Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
may be expensive), review of internal processes
(habits are difficult to change) and, last but not
least, establishment of a credible and high quality
brand name (as online learning is often regarded
as a kind of lower-grade education, not to men-
tion games-based learning). However, even with
the adoption of new digital media, games and
simulations, we must accept the fact that not all
knowledge can be acquired through distance learn-
ing. In some cases it is not suitable for acquiring
all the necessary skills, for example in:
improvise better in real world contexts. They
can handle unexpected situations with ease and
knowledge learnt is not structured around a set of
norms or processes but developed from intrinsic
personal experience. This is the kind of knowledge
students retain for a long time. Unquestionably,
today video games are the individual's primary
exposure to this important way of thinking. And
in the probable scenario that games/simulations
may not be developed or cannot be applied, on-
line learning can be made more game-like (Gee,
2003) in an attempt to change the inflexible and
prescriptive models in use today.
health sciences, especially surgery and
hospital practice;
Dealing with the Issues
experimental sciences, which require labo-
ratory practice;
applied psychology, involving direct inter-
personal experience;
Based on our observations and on data collected we
consolidated a clear-cut framework to assist ODL
teachers, instructional designers and managers in
making the right decisions about the adoption and
use of educational games and simulations. But for
a framework or toolkit to be effective, no matter
how simple or practical it is, a particular learning
context has to be defined. Previous research by
De Freitas & Oliver (2006), on the kinds of ques-
tions facing tutors when thinking of introducing
games- and simulation-based learning into their
practice, relied on some interesting questions:
court training in law, about oratory and
A way to overcome this difficulty is to sepa-
rate theoretical content from the corresponding
practical component. The former may be taught
in distance learning mode, and, to a certain extent,
practice may be supported by VR applications,
simulations and games representing real situations
(Bidarra & Cardoso, 2007). On that note, Starr
(1994) argues that simulations - the process of
setting up scenarios and exploring under what
conditions they might work - are at the core of
business, government and science. For many years
researchers have studied the uses of simulations
in education and established that well-designed
simulations will develop in the student a profound,
flexible, spontaneous, kinesthetic understanding
of the subject matter (Gibson et al., 2007, Is-
senberg, 2006, Teodoro, 2004, Kezunovic et al.,
2004). Squire & Giovanetto (2008) argue that
when considering the higher education of gaming,
a core intellectual feature of a twenty-first-century
educational system should include inroads into
participation in cultures of simulation. In fact,
students who learn by means of simulations can
Which game or simulation to select for the specific
learning context?
Which pedagogic approaches to use to support
learning outcomes and activities?
What is the validity of using the chosen game or
So, trying to answer those questions, our re-
search started by exploring real world practices
and went on identifying the main concepts and
activities that defined those practices, in the belief
that a certain way of thinking and doing could
be derived and applied to new situations. For
instance, the traditional classroom environment,
where an instructor can guide the activity of the
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