Your mission: to expose the aliens who are attempting to take over earth and make us mindless consumers with bad science. As an agent with the Federal Bureau of Science, you will receive the latest training methods used to spot aliens posing as human scientists, you will identify the flaws in research from a variety of fields, and you will interrogate suspected alien spies.

 Professors wanted a better way to teach the skills of critical thinking and scientific reasoning, students wanted engagement and video games,
the answer: Operation ARA
Operation ARA (formerly Operation ARIES!) is an intelligent tutoring system that using principles from the science of learning and serious learning games. Students participate in a game-like setting that begins when they sign up to be agents for the Federal Bureau of Science to save the earth from aliens from the ARIES constellation that are attempting to colonize the Earth. These aliens are taking over the Earth by turning humans into mindless consumers by using bad science. Students have to learn scientific principles to be able to identify the alien spies and prevent the earth from being colonized.
The training proceeds in three stages: the Basic Training, the Proving Ground Module, and the Active Duty Module.
  • In the Basic Training module, students learn about science by reading the Fuath's Guide to the Bean's World of Science that was written by aliens (the Fuaths). Students receive adaptive tutoring based on their level of prior knowledge from an Intelligence Tutoring System (ITS) known as AutoTutor. Students are tutored by a fellow student and expert avatars using natural language.
  • In the Proving Ground module, students learn to identify alien scientists' poorly conducted research by evaluating realistic case studies, some of which are faulty. Students play against another (rather obnoxious) player for points that are award for correctly identifying flaws in research.
  • In the Active Duty module, students interrogate potential aliens spies. Students must generate their own questions about the suspected alien's research and earn points for correctly identifying alien and human scientists.
The game covers 12 scientific concepts shared among psychology, sociology, biology, and chemistry. The storyline of Operation ARA involves an epic story of love, revenge, uncertainty, spies, aliens, political intrigue, suspense, surprises, and saving the world. The story elements are presented across the game to maintain engagement.


ARIES 90 sec Introduction