Cognitive Processes (Probably) Stimulated By Using Digital Game "Dynamic Metabolic Diagram Virtual Krebs´ Cycle"

A. M. P Azevedo, L.C. Fagundes, M. L Zaro, M. I. Timm


This work describes some of the possible cognitive operations related to the use of an educational game type activity, which  is  part  of  the  software  e-metabolismo,  developed  to  improve  biochemical  learning.  This  interactive  activity, called  DMDV   – Dynamic  Metabolic  Diagram,  allows  participants  to  drag-and-drop  components  of  the  sequence  of chemical  reactions,  which describe  the  metabolic  route  under study.  It  also offers  to the students  quizzes  and texts about  the  subject.  The  suggestion  of  cognitive  processes  possibly  triggered  by  the  software,  which  must  improve effective learning, was based on Jean Piaget’s genetic epistemological ideas to explain the cognitive activity. One of these  processes  is  the  mere  act  of  playing  the  game,  which  Piaget  relates  to  humans  needs  of  learning  rules  of socialization.  It  also  can  be  seen  as  a  first  step  in  cognition  process,  the  so  called  adaptation  function  that  include assimilation and accommodation, interactive processes between intelligent activities and elements from the reality, to became part of the individual´s mental structures. Another example: drag and drop substracts and enzymes pieces in a  virtual  board,  each  one  corresponding  to  an  specific  place  in  a  metabolic  route.  This  operation  can  be  related  to motivation,  an  affective  element  proposed  by  Piaget  to  stimulate  curiosity  and  improve  construction  of  knowledge structures.  Besides  this  issue,  the  act  of  choosing  pieces  is  assumed  to  inform  the  student  previous  knowledge (previous  cognitive  structures),  which,  according  to  Piaget,  must  be  misbalanced  (equilibration  of  new  structures  is supposed to be part of the dynamic process of organization of new knowledge). DMDV was tested with a group of 24 students  (2003)  and  another  group  of  36  students  in  2004,  of  a  Biochemistry  Course  regularly  registered  at FFFMCPA´s medicine  faculty.  The  evaluation  of the student’s apprenticeship  was  made  by a  conventional  test  and three Conceptual Maps constructed by each student, (a) before playing the game, (b) immediately after, and (c) three months after the use of the game.


Cognitive Processes, Dynamic Metabolic Diagram, assimilation and accommodation.



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