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Learning Game Design Team Communication

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Presentation of research to better understand how different disciplines on a learning game design team think about learning game design. Includes actions design teams can take to mitigate misunderstandings. Also includes implications for a hybrid learning game design model.

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Learning Game Design Team Communication

  1. 1. A Communication Framework: A Babel Fish for Instructional Game Designers [email_address] [email_address] [email_address] Raytheon BBN Technologies IDSI IDSI Talib Hussain, PhD Ellen Menaker, PhD Susan Coleman, PhD
  2. 2. Topics <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>The Babel Fish </li></ul><ul><li>Research purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Participants </li></ul><ul><li>Procedure </li></ul><ul><li>What we found and what it means </li></ul>
  3. 3. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  4. 4. I need a serious game! I need a game that has elements of fun and helps the player attain instructional goals!
  5. 5. Research Purpose <ul><li>Examine how different disciplines conceptualize serious game elements </li></ul><ul><li>Identify specific actions that can be taken to mitigate misunderstandings </li></ul><ul><li>Inform a hybrid serious game design model </li></ul>
  6. 6. Procedure <ul><li>Pilot Survey </li></ul><ul><li>Final Learning Games Design Survey (88 items) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Demographics (7) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rate importance of game elements (22) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rate the agreement or disagreement with statements (33) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rate frequency of expected change for game elements (22) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Select best definition of terms (4) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Analyzed survey data by discipline and game-type experience </li></ul><ul><li>Reported findings in 5 areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Goals, authenticity, design, feedback, fun </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Participants <ul><li>Distributed survey to the Learning Game Design COI (n=89) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>49% response rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disciplines: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gaming (37%) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Instructional (67%) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gaming Experience: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Entertainment games (27%) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Simulations (36%) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Instructional games (38%) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Key Finding Agreement on many items, but significant differences were detected in the levels of agreement <ul><li>May impact decisions </li></ul><ul><li>May impact priorities </li></ul><ul><li>May be the source of many communication issues </li></ul>
  9. 9. Findings - Goals <ul><li>Agreement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communicating learning goals is important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Achieved learning goals are the most important aspect of game evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Differences </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Learning objectives are important </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>LOs are primary driver of an instructional game </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A good instructional game must produce measurable learning outcomes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Game goals and learning objectives must align </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>LOs can be changed to accommodate scenario design </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Usability is the most important aspect of instructional game evaluation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Implications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Articulate alignment of LOs with game goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Solicit multidisciplinary input into prototype evaluation criteria </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agree on criteria for setting LO priorities </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Findings - Authenticity <ul><li>Agreement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fantasy is OK </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tasks should align with required cognitive thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Differences </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fantasy should provide a useful metaphor </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Important to mirror real-world tasks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fantasy makes games more compelling </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Implications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss impact of design choices on associated cognitive skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Articulate the connection between cognitive requirements and fantasy </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Findings - Design <ul><li>Agreement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incorporate well-developed characters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use dynamic graphics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adapt game to player performance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow for learner control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accommodate novice and expert </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Difference </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Expect key design elements to change frequently </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Implications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify all elements that are impacted by design changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss instructional trade-offs of changes to gaming mechanics (and vice versa) </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Findings - Feedback <ul><li>Agreement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is important to assess performance and give feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is OK to stop game to give feedback (even explicit feedback) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penalties are OK in an instructional game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Natural feedback alone may not be sufficient </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Differences </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Frequent feedback strategy changes during design are not expected </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback is used for its instructional value </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback is used for motivation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Implications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss how to design feedback to be instructionally valuable and motivational </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider criteria for interrupting the game for feedback </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Findings - Fun <ul><li>Agreement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fun is important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fun is not necessary for instructional effectiveness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learners should enjoy the instructional game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An engaging game is a fun game </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Differences </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Learning is the priority </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fun is the priority </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Someone having fun is more likely to learn </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Better for users to think of themselves as players rather than learners </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Implication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reconcile recommended design changes with fun </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Findings - Definitions <ul><li>High-fidelity instructional game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authentic thinking (75%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authentic environment (19%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authentic tasks (6%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authentic tools (0) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An immersive instructional game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A rich environmental context (50%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Player is constantly engaged (25%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An emotionally compelling context (19%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Player is constantly interacting with other players (6%) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Findings - Definitions <ul><li>Engagement in an instructional game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Player is always thinking (61%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Player is always feeling (19%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Player is always learning (11%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Player is always doing (8%) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Adaptive instructional game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Adjusts the difficulty of challenges (81%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adjusts the type and frequency of feedback (14%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adjusts amount of information provided (3%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adjusts type of gaming skills provided (3%) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Trend There is more variation among responses from the gaming disciplines than the instructional disciplines <ul><li>Instruction has an established science that purposefully allows us to make predications </li></ul><ul><li>Instructional curriculums provide a common field of professional preparation and experience </li></ul><ul><li>Variation in game designer responses will likely decrease as more is learned within the disciplines and preparation programs mature </li></ul><ul><li>This could be a sampling issue – and needs to be verified with future research </li></ul>
  17. 17. Hybrid design model implications <ul><li>Include steps that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Set learning objective priorities early in the design process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check adherence to established priorities during the design process throughout design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Document connections between cognitive requirements and design choices (including fantasy and fun) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop strategy regarding whether, when, and how to interrupt game play for instructional reasons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop strategy for evaluating both instruction and game play during development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gain approval for all changes by lead game and instructional designers </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Conclusions <ul><li>Communication involves more than the simple translation of terms that a Babel fish might offer </li></ul><ul><li>Instructional game design teams need to understand the expectations, principles and research upon which team members base their actions </li></ul><ul><li>Future research needs to focus on further distinctions among disciplines to explore the subtle differences and the rationale behind them </li></ul>
  19. 19. Questions? <ul><li>A Communication Framework: </li></ul><ul><li>A Babel Fish for Instructional Game Designers </li></ul><ul><li>Paper 10394 </li></ul><ul><li>Susan Coleman; coleman.susan@idsi.com </li></ul><ul><li>Ellen Menaker; menaker.ellen@idsi.com </li></ul><ul><li>Talib Hussain; thussain@bbn.com </li></ul>http://groups.google.com/group/designoflearninggames Learning Games Community of Interest :

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