thus, it is important for us to gauge if participants actually learned through the game. Learning will be measured by collecting the participant's perceptions about their learning experiences at the park. The intention of this is to gauge whether participants who played the game learned more, differently, or better than they would have without the game.

In order for the game to be successful the participants must learn in a way that differs from the normal park experience. This could be learning a different historical narrative, supplemental learning to what normally takes place in the park or simply an increased engagement with the material. We want to determine in which of these ways, if any, participants learned.

Learning questions

  • Today I learned from (check those that apply):
Other visitors
Bygone Pursuits
  • I learned about (check all that apply)
Edmonton's history
Metis and Aboriginal history

emailed Tom to ask for list of best topics

Follow up

A follow up questionnaire will allow us to determine if participants retain and/or use knowledge after the visit. This is to assess long term retention to see if anything learned at the park found its way into longer term knowledge or not. Both University of Alberta researchers and Fort Edmonton Park staff are interested in this result.

To that end, the questionnaire will ask participants if they consent to being mailed a follow up questionnaire in a month's time. If they consent, they will also write down their address or email address.


Part of a game (generally speaking) is to have fun, so we want to assess whether or not the experience was fun, as well as conducive to learning. Did the game make visiting the park more fun than it would have otherwise? The hope is to bring people to the park that may not otherwise visit so an experience on top of the normal visit is important to do that. Thus, the fun section of the questionnaire aims to determine whether the game was fun, and whether it increased the overall experience of visiting the park.

The staff at Fort Edmonton Park is also interested in what degree of long term knowledge was gained from the visit so we would also get permission to have participants fill out a second questionnaire one month after their visit, for both control groups. IT will be important to keep track of which participants fill out a short term questionnaire in addition to the long term one, as those having filled out the short term survey may be more likely to retain long term knowledge of the visit.

Fun Questions

  • I enjoyed visiting the park today
Strongly Agree
Strongly disagree
  • My enjoyment of the park today was enhanced by (check all that apply):
Riding the train
Interaction with the interpreters
Playing Bygone Pursuits


Since this is the first full scale test of a fAR-Play game it will be important to gather audience feedback regarding the interface and gameplay flow. It may be useful to compare the perceptions of game play ease/difficulty with the quantitative metrics collected from the game.

One concern with this game is the spotty connectivity within Fort Edmonton Park. As testing indicates that some phones/providers have

Interface Questions

  • I had difficulty playing the game due to:
Low cell phone signal
Problems with the interface
Lack of interest
Unable to answer questions

Interaction with designers and content creators

fAR-Play has been developed with the intention of using it as a platform for game development, therefore, it is important to assess the success of the relationship with the client. Additionally, the experiences of the students involved in designing and developing the game may provide insight into the overall process of game development.

Fort Edmonton Park Staff

We want to interview Fort Edmonton Park staff involved to find out how the experience went for them and to see what could be improved and what aspects they liked.

Given that fAR-Play is intended for client use it is important to ascertain if the designers and content creators for on the client side had a good experience with the platform and developing the game.

Questions for Staff

  • How could the creation process have been improved?

HuCo Students/Faculty


  • Journaling
  • Feedback to CS on interface/design
  • Reflections - ask Calen for a reflection?

Comp Sci Students/Faculty

It would be useful to interview the students/developers from Computer Science about their involvement in the process.

Metrics/data analysis

Participant interaction can be partly backed up by simple metrics from the game. By recording which questions users answered and how long they stayed on various web pages for the game it will be possible to see to what degree users engaged with the content and if users started the game then gave up or lost interest.

Success rates

  • Number of tries to get the question correct
  • Most/least attempted question
  • Most/least popular adventure

Entry points

  • Which adventure do participants begin on? Which question?
  • Which page is visited most often?


  • Initial document - Calen Henry – April 2011
  • Assistance with assessment methods - Erik DeJong - April 2011
  • Revision/expansion - Vicky Varga - June 2011
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