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ARGs for Enterprise Teaching


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Presented at the HEEG event, Essential Tools for Entrepreneurship Education, 26th March, 2009

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ARGs for Enterprise Teaching

  1. 1. Alternate Reality Games for Enterprise Simon Brookes Senior Lecturer Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>What is an ARG? </li></ul><ul><li>Why ARGs for L&T? </li></ul><ul><li>Phoenix UK Ltd – an ARG for Enterprise </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is an ARG? <ul><li>It is not… </li></ul>
  4. 4. What is an ARG? <ul><li>It is not…. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is an ARG?
  6. 6. What is an ARG?
  7. 7. What is an ARG? <ul><li>“ The Beast” - 2001 </li></ul>
  8. 8. What is an ARG?
  9. 9. What is an ARG? Sentient Machine Therapist - Jeanine Salla
  10. 10. What is an ARG?
  11. 11. What is an ARG?
  12. 12. What is an ARG?
  13. 13. What is an ARG? Co + (Rb – B) + O + N + E + R + S + W + (Ce – C) + B + O + (Br – B) + (Hg – H)
  14. 14. What is an ARG? <ul><li>Word spread through blogs, forums, online discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Participant numbers grew rapidly </li></ul><ul><li>Players formed themselves into groups to collectively solve problems </li></ul><ul><li>Estimated more than one million players (12 weeks!) </li></ul><ul><li>The largest and most coherent group “Cloudmakers” </li></ul><ul><li>7480 members - 42,209 messages </li></ul>
  15. 15. What is an ARG? <ul><li>More than just website puzzles. Players were: </li></ul><ul><li>Faxed at work </li></ul><ul><li>Emailed </li></ul><ul><li>Sent text messages </li></ul><ul><li>Telephoned at home / mobile </li></ul><ul><li>Cryptic messages on TV </li></ul><ul><li>Mailed packages to home and work addresses </li></ul><ul><li>Public telephone boxes </li></ul>
  16. 16. What is an ARG? <ul><li>No specialised tools or vehicles for interaction (e.g. headsets, 3D worlds, software) </li></ul><ul><li>Just familiar, everyday methods </li></ul><ul><li>Also: </li></ul><ul><li>Strong narrative (players communicate with characters in real-time) </li></ul><ul><li>Nowhere was it admitted that it was part of a game </li></ul><ul><li>Websites and comms looked real </li></ul><ul><li>Many tasks identical to real life e.g. hacking into coroner's office’s website </li></ul>
  17. 17. What is an ARG? <ul><li>To the players it was real! </li></ul><ul><li>Unprecedented levels of immersion </li></ul>
  18. 18. What is an ARG? <ul><li>The boundary between what was reality and what was alternate reality became blurred </li></ul>
  19. 19. What is an ARG? <ul><li>Cloudmakers take on the 9/11 “darkest puzzle”: </li></ul><ul><li>“ We can solve the puzzle of who the terrorists are” </li></ul><ul><li>“ We have the means, resources, and experience to put a picture together from a vast wealth of knowledge and personal intuition” </li></ul>
  20. 20. What is an ARG? <ul><li>“ You find yourself at the end of the game, waking up as if from a long sleep. Your marriage or relationship may be in tatters. Your job may be on the brink of the void, or gone completely. You may have lost a scholarship, or lost or gained a few pounds. You slowly wake up to discover that you have missed the early spring unfolding into the late summer….yet now here we are, every one of us excited at blurring the lines between story and reality. The game promises to become not just entertainment, but our lives” </li></ul>Andrea Phillips, Cloudmakers Recovery Guide, July 2002
  21. 21. What is an ARG? <ul><li>“ the process of getting yourself hooked on intellectual crack cocaine. You look at your score online and start to dream of glory. Because the game isn’t just about solving puzzles, it is much more than that” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I would describe myself as addicted to perplex city. I like to consider myself a citizen in fact!” </li></ul><ul><li>Perplex City players (Mosely, 2008) </li></ul>
  22. 22. What is an ARG? <ul><li>Point of Note: </li></ul><ul><li>GAMES WITH COMPUTERS IN THEM NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligent use of technology – not just for technology’s sake! </li></ul>
  23. 23. ARG Features Relevant to L&T <ul><li>Realistic, interactive narrative (characters/story) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not just a “normal” simulation / roleplay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contextualised </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiential – application of theory in a low-threat, “real” environment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Self directed play – influence on outcomes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ownership / responsibility for learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enquiry based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develops critical academic thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Progress and rewards (leaderboard and prizes) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incentive, motivation, competition, sense of achievement , fun! (feedback / reflection) </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. ARG features Relevant to L&T <ul><li>Regular delivery of new problems/events </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key to maintaining engagement/interest </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Large, active communities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All the benefits of learning in groups (collaborative, self-supportive, peer feedback, vicarious learning) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Practice teamworking skills </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Utilises simple, existing technologies/media intelligently </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Removes barriers = Buy-in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotes engagement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Novel method of delivery </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pleasure = Motivation (Whitton, 2006) </li></ul></ul>After Moseley (2008)
  25. 25. ARG features Relevant to L&T <ul><li>Motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Challenging </li></ul><ul><li>Low threat </li></ul><ul><li>Realistic tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Fun </li></ul><ul><li>Teamwork </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection </li></ul>
  26. 26. ARG features Relevant to L&T <ul><li>“ Deep approaches are almost universally associated with a sense of involvement, challenge and achievement, together with feelings of personal fulfillment and pleasure” </li></ul><ul><li>(Ramsden, 1992 p58) </li></ul>
  27. 27. So, theoretically… <ul><li>ARG L&T = Engagement + Motivation + Deep Learning </li></ul>
  28. 28. Which should equal…
  29. 29. Which should equal…
  30. 30. Enterprise in Context <ul><li>Existing level one, 10 Credit unit </li></ul><ul><li>Simple simulation </li></ul><ul><li>Students given printed brief </li></ul><ul><li>Work in small groups </li></ul><ul><li>Role-play managers of failing company </li></ul><ul><li>Task is to revive a poorly performing company </li></ul><ul><li>Basic marketing, business finance and personnel issues </li></ul>
  31. 31. Blurring the boundaries? <ul><li>Existing level one, 10 Credit unit </li></ul><ul><li>Simple simulation </li></ul><ul><li>Students given printed brief </li></ul><ul><li>Work in small groups </li></ul><ul><li>Role-play managers of failing company </li></ul><ul><li>Task is to revive a poorly performing company </li></ul>“ ..the process of getting yourself hooked on intellectual crack cocaine. ...” ?
  32. 32. Enterprise in Context – ARG Makeover <ul><li>Phoenix UK Ltd (W.I.P) </li></ul><ul><li>Learning outcomes essentially the same </li></ul><ul><ul><li>collect, interpret and apply information of a business nature; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>define key business concepts; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>work as a member of a group in the researching, preparation and presentation of an oral presentation; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>work as a member of a group in the researching, preparation and presentation of a written report; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>identify and express the skills required to work effectively as part of a team </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Enterprise in Context – ARG Makeover <ul><li>Phoenix UK Ltd (W.I.P) </li></ul><ul><li>Students are new graduate recruits </li></ul><ul><li>Turnaround specialists </li></ul><ul><li>Has history, employees (MD, marketing specialist, finance specialist, HR specialist), website, previous clients (case studies) </li></ul>
  34. 34. The Scenario: Introduction
  35. 35. The Scenario: Introduction <ul><li>Students receive welcome pack through post pre- week one </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Letter of congratulations, questionnaire, name badge and instructions for first day “at work” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contains URL Phoenix UK Ltd website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. The Scenario: Introduction <ul><li>Week One – Setting the scene </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Important that we get this right – set the tone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Badges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smart dress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unit handbooks (Phoenix prospectus) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whole group welcome from MD (me) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Company background (photos) – what we do </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What our expectations are </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Their goals / mission for the next 12 weeks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Live Skype conference call </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students into small teams </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. The Story Unfolds <ul><li>Students receive email (via Phoenix MD) </li></ul><ul><li>MD of Salter & Sons (the client): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clothes retailer based in Porthampton </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serious problems = failing clothing company </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requests meeting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rabbit hole </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Porthampton City </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Council Website (geographic location) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Newspaper (Porthampton Bugle) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Citizens (bloggers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Football team </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. The Story Unfolds
  39. 39. The Story Unfolds
  40. 40. The Story Unfolds <ul><li>Students arrange conference call with Craig Salter (new MD) </li></ul><ul><li>Need to prepare well! </li></ul><ul><li>“ What questions do we need to ask?” </li></ul><ul><li>Craig Salter to hint at three broad areas of concern (Marketing, Finance and Personnel) – that’s lucky! </li></ul><ul><li>Students dragged in deeper </li></ul>
  41. 41. Delivery Model <ul><li>Mostly self directed – responsive – research based (as if it was real!) </li></ul><ul><li>Students receive clues from characters in the ARG which guides research e.g. Marketing Package, emails from staff, conference calls </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion in weekly team meetings - “seminars” (facilitated) </li></ul><ul><li>3 Master classes (provide underpinning theory) </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnographic Case Study </li></ul>
  42. 42. Assessment <ul><li>Email questions from Salter & Sons (10%) </li></ul><ul><li>Teamwork contribution (10%) </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation “retail best practice” – 20% </li></ul><ul><li>Report (60%) </li></ul>
  43. 43. Leaderboard
  44. 44. Leaderboard
  46. 46. The Future