Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
improve their results and achieve their goals; this
information is often gathered by playing, so games
employ a variety of techniques to encourage learn-
ing. These techniques include training players in
subtle ways without giving them direct instruc-
tions and encouraging them to practice, persevere,
try new things and take risks. But learning is not
just about information gathering. Also according
to Gee (2003), other aspects of learning, such
as thinking patterns, are independent of content
and can be developed through computer games.
Besides, a great deal of knowledge is constructed
through interaction with other players. This is of
particular importance considering humans usually
do not learn well from lots of overt information
provided to them outside contexts in which it can
be used. They tend to forget that information,
especially when they are unable to imagine such
contexts.
These are the reasons why most games can be
adjusted to a range of skills, allowing players to
choose among various difficulty levels, leading
them on a learning curve and providing rewards
at appropriate times as capabilities are developed.
In addition, many computer games present players
with the opportunity to choose from different styles
of play, such as stealth or overt aggression, and
to solve problems in several ways (e.g., logic or
trial and error), thus allowing them to customize
the game to their learning style or to experiment
with new styles. Computer games that are better
at creating learning are more profitable in the
marketplace, because there would be no demand
if they were not challenging or if they proved too
difficult to master (Gee, 2003).
Prensky (2003), based on Gee's work (2003),
explained 36 ways players learn from computer
games: 1) Doing and reflecting; 2) Appreciating
good design; 3) Seeing interrelationships; 4)
Mastering game language; 5) Relating the game
world to other worlds; 6) Taking risks with re-
duced consequences; 7) Putting out effort because
they care; 8) Combining multiple identities; 9)
Watching their own behavior; 10) Getting more
out than what they put in; 11) Being rewarded for
achievement; 12) Being encouraged to practice;
13) Having to master new skills at each level; 14)
Tasks being neither too easy nor too hard; 15) Do-
ing, thinking and strategizing; 16) Getting to do
things their own way; 17) Discovering meaning;
18) Reading in context; 19) Relating information;
20) Meshing information from multiple media;
21) Understanding how knowledge is stored; 22)
Thinking intuitively; 23) Practicing in a simpli-
fied setting; 24) Being led from easy problems to
harder ones; 25) Mastering upfront things needed
later; 26) Repeating basic skills in many games;
27) Receiving information just when it is needed;
28) Trying rather than following instructions; 29)
Applying learning from problems to later ones;
30) Thinking about the game and the real world;
31) Thinking about the game and how they learn;
32) Thinking about the games and their culture;
33) Finding meaning in all parts of the game; 34)
Sharing with other players; 35) Being part of the
gaming world; and 36) Helping others and modi-
fying games, in addition to just playing.
Steinkuehler and Duncan (2008) mention that
the intellectual activities that constitute success-
ful game play include not only computer literacy,
but also the construction of new identities, col-
laborative problem solving, literacy practices and
systematic thinking. They provided empirical
evidence about the potential of one particular genre
of computer games, called massively multiplayer
online games (MMOs) as tools that foster learning,
especially informal science literacy. Massively
multiplayer online games are 2- or 3-D graphi-
cal, simulated worlds played online that allow
individuals to interact not only with the designed
environment in which activities take place, but
also with other individuals. Science literacy is
relevant to the broader concept of information
literacy because both involve similar processes of
testing (scientific hypothesis or search queries),
as well as a mindset to evaluate results critically.
Those are also observed when a player explores
a gamespace and learns its norms by following
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