Mechanics of Game-Based Learning

11 08 2011

This is a 3DGameLab -related quest. In my GameLab group, we reflect on why many kids like games more than school and read about the core game elements that experts have identified that engage and attend to learning: Choice, Failure, Progress Bars, Multiple short and long term aims, reward all successful efforts, prompt & meaningful feedback, elements of uncertainty/awards, socialization.

I want to take 2 minutes to share the names of experts that we were provided on our quest, because I truly believe that you all need to be looking them up if you have not done so yet: Mark Prensky, Dave Munger, Katrin Becker, Chris Dede, Jim Gee, Jane McGonigal, Tom Chatfield, David Gibson, Clark Aldrich, Raph Koster, Albert Bandura, Rubin Puentedura, among others.

In this Edutopia video, Jim Gee provides us with a great analysis of games, manual, schools and technology. The concept of approaching manuals and other textbooks for on-demand learning is, as Gee mentions, not that revolutionary. After all, the words chosen in manuals are context-relevant. They make sense within the situation in which individuals use them to solve the problem at hand. Hence they make more sense once you are dealing with the problem and going back to the manual to understand better your problem. Not before. “Words are t0ols for problem solving” (Jim Gee). Let’s apply this concept to education. Jim Gee provides a great history example with the game Civilization. Players will learn about Egypt when they choose to and when they’ve reached a certain level to understand how to better “conquer the world”. Indeed, games are not THE solution to the making school more motivating, more interesting and more self-rewarding, but they are part of the solution (also Jim Gee. Have you watched that video yet? A badge for you if you do and tell me about it in comment! :-D)

These are the 3 questions I could choose from to complete my quest:

  1. How might a teacher apply even ONE characteristic of games and game environments (choice, progress bars, etc.)  to a typical unit or module of instruction?
  2. What reflections or thoughts do you have about Jim Gee’s notion of the paradigm shift?  How will it change your school or institution?
  3. What unique insight can you take away from this discussion?

Quite frankly, they are all 3 great conversation starters! I will choose 1) because I just recently read about UDL. While I read about Universal Design for Learning, I remembered thinking that game-based learning could be used in designing methods in a UDL curriculum. Also, if you have watched the previous 2 videos I posted on this blog, you should have a few characteristics of game and game environments quite fresh in your mind. And so, Progress Bars, for example, are the first game characteristic that pops to mind when asked about ONE characteristic a teacher might apply. It seems the easiest function to add to a course. Instead of keeping ones teacher’s gradebook inaccessible to all and provide only the final grade after all ‘redemption” is even possible, the progress bar would provide each student with a clear understanding of how much they’ve accomplished and how far they still need to go to complete their class, at all time, throughout the period of the module being taught. Seeing the bar go up is motivating. It is effort rewarding. It could be added to whatever LMS the teacher uses. If the teacher does not have access to an LMS, the template of the school’s fundraising thermometer scaled down to the pupil’s notebook and customized to the specific quest/unit/module would do just fine.



Did you watch the video? Yes? Well, let me know here in the comments what you think and I’ll give you this badge!




2 responses

11 08 2011
Roland Sassen

Great video Sabine!
Roland Sassen

12 08 2011

Roland! Thank you so much for checking in on my blog! We are still on for the Inworld Discussion on WonderSchool, correct? I can’t wait to blog about it. In the meantime, I am sending the video badge to the email address you used to leave this comment. Feel free to post it on your own blog/website with a caption link referring to this post or simply identifying this badge as an EducEdge Video reward 😀 Cheers!

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