Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
students, is very different from the online educa-
tional environment in which specific game genres
have to be identified and suitable frameworks set
(Moreno-Ger et al., 2008). So, in the case of ODL
we were confronted with the existence of three
main groups of requirements: the definition of an
approach closely linked to educational content
specifications, the repurposing of existing game/
simulation titles or the design and development of
specific games/simulations, and the integration of
games/simulations in the ODL workflow.
The framework we propose builds on these
requirements and is rooted in research previously
conducted into conventional teaching/learning
with games (Prensky, Gee, Gibson, Jenkins,
Squire, etc.), all sharing essential features such as
students, teachers, and resources; but in this model
we had to go beyond that by explicitly addressing
the requirements imposed by the typical context of
Distance Education. A relation may be established
with the ACTIONS model (Bates, 1995, 2000), a
media selection and evaluation framework often
used in ODL studies. 'ACTIONS' is the acronym
for seven main criteria that Bates proposes for
selecting a specific learning technology, namely:
access, cost, teaching and learning implications,
interaction, organizational issues, novelty and
speed. In this model he uses a pragmatic approach
to the effective costs of technologies, and relates
these to other important features that are relevant
for decision-makers. The fundamental principle
is still valid today: educational technologies are
not good or bad, it's the way they are used that
dictates the success or failure of a project. The
same can be said of the application of games and
simulations in ODL.
simulation- based learning, and (2) to support ODL
organizations and decision-makers in the process
of choosing the right tools and methodologies.
Of course, an overall educational strategy must
be in place, indicating the materials and learning
objectives (content), the ways to choose, validate,
organize, and present content (curriculum & in-
struction), the individual attention offered to each
student (tutoring), the grading and confirmation of
a level of competency (assessment), and the cre-
ation of peer groups that both make learning more
effective and engaging (learning community).
The framework we propose tries to beat the
shortcomings of other models, not specifically
tailored for the use of games in distance educa-
tion, by introducing a six-dimensional model
with the acronym 'AIDLET', addressing issues
related to availability and cost, interaction and
communication capabilities, distance education
workflow integration, learning design potential,
engagement and ease of play, thematic value and
adequacy (summarized in Table 1).
The six steps provide main criteria for consid-
eration, certainly not intended as prescriptive,
allowing for practitioners to be more critical about
how they implant games and simulations into their
courses. With this basis, teachers, designers and
decision-makers may develop their own metrics
for introducing games and simulations in spe-
cific educational programs. The key-aspects of
the model may be described as follows:
Availability and Cost
The widespread use of games as entertainment
is a known fact but it doesn't mean that games
in general are effective for learning purposes.
Some games can be selected and used to assist the
learning process and others have to be designed
from scratch to support a specific course. The first
decision is whether to consider the repurposing
of an existing title or the development of a new
one. There are basically three options: buy an
“off-the-shelf” title, contract with a development
Applying the Model
The chief benefit of using a conceptual model for
instructional design is that common pitfalls can
be avoided. So, our purpose is twofold: (1) to
help distance education teachers and instructional
designers in the implementation of game- and
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