Introduction: My action research project is about using the MMORPG, Guild Wars to teach social skills like, teamwork and leadership that are highly sought after in the 21st century workforce. I chose to create a presentation for my leadership project because I feel that the type of research that I did is better suited for this medium. After reviewing many different conference websites I narrowed my choices down to two. The Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference (http://www.glsconference.org/2011/) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference (http://www.isteconference.org/2011/).
Inspiration: I became inspired when I just happened across the World of Warcraft (WoW) in School Wiki (http://wowinschool.pbworks.com/w/page/5268731/FrontPage) by Lucas Gillispie. He had already done something similar to what I was wanting to do with an after-school club using WoW. I researched his work, emailed back and forth with him, and weighed all my options. After much deliberation I decided to use Guild Wars because I was familiar with it already and it is free to play after you purchase the game.
So then I wondered what would happen if I created a Virtual Guild, mixed in some volunteers from all over the world, and we began a journey into the unknown? We will discovery that here shortly, but first lets talk about what a guild is. A guild is a club or an organization of people with related interests. All members of this virtual guild wear a cape designed by the guild leader to show that they all belong to the same group. So, what does it mean to be part of a guild? Community (to belong), Teamwork (working together as a group towards a common goal),Relationships (forming new and lasting friendships with people from all over the world), Experiences (to learn by encountering something new or observing others), Sharing (giving and receiving items earned through game play that may help your teammate), Entertainment (gaining pleasure or amusement from playing a game with others), Encouragement (praising and supporting your teammates no matter what), Cooperative (working together for a common purpose), Useful (being of service to others, helpful).
Literature Review: 21st Century Workforce Readiness In 2006, Casner-Lotto and Barrington conducted a survey on the readiness of new entrants into the U.S. Workforce, which found that employers listed teamwork and collaboration as the second most critical skills needed in the workplace. The authors went on to discover that three-quarters (74.7%) of the surveyed employers felt that teamwork and collaboration ranked very high on the list for successful job performance of high school graduates. The survey showed similar results for college graduates at an even higher percentage rate stating 82.7% for two-year graduates and 94.4% for four-year graduates (p. 24).A nationwide poll conducted by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2007) identified that 80% of voters felt the skill’s students needed to know for today’s 21st century jobs are much different than they were twenty years ago. Sources:Casner-Lotto, J., & Barrington, L. (2006). Are they really ready to work: Employers' perspectives on the basic knowledge and applied skills of new entrants to the 21st century U.S. workforce (Rep.). Retrieved October 16, 2010, from http://www.p21.org/documents/FINAL_REPORT_PDF09-29-06.pdf Beyond the three Rs: Voter attitudes toward 21st century skills (Rep.). (2007). Retrieved October 16, 2010, from Partnership for 21st Century Skills website: http://p21.org/documents/P21_pollreport_singlepg.pdf My literature review is available at: http://levonda.com/AR/Lit._Review.htmlImage: Dreamstime.com
Literature Review: Learning through Video GamesShaffer, Squire, Halverson, & Gee (2005) argued that “Video games have the potential to change the landscape of education as we know it . . . that learning experience will serve as preparation for meaningful activity in our postindustrial, technology-rich, real world” (p. 111).In a report from Project Tomorrow’s website, the data revealed that 56% of students can see how games and virtual simulations could transform their education, but only around a quarter of the school district administrators include them as part of what their school would look like if money was no object. The students told Project Tomorrow (2009) that, “these tools help them connect content with the real world and give them opportunities to apply their knowledge, test their assumptions and take risks in a safe environment” (p. 4).Sources:Shaffer, D., Squire, K., Halverson, R., & Gee, J. (2005, October). Video games and the future of learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 87, 105-111. Unleashing the future: Educators speak up about using emerging technologies in the classroom (Rep.). (2009). Retrieved October 29, 2010, from Project Tomorrow website: http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/pdfs/SU09UnleashingTheFuture.pdf Image:dreamstime.com
Literature Review: MMORPGsDucheneaut & Moore (2005)…the quests found in most MMORPGs are generally too difficult to complete by only one player. Dickey (2006) found that the majority of MMORPGs allowed players to socialize, collaborate, communicate, and strategize making them very social environments.Sheehy (2010) shared her work with Gillispie on the WoW (World of Warcraft) in School Project. Their observations showed that “students become the experts” through the collaboration, planning and research, they conduct to become better players. They have also seen students “emerge as leaders” by joining up with other players from all over the world to “accomplish collective goals” (slide 35).Sources:Dickey, M. (2007). Game design and learning: a conjectural analysis of how massively multiple online role-playing games (MMORPGs) foster intrinsic motivation. Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(3), 253-273. doi: 10.1007/s11423-006-9004-7 Ducheneaut, N., & Moore, R. (2005). More than just ‘XP’: Learning social skills in massively multiplayer online games. Interactive Technology & Smart Education, 2(2), 89-100. Sheehy, P. (2010). WoW for Education [PPT]. Retrieved October 16, 2010, from http://www.slideshare.net/PeggySheehy/wow-for-education Images: dreamstime.com
After surveying over 35,000 MMORPG players, Yee (2004) found that, “The social skills learned in these environments are highly transferable to real life. After all, providing leadership for and managing over 100 people is an incredibly complex task no matter where it occurs.”Source:Yee, N. (2004). Growth and change in MMORPGs. Retrieved October 2, 2010, from http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/gateway_growth.html
Methodology (Cycle 1)Pre-Survey(Google Docs - https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?hl=en&formkey=dGJzdTNJU1FfQnM5SDlEcXcxeU1nelE6MQ#gid=0) completed before the AR project for data collection on the participant’s age, gender, occupation, prior knowledge, and social skills before beginning the cycle on Dec. 20, 2010. The audience will consist of 12 people. Eight participants are male and four are females. They range in age from 14-39. Three are full-time employees and nine are students. They all volunteered to take part in this project.They will watch a tutorial on how to install and setup Ventrilo to use for all online meetings. Then we will have a walkthrough on character development and name selection. Participants will create their characters by choosing a primary profession and class, their appearance, and a name for their character. They will post to the discussion board a picture of their character and brief discussion about their character and name choice. After that we will explore the game interface and learn how to move around within the game. Participants will also learn the various ways to communicate in and out of Guild Wars.Begin a journey into Guild Wars learning the basics and completing tasks that require teamwork and leadership skills.All cycle 1 data can be found on my website at: http://levonda.com/AR/Cycle_1.html
The Journey…Engaging participants through in-game quests/missions, voice interaction, anddiscussion boards.Participants becoming the experts and leaders who help teach others. Participants working together as a team all with the same goal in mind.
Results (Cycle 1): Through the collection of this data I noticed some pros and cons to this project. The demographics for the group were 55% male and 45% female with 80% of the group being single. When asked participants stated that 80% of them play MMORPGs with real-life friends and the results varied for the amount of time they spent playing. The majority (86%) of the seven participants did feel as if they learned some teamwork and leadership skills from playing Guild Wars.My data showed that communication was a key part to both teamwork and leadership skills. Out of the seven participants three did not have a microphone, which made it difficult during quests and missions to communicate effectively and often times their text messages were not received quickly enough to keep other team members from dying. The data also showed that character creation needed to be discussed among group members before professions were selected in order to create a balanced team, since this was not done during the first cycle the teams were very unbalanced make some of the quests/missions much more difficult. There was also input from participants that more discussions should have been made on the characters builds before each quest/mission in order to insure that the party could have worked better together. Overall, these weren’t quite the results I expected, but I have learned from them in order to help me better prepare for the next cycle. I found it difficult to get members to volunteer to lead the quests/missions. Some were more eager than others, but I wanted everyone to have the opportunity in order to see the strengths/weaknesses of their leadership role and look for ways to improve upon it. The teamwork has become better as we have progressed from week to week, but I feel it was still better in the smaller groups than when we merged everyone together into the group of eight.
Methodology (Cycle 2)Cycle 2 will be set up much the same as cycle 1 with a few exceptions. •The daily sessions will increase half an hour to allow for more communication in both Ventrilo and in the online discussion board. •Participants will discuss their professions before creating their character to allow for a more balanced team and allowing everyone the opportunity to think critically about how the profession they choose can affect the team as a whole. •All participants will be required to have a microphone to allow for better communication in Ventrilo.•Participants will move forward from the Prophecies campaign to the Factions campaign and then on to the Nightfall campaign if time permits.•Mission planning in the discussion boards to allow the team to plan the path they need to follow, any problems they may face, and any changes they may want to make to their skill bar.All cycle 2 data can be found on my website at: http://levonda.com/AR/Cycle_2.html
Results (Cycle 2): The demographics for the group changed a little from cycle 1 since one of the female participants dropped, so in cycle 2 there were 71% male and 29% female with 100% of the group being single. When asked participants stated that 57% of them play MMORPGs with real-life friends and the results varied for the amount of time they spent playing. All (100%) seven of the participants did feel as if they learned some teamwork and leadership skills from playing Guild Wars. Their comments from cycle two were mostly positive. Several participants mentioned that teamwork was easier during cycle two because professions were more balanced on the team. From the quantitative and qualitative data collected I can conclude that there was an increase in the leadership and teamwork skills from cycle one to cycle two with communication being the key element to both. Six of the participants decided to stay together in the guild and continue on after the Factions campaign to complete the Nightfall campaign. I will continue following their progress.The data showed that communication was a key part to both teamwork and leadership skills. The greatest benefit came from all seven participants having a microphone for this cycle allowing them to communicate more effectively than in the first cycle. The data also showed that character creation being discussed during this cycle was seen as a definite plus among group members and helped to create a more balanced team for the various quests/missions. Overall, the results from cycle 2 show communication and teamwork skills increase over time when working with the same group of people. Leadership skills however, varied per participant and most felt that more time was needed to allow the leader to get the needed input from all group members prior to entering the quests/missions.
Conclusion:Even though this concludes both cycles of my action research the majority of my participants have decided to stay with the virtual guild and move on to the next campaign in the Guild Wars trilogy, Nightfall. I would also like to conduct further research into leadership skills since that is the one component of this research that seemed to fall through. I am also hoping to recruit more participants into my virtual guild (VirtuGuild) within Guild Wars and look at other games that could be used to teach these particular social skills in order to prepare participants for the 21st century workforce. I would love to incorporate this into an actual after-school program to see what happens as well.This research was relevant in that it did provide participants a fun way to learn several of the key skills needed in today's workforce. However, I do agree with the following feedback from one of my participants: “Research into leadership is done better over longer periods of time with one person being assigned roughly a week in the leader position. That amount of time gives enough time to assess the persons weak points and strong points and if they got any better over the research period or learned anything useful. The two-part research was a good idea if all members stayed the same, because then you could look at part one for if any growth happened from part one to part two. ~Renegade”
Guild Wars: Building Social Skills for the 21st Century Workforce
Building Social Skills<br />for the <br />21st Century Workforce<br />LeVonda Vickery, Full Sail University<br />
Literature Review<br />80% of voters felt the skill’s students needed to know for today’s 21st century jobs are much different than they were twenty years ago. <br />Teamwork & Collaboration<br />21st Century Workforce Readiness <br />
Literature Review<br />Learning through Video Games<br />“Video games have the potential to change the landscape of education as we know it.”<br />56% of students see the potential of using games in education.<br />Opportunity to test student’s assumptions.<br />Allow student’s to takerisks in a safe environment.<br />
Literature Review<br />Which looks more engaged?<br />MMORPGs<br />MMORPGs are very social environments.<br />Quests are too difficult to complete alone. <br />“Students become the experts … and emerge as leaders.”<br />Join together to accomplish collective goals.<br />
“The social skills learned in these environments are highly transferable to real life. After all, providing leadership for and managing over 100 people is an incredibly complex task no matter where it occurs.”<br />
Methodology (Cycle 1)<br />Survey on prior knowledge and social skills<br />12 people, 14-39 yrs. old<br />Setting up Ventrilo for communication<br />Character creation and name selection<br />Journey into Guild Wars<br />All cycle 1 planning can be found on my website at: http://levonda.com/AR/Cycle_1.html<br />
The Journey…<br />Engaging participants through in-game quests/missions, voice interaction, and discussion boards.<br />Participants becoming the experts and leaders who help teach others. <br />Participants working together as a team all with the same goal in mind.<br />
Results: Cycle 1<br />All cycle 1 data is available on my website at: http://levonda.com/AR/C1_Data.html<br />
Cycle 2: What Changed?<br />7 people, 14-26 yrs. old<br />Increase daily session time<br />Balancing out the team<br />Headsets with mics for everyone<br />Mission planning on discussion board<br />All cycle 2 planning can be found on my website at: http://levonda.com/AR/Cycle_2.html<br />
Results: Cycle 2<br />All cycle 2 data is available on my website at: http://levonda.com/AR/C2_Data.html<br />