Techniques for Achieving an Effective Blend Between Engagement and Learning in Games
– Talib Hussain, Raytheon BBN Technologies

Some interesting thoughts on the importance of making the exercise fun, while also allowing room for the pain and suffering struggle that you need for proper learning. Ultimately my notes aren’t very good though.

They developed the VESSEL damage control trainer. … talks about best practices identified in “designing learning games” community of practice.

Point is engagement versus learning.
Learning is really trying to get them to think in a certain way. (he associates it with Training?).
Talks about “when we get interested we suspend disbelief” … This makes me think of the way all lauded games seem to have strong “fun metaphor” focus, instead of seeking realism. Wish yesterday’s talk on metaphorical learning had focused on this more.

[note: We should put a time limit into the plant master project… (and maybe limited resources to apply. Maybe go back to grid idea, where you spread out over time)]

Game needs to be challenging, while targeting the proper expertise level. Needs to be compelling but also authentic. Need to be immersive, but have user’s time spent “on task” as much as possible [w: shooting screaming vampires is immersive,but could be a huge distraction from learning goal]…

Gaming motivations are intrinsic, while educational motivations are extrinsic (like: you just want to pass class). Story brings in common tropes and themes you can identify with, but in learning you want to offer context.
He draws a line between “fun” and “self improvement.”

Says main takeaway is to keep both sides in mind when making any design decision. And to keep it simple.

Maintain balance between student control, cognitive load, and authenticity while minimizing disruptions.

For “flow,” you need :
Clear tasks. Feedback. Attainable balanced goals. Concentration focus.

Games are all about interaction. With objects, characters, or other students. … Feedback needs to encourage reflection. Consequences are great way to do this. Indirect feedback, or points, may be too obscure.
Scaffolding – layering instruction. … slides seem unrelated. Memory aids “what am I supposed to do”?

Help resources, “don’t give the answer”. Vague map tool is best if teaching navigation. Avoid crutches that let them complete without actually making the choices that can lead to learning.

A “learning objective” is not a “gaming goal” per se. But they may be aligned. A good set of explicit goals motivates the player. “Wording of goals may differ from isd specification of learning objective”[w: ISD? Instructional System Design?]

… probably no need to check back on this one actually

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