Art history students see hundreds of different images and must memorize the details and significance of each one. Thus, learning the images takes a significant amount of time that students are often not willing to spend. However, games do a great job in motivating people to spend a lot of time performing repetitive tasks.
We designed a game prototype aimed at art history students in which the users sketch on the images, encouraging them to spend more time with the images and drawing their attention to specific areas in them. The sketching task involves the user finding and tracing a glyph; the tracing requires precision, forcing the user to focus on specific parts of the image as well as attending to the image as a whole. Once the user completes the sketching of the glyph successfully, new information is unlocked and displayed. Providing information that relates to specific areas and features of an image can prevent important details from going unnoticed and helps the user with the overall understanding of the image.
To test the effectiveness of our game, which was developed with images and content provided by an art history professor, we performed a user study with 25 university students. The user study showed some images through the sketching game mechanics and others in a static textbook style. We found that participants spent more time and remembered more details on the sketch-based images compared to the textbook-style images.