The Power of Creativity: How Game Design Changes the Way We Think - Brian Waniewski - Life Game designers, who must capture and retain players' attention and interest quickly, need to understand human psychology and culture Every summer, fifty fifth graders converge on Manhattan for a week-long game design camp called Mobile Quest and magic happens. In only a few days, the familiar urban landscape is transformed. The mesh metal trash cans on every street corner become portals to a vast underground enemy fortress. Of course, the fountain is still a fountain. The mesh metal trash cans on every street corner become portals to a vast underground enemy fortress. This shift in perspective is tremendously empowering, especially for young people transitioning into adulthood, with all its alien rules and expectations. This kind of empowerment is one of the first fruits of beginning to think and act like a game designer. A game is a complex system. Play-testing is done by observing players as they move through the world of the game. Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Instructional Game Considerations | Kapp Notes CSU Resources Here are some resources you may find helpful from the workshop. When you are in the classroom or teaching online, you may want to find new and interesting ways to engage students. Continue Reading → A conversation with GamEffective The other day I had a chance to have a conversation with Roni Floman of GamEffective. Continue Reading → Screening of an Innovative Film Locally If you are in or around the Bloomsburg area….You might be interested in what is below: I’m happy to announce our screening of a new documentary that takes audiences into three innovative public schools where students are taught HOW to think rather than WHAT to think. Continue Reading → A Conversation with Brandon Carson The other day I had a chance to catch up with Brandon Carson who contributes to our industry in so many ways. Continue Reading → Keynote Resources from #LUC2017 The Lectora 2017 Users Conference promises to be an exciting and engaging event. Continue Reading → Continue Reading → Continue Reading →
Networked Learning Design - Find out what people like Problem summary The challenge of producing learning experiences that learners will genuinely engage with is getting increasingly complex. As technology allows for learning resources to be ever more closely embedded into peoples’ lives, these experiences have to compete for attention directly. Discussion Adults learn when they want to – and generally don’t learn when they don’t want to. There is a strong connection between positive emotional experiences and the ability to recall information; Intrinsic motivation – motivation provided by the task in hand – encourages people to engage in new learning experiences, and to repeat these experiences; (this is what the computer games industry relies on so heavily); A person with a relaxed, positive frame of mind learns more effectively. There are a number of models of motivation from educational research, such as Victor Vroom’s Expectancy theory and John Keller’s ARCS model. If I work hard, can I the target I have been set? Recommendations
Networked Learning Design - Make learners drive your design The learning problems that designers need to tackle are becoming more complex. As this happens, it is more important than ever for designers to get to the root of learning needs; to deeply understand the learners, their environment and what needs to change. And this focus on learner needs should be sustained throughout the learning design process, not just during an initial analysis phase. However, learning designers face a number of obstacles in getting to the root of learning needs, not least current practice. Discussion It is common practice in the e-learning industry to either carry out over-complex training needs analyses, or largely ignore learner needs. Traditional training needs analysis methods can be highly effective in situations where the substance of what needs to be learned is relatively stable and can be clearly defined. In less traditional environments, the opposite problem exists. Clients may obstruct access to learners as they are concerned that involving learners will:
Networked Learning Design - Understand the context Problem summary Learning needs arise in specific contexts. So to truly understand a learning need, a learning designer needs to gain a deep understanding of the context in which the need arises. Discussion Theorists and practitioners of learning design are increasingly emphasising that learning needs, and the strategies required to address them, are embedded in specific contexts. Traditional instructional design methodologies regard the context of learning as a low priority. In many fields of design, it is regarded as critical for the designer to gain a deep understanding of the context in which the user functions. Recommendations Three methods of research are particularly relevant to understanding the learner’s context in learning design. Learner observation. Observing is, in many cases, more effective than interviewing as it is possible to see peoples’ emotional responses and their typical tactics for dealing with problems at first hand. Learner stories and anecdotes.
Networked Learning Design - Understand the constraints Problem summary Effective design in any discipline demands that a designer is skilled in identifying constraints, and comfortable with accommodating shifting constraints throughout the process. For various reasons – pragmatic, technological and philosophical – learning designers are being required to take into account ever more complex constraints. Well-established instructional design methodologies and processes tend to assume that design options are fairly limited, and constraints are clear. Discussion All design activities occur with boundaries set by constraints. A growing challenge for learning designers is that their working environment is rapidly changing: This could be seen as requiring a shift from an engineering way of thinking, in which all requirements are known and objectively stated at the outset, to a design mindset, in which constraints can only partially be understood at the outset, and emerge during the process. Recommendation: a model of learning design constraints
Networked Learning Design - Debate with your design Problem summary Good design is like a debate in which the designer “converses” with the thing they are designing. They try out ideas, see what works, shift positions and try new things, often in a fluid, messy, semi-conscious way. As it is this conversation that creates the value, any “efficient” processes that minimises conversation removes value. Rather like film writers and playwrights, learning designers face the problem that what they’re designing is primarily an experience, not a tangible product. Apart from in their imagination, they can’t see what it is that they’re designing, nor can they sample the experience that will result. So it can be difficult to engage in the kind of exploratory “discussion” that good designing usually requires. Discussion Effective design is not a linear process. This process of progressive experimentation – of "dialogue" with the design – is valuable because it simultaneously resolves some issues and reveals new ones. Recommendations
Networked Learning Design - Occasional rants - Why serious games work - an over-simplified view I've just been working on a presentation for a client about what serious games are and how they work. It's been really fun. One thing that I think confuses people, or perhaps overwhelms them, are the large number of ways in which games appear to support learning. And, of course, these lists are all really useful. So a couple of years ago I produced a very simple little model. They provide motivationThey offer varying degrees of simulation They tie experiences together through narration I reckon you can gather together most characterstics of games under these three banners. But of course, games are extraordinarily varied. For example, taking some of Clark Aldrich's categorisation of genres: Here's what the balance of characteristics in a "frame game" - fun puzzles, card games etc. - might look like: Here's a branching story: And here's what Aldrich calls "practiceware" (generally heavyweight, high-fidelity simulation, often in 3D): I know this is an over-simplification.
Aiming for “Transfer” with Educational Games: the wrong question As mentioned in previous posts, I recently presented a paper at CHI 2011 (available online for free here). At both the academic session itself, and through bumping into people afterwards, one question kept coming up. It is a question that I have often fielded whenever talking about educational games, but which I did not address in the CHI paper (there’s only so much you can fit in a conference paper!) In order to explain this position I will refer you first to some research. In my discussion of how Applied Behavioural Analysis can help guide educational game design, I discuss some very similar points: ”behaviour analysts insist that the “behaviour chosen …. must be the behaviour in need of improvement, not a similar behaviour that serves as a proxy for the behaviour of interest, or the subjects verbal description of the behaviour” (Cooper, Heron & Heward, 2006, p.16). All of this comes with a caveat – games are not the ideal way to teach everything.
The Little-Known Surprise That Improves Learning in Serious Games Tags: code red triage, erik van der spek, improve learning, surprise Erik Van der Spek conducted a study which was published within the British Journal of Educational Technology. Van der Spek and his peers at the University of Utrecht used a model of the game Half Life 2 to develop a training scenario. The most memorable films and books tend to be the ones that involve intricate plot twists and turns. No way! Caspian Learning utilises this element of surprise to good effect. So why do we do this? A variety of experiments (Campion et al, 2009) that analyse text comprehension show that it can be improved by narratives containing surprising elements. Being immersed in a scenario makes us construct a situation in order to better understand and act within the scenario. Because we all have strong points of view that are unique to us as individuals, we seek information that confirms how we view the world. Surprises in scenarios challenge our perceptions of the world. A Surprising Event!
Andrzej Marczewski's Blog - What’s the difference between Gamification and Serious Games? The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community. The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company. Anyone who has read my blogs will know that I am a little against the constant arguments about what gamification is and what it isn’t, so this may seem a little hypocritical. Here I am defining it after all. NOTE: I feel it is important at this stage to say this. Gameful Design This is the use of game thinking in user experience. Gamification Well, we all know what this is. “The application of gaming metaphors in non game contexts to influence behavior, improve motivation and enhance engagement“ It is what you get when you take elements and ideas from games and apply them to things that are not games. Serious Games / Simulations A serious game is a game with purpose, it was not created to be solely entertainment. Games