The Seven Circumstances of Game-Based Learning <ul>(A Worked Example and an Invitation) Dylan Arena Stanford University </ul>
Outline <ul><li>Where the idea came from
How it might be applied to game-based learning
Why it might be useful </li></ul>
The Origin
Games and Learning: Not Monoliths <ul><li>Many learning games are bad
Many learning games are good
Some types of learning are privileged
Some types of learning are favored
We could better evaluate/discuss with a common language and finer distinctions </li></ul>
Hermagoras the Rhetorician  (et al.) <ul><li>Rhetoric </li><ul><li>Thesis (abstract claim)
Hypotheses (supporting particulars) </li><ul><li>Loci (places to find information) </li><ul><li>Quis  (who?)
Quid  (what?)
Quando  (when?)
Ubi  (where?)
Cur  (why?)
quem ad modum  (in what way?)
quibus adminiculis  (by what means?) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
Dylan the Researcher  (et al.) <ul><li>Game-Based Learning </li><ul><li>Thesis (abstract claim about a learning game)
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The Seven Circumstances of Game-Based Learning

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These are the slides for a worked-example talk I gave at the Games+Learning+Society 7.0 conference in Madison, WI, in June of 2011.

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The Seven Circumstances of Game-Based Learning

  1. 1. The Seven Circumstances of Game-Based Learning <ul>(A Worked Example and an Invitation) Dylan Arena Stanford University </ul>
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Where the idea came from
  3. 3. How it might be applied to game-based learning
  4. 4. Why it might be useful </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Origin
  6. 6. Games and Learning: Not Monoliths <ul><li>Many learning games are bad
  7. 7. Many learning games are good
  8. 8. Some types of learning are privileged
  9. 9. Some types of learning are favored
  10. 10. We could better evaluate/discuss with a common language and finer distinctions </li></ul>
  11. 11. Hermagoras the Rhetorician (et al.) <ul><li>Rhetoric </li><ul><li>Thesis (abstract claim)
  12. 12. Hypotheses (supporting particulars) </li><ul><li>Loci (places to find information) </li><ul><li>Quis (who?)
  13. 13. Quid (what?)
  14. 14. Quando (when?)
  15. 15. Ubi (where?)
  16. 16. Cur (why?)
  17. 17. quem ad modum (in what way?)
  18. 18. quibus adminiculis (by what means?) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Dylan the Researcher (et al.) <ul><li>Game-Based Learning </li><ul><li>Thesis (abstract claim about a learning game)
  20. 20. Hypotheses (supporting particulars) </li><ul><li>Loci (places to find information) </li><ul><li>Quis (who is the learner?)
  21. 21. Quid (what is being learned?)
  22. 22. Quando (when does the learning occur?)
  23. 23. Ubi (where does the learning occur?)
  24. 24. Cur (why is the learner playing?)
  25. 25. quem ad modum (how does the learning occur?)
  26. 26. quibus adminiculis (with what does the learning occur?) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  27. 27. The Circumstances
  28. 28. Who is the learner? <ul><li>Basic demographics </li><ul><li>Age
  29. 29. Gender
  30. 30. Culture(s) </li></ul><li>Prior achievement </li><ul><li>Prior exposure(s)
  31. 31. Prior success(es)/failure(s) </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. What is being learned?* <ul><li>Curricular content </li><ul><li>Math (fractions)
  33. 33. Science (fluid dynamics)
  34. 34. Civics (branches of government) </li></ul><li>Nature of that content </li><ul><li>Low-level procedural skills (fluency)
  35. 35. Style of thinking (scientific-inquiry disposition)
  36. 36. Particular values (liberal democratic citizenry) </li></ul><li>* The question of what is being learned also depends strongly upon the theory or theories of learning underpinning the game’s educational use. For example, as Kirriemuir and McFarlane (2004) point out, behaviorist, cognitive, and socio-cultural paradigms might have drastically different definitions for what constitutes learning in a given context. </li></ul>
  37. 37. When does the learning occur? <ul><li>Before gameplay </li><ul><li>Game reinforces previously introduced concepts </li></ul><li>During gameplay </li><ul><li>Game provides the meat of a curricular unit </li></ul><li>After gameplay </li><ul><li>Game provides a first taste of a new concept </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Where does the learning occur? <ul><li>In the game itself </li><ul><li>In-game events </li></ul><li>In the surrounding affinity space </li><ul><li>Forum threads </li></ul><li>In an accompanying formal curriculum </li><ul><li>Lecture
  39. 39. Facilitated discussion </li></ul></ul>
  40. 40. Why is the learner playing? <ul><li>Intrinsic/extrinsic motivation </li><ul><li>Because it's fun
  41. 41. Because I'll get extra credit </li></ul><li>Compulsory/voluntary gameplay </li><ul><li>Because I have to
  42. 42. Because I choose to </li></ul><li>Curricular/extracurricular context </li><ul><li>Because my teacher assigned/suggested
  43. 43. Because I wandered across the site online </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. How does the learning occur? <ul><li>Mechanism </li><ul><li>Repetition (surgical technique)
  45. 45. Drill-and-practice (arithmetic)
  46. 46. Direct instruction (cell structure)
  47. 47. Free or guided exploration (science inquiry) </li></ul><li>Integration between content and mechanics (or lack thereof) </li></ul>
  48. 48. With what does the learning occur? <ul><li>Commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) game </li><ul><li>Civilization IV </li></ul><li>Modded game </li><ul><li>Revolution (MIT mod of NWN) </li></ul><li>Purpose-built game </li><ul><li>Quest Atlantis </li></ul></ul>
  49. 49. A Few Examples
  50. 50. Periodic Table Game (Sheppard Software) <ul><li>Who is the learner?
  51. 51. Middle- or high-school student studying basic chemistry (English-speaking, with Internet access)
  52. 52. What is being learned?
  53. 53. Recall of the mappings between element names and symbols
  54. 54. When does the learning occur?
  55. 55. Initial exposure to element-symbol mappings pre-gameplay, but fluency gains happen during gameplay
  56. 56. Where does the learning occur?
  57. 57. Initial exposure in formal curriculum, but most learning happens in-game
  58. 58. Why is the learner playing?
  59. 59. Most likely to improve school grades (possibly compulsory, but probably not)
  60. 60. How does the learning occur?
  61. 61. Trial and error, repetition; no intrinsic integration
  62. 62. With what does the learning occur?
  63. 63. Purpose-built game </li></ul>
  64. 64. Zombie Division (Habgood et al.) <ul><li>Who is the learner?
  65. 65. Upper-elementary students with basic proficiency in multiplication/division (English-speaking)
  66. 66. What is being learned?
  67. 67. Procedural skill of identifying factors of a number
  68. 68. When does the learning occur?
  69. 69. Initial exposure to factoring concepts pre-gameplay, but fluency gains happen during gameplay
  70. 70. Where does the learning occur?
  71. 71. Initial exposure in formal curriculum, but most learning happens in-game
  72. 72. Why is the learner playing?
  73. 73. Because “it's fun” (mostly optional play in computer lab)
  74. 74. How does the learning occur?
  75. 75. Intrinsically integrated trial and error
  76. 76. With what does the learning occur?
  77. 77. Purpose-built game </li></ul>
  78. 78. America's Army (U.S. D.O.D.) <ul><li>Who is the learner?
  79. 79. Teens to young adults (English-speaking, ideally eligible for U.S. military service)
  80. 80. What is being learned?
  81. 81. Skills, knowledge, and values involved in performing duties of U.S. Army Soldier
  82. 82. When does the learning occur?
  83. 83. Primarily during gameplay
  84. 84. Where does the learning occur?
  85. 85. Vast majority of learning happens in-game, but also in affinity spaces (e.g., forums)
  86. 86. Why is the learner playing?
  87. 87. Because it's fun (optional play in out-of-school contexts)
  88. 88. How does the learning occur?
  89. 89. Intrinsically integrated guided exploration
  90. 90. With what does the learning occur?
  91. 91. Purpose-built game </li></ul>
  92. 92. Recap <ul><li>Game-based learning is a high-dimensional space with many areas of success
  93. 93. GBL designers should specify where their offerings exist in that space
  94. 94. Seven Circumstances—or something similar—could be a good way to do so
  95. 95. I'd love for folks to critique and extend this idea to help make it generally useful </li></ul>

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