A Magic Bullet for Assessing Games for Learning

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NOTE: For anyone who has viewed previous Magic Bullet slideshows. The new piece in this one is the "Ed Piece".

Katrin Becker (2012) A Magic Bullet for Assessing Games for Learning SITE 2012–Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2012, Austin, Texas, USA; March 5-9, 2012

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A Magic Bullet for Assessing Games for Learning

  1. 1. A Magic Bullet for Assessing Games for LearningSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 1
  2. 2. The Problem: • Games are complex • Assessments designed for commercial games miss the mark • Assessments designed for ‘traditional’ instruction also misses the mark • Summative assessment not always an option • Critical reviews are hard to do (and even harder to find)SITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 2
  3. 3. A Solution • Model for evaluating and assessing games • Subjective tool • All learning in a game can be classified in one (or more) categories • Learning NEED NOT = education • Currently developed for single- player games Relative ProportionsSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 3
  4. 4. Things I Can Learn • deliberately designed by those who created the game • Includes things designers *hope* people will take up • Includes game-specific objectives as well as general onesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 4
  5. 5. Things I MUST Learn • should be a subset of the first category • Required in order to achieve a specific goal or to win • Includes strategySITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 5
  6. 6. Collateral Learning • other things we can learn – these are not necessarily designed into the game, although sometimes designers may hope that players choose to take these up • Have NO impact on success in the gameSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 6
  7. 7. External Learning • not technically considered part of the normal gameplay • CAN impact success in the game • Includes social learning and outside communities • Also includes Cheats – typically designed into the game for testing purposes – often left in the game once it ships – deliberate design elements on the part of the designersSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 7
  8. 8. Re-cap • No guarantees • A useful lens • Can indicate where we need to make changes / additions / deletions Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 8
  9. 9. The Ed Piece • When specifically intended for education / learning, we need more. • Sub-divide into 3 additional classifications...... Defn: Serious Games Games design for purposes other than pure entertainment. Includes but is not limited to games for learning.SITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 9
  10. 10. The Ed Piece • Operational – Game controls & some mechanics – Necessary overhead • Educational – This is the critical piece • Elective – Anything that doesn’t fit into the other 2 categories (“fluff”)SITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 10
  11. 11. The Ed Piece • Operational – How much is reasonable? • Educational – How do you plan to use the game? • Elective – Can add value – BUT watch out for the Decorative Media TrapSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 11
  12. 12. It`s all about balanceSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 12
  13. 13. Thanks! Katrin Becker, PhDSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 13
  14. 14. A Few Examples • The following are a few examples that illustrate the basic model. • Feel free to peruse at your leisure. • Also feel free to discuss and ask questions.SITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 14
  15. 15. A Good Game • Good balance • Nothing I MUST learn that is outside of what I CAN learn. • Allows for learning outside of game and from cheats and community.SITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 15
  16. 16. A Good Game • Things I MUST learn < ½ of what I CAN learn • External learning not necessary • Collateral learning possible Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 16
  17. 17. MUST learn = CAN learn • Nothing to learn that isn’t part of the ‘goal’ • Often edutainment fits in here • Lack of collateral learning opportunities implies a single-purpose game (or an impoverished one) Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 17
  18. 18. MUST learn ≈ CAN learn • Challenging  for some, frustrating • Often requires players to repeat plays and levels many times Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 18
  19. 19. MUST learn ≈ CAN learn • Puzzles • Mini-games Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 19
  20. 20. MUST learn > CAN learn • Need outside help / resources to get into the game or progress • CAN still be good, but this has serious implications for audience and support requirements – Very risky in serious games Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 20
  21. 21. MUST learn << CAN learn • Lacks direction • Aimless • Toy, not game Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 21
  22. 22. MUST learn too small • Not much to hold interest That is what the game was meant to be. In reality, the game has no gameplay. A lack of AI means that the opposing truck does not even move from its starting location, so there is really no "race" to begin with. Winning is virtually guaranteed. As well, the game lacks collision detecting which means you can go through any objects like houses, boulders, trees, and bridges that you are required to cross. Besides this, the trucks do not have any top speed, which means you are able to accelerate into infinite, even when going backwards. Traveling off of the edge of the map is possible in the game. Despite the fact that the back of the box and advertising said it would have police chases, absolutely no police cars are actually present within the game. Source: Some Examples http://www.mobygames.com/game/big-rigs-over-the-road-racinSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 22
  23. 23. Little Game • Short form game Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 23
  24. 24. Drill Game • Short form game – Bad if not short Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 24
  25. 25. Short Form Game • Can be great if carefully designed • Must be designed as <= 5 minute game. • Includes many puzzles. Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 25
  26. 26. MUST learn includes collateral learning. • Can make for great game • Tends to worry traditional educators • Can be very useful in serious games • Games do not always need to be self-contained Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 26
  27. 27. MUST learn = 0 • No direction • Even SIMs has some MUST learn • Game on rails • This is a toy Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 27
  28. 28. No collateral learning. • Imbalance between CAN & MUST Some ExamplesSITE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet 28

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