Modification by Adaptation: Proposing Another Pedagogical Principle for TGfU

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter


This chapter presents a scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) study focused on how games taught in physical education can draw on game-based learning in video games where conditions are created in the game for the constraints on the player to change depending on the outcome of a previous game encounter. This chapter is organized into three major sections. The first section explores how complexity thinking can inform learning through adaptation games. The key premise here is that complexity thinking focuses on the adaptive self-organizing systems in which learning emerges from experiences that activate transformation in the learner (Davis & Sumara, 2006). The second section advocates and provides support for Hopper, Sanford, and Clarke’s (2009) and Hopper’s (2011) position that game modification by adaptation represents another modification principle of TGfU in addition to Bunker and Thorpe’s (1986) modification by representation and modification by exaggeration. The third section explores how pre-service teachers, as students in a games course, experienced instruction that was informed by game modification by adaptation and, more broadly, the ‘game-as-teacher’ as they learned (or re-learned) how game learning develops. The purpose of this study was to examine a key premise that this approach creates a complex adaptive system, with enabling constraints as a guideline, of players who engage in a game that is close, where play engulfs them with the delight of good play (Kretchmar, 2005).

Original Citation

Richardson, K.P., Sheehy, D., & Hopper, T. (2013). Modification by adaptation: Proposing another pedagogical principle for TGfU. In A. Ovens, T. Hopper, & J. Butler (Eds.), Complexity Thinking in Physical Education: Reframing Curriculum, Pedagogy and Research (pp. 181-193). New York: Routledge.

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