Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
The specific educational values that are
tied to established standards have not been
proven through in-depth research.
How is assessment defined? In games that are
designed for learning play behaviors are mapped
to the specific actions that relate to the learning
goals. Other design considerations that promote
attainment of educational goals include deciding
how pass and fail states map to desired player
performance. Games' environments designed for
specific learning goals may also include threshold
points in-game, much like educational threshold
concepts are gatekeepers for understanding future
content, game threshold points can be designed to
scaffold player skill and require player mastery
of certain behaviors before progressing in the
game world. Games also provide opportunities
for learning from feedback loops. As players are
evaluated on their performance, feedback loops
help guide player behavior towards desired out-
comes. In this way, the development of the game
system will support player progress in both micro
and macro objectives. Assessment instruments
may include capture logs of player performance
in situ, recordings of student performance, and
discourse analyses of students' work in game
play. Other documents emerging from the game
(including students' writing, illustrations, or digital
representations) can be analyzed to identify how
their thinking is (and is not) affected by the game
Some parents and teachers have very nega-
tive attitudes about the use of videogames
in the classroom.
Games are especially good at teaching
higher order skills, which are not typically
assessed in standard examinations.
Access to computers is sometimes so low
that it can't play a mainstream role in stu-
dent learning (the case of many developing
But the application of games in education
requires more than just their availability and ad-
equacy, a new educational perspective is needed.
Squire (2008) suggests the following scenario:
envisage for a second that you are a teacher or
instructional designer, charged with developing an
advanced science course, covering a few hundred
new terms, facts and concepts. How would you
go about designing materials that handles these
concepts? What kinds of experiences would you
want learners to have? How would you pace them
and how would you know if they truly mastered
what you needed them to learn? These questions,
which may seem traditionally the domain of
instructional technologists, are also relevant for
video game designers. As games get longer and
more complex, designers devise ways to “teach the
player” to see and act in particular ways. Whereas
educational technologists ask if education can hap-
pen at a distance, gamers show you that it already
does, as game designers and distributed game
communities help them become better players.
Part of what is interesting about contemporary
video games is how experiences are ordered so that
players are “taught” the game through the careful
construction of levels, missions, and interactions.
Few, if any, of the so called “serious games” or
even research prototypes that have been made,
to the best of our knowledge, take advantage of
most of these design principles.
In a more pragmatic way, considering the cur-
rent educational context, to attain high quality
learning results based on constantly connected,
highly interactive, and fully mobile media envi-
ronments, the right teachers, materials, methods,
and games have to be found. But this may be a
rather costly and challenging proposition for many
ODL organizations as it involves: investment in
new information and communication technology
(mildly expensive), faculty and tutor re-training
(time and capital intensive), development of en-
gaging digital materials (games and simulations
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