Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Chapter 5
Games and Simulations
in Distance Learning:
The AIDLET Model
José Bidarra
Universidade Aberta, Portugal
Meagan Rothschild
University of Wisconsin, USA
Kurt Squire
University of Wisconsin, USA
This chapter discusses the selection and potential use of electronic games and simulations in distance
learning supported by an operational model called AIDLET. After analyzing the different approaches
to the use of games and simulations in education, and discussing their benefits and shortcomings,
a framework was developed to facilitate the selection, repurposing, design and implementation of
games and simulations, with focus on the practical aspects of the processes used in Open and Distance
Learning (ODL). Whereas traditional learning is based on knowledge memorization and the comple-
tion of carefully graded assignments, today, games, simulations and virtual environments turn out to
be safe platforms for trial and error experimentation, i.e. learning by doing/playing. New instructional
models may require that rich interactive processes of communication are supported, that assignments
are structured as game-like projects, and that a culture of interaction, collaboration, and enablement
drives learning and personal development. In this context, the AIDLET model was set out and verified
against a taxonomy representing the main categories and genres of games to meet the requirements of
distance education teachers, instructional designers and decision-makers.
evidence that shows how students learn more by
collaborating with their teacher and with each other
in the context of educational narratives (Pachler &
Daly, 2009). Furthermore, evidence indicates that
a new model of education is emerging, one that is
student-centered, networked, customized and col-
The current model of pedagogy in conventional
schools and universities is essentially teacher fo-
cused and one-way communication. It is set against
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