Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Integrating Serious Games and ILS

Presentation/Discussion: Integrating Serious Games and ILS into Your Learning Strategy
Presenter: Clark Quinn

This post is a bit more disjointed than I would like.
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Core argument more effective learning.

Pragmatic issues
- Expensive or death
- Individual mentoring - very expensive

Not worth investing in if
- perfectly capable
- too small a skill change

If complex - or
- lots of practice
- deep practice
- resistance (why we are changing)

Can you do cost effectively - adjust to how big.
- (see ILS report - Quinn, Cost and Budget)

Problem with comercial gaming - too many people;

Most business needs met with far less resources.

Scott - Microsoft.
Can be more cost effective - template, storyboard out. Use captivate

1) Difference between simulation, scenario, game (see ILS report)
- Simulation - model of a system. (relationships).
- Scenario - 2nd step - to a goal state. (Microsoft, very prescriptive)
- Game - 3rd step, tune until level of challenge just right and the learner is fully engaged.

The game (level of challenge) increases learning

2) Ways to implement
- Pick answer, same next question (linear), even mult choice.
- Branching - if you do this, go here all the time. Pre-scripted (Captivate). Only need a try or 2 to get the idea.
- Engine / Model / Rule driven interaction. Game calculates. Novelty and unpredictability built in.
+ Way most commercial games work

Instant replay - if you do it right, can have slightly different scenarios. Do it again and again.

Can do a whole bunch of branching scenarios to mimic this. But further level of complication - more rules.

Often don't need engine-driven model. Can save.

What makes compelling simulation
- Effective learning principles: feedback, novelty, context
- Compelling simulation - good story, feedback, novelty.

Gotta wrap the right story around it. - BIG FOCUS.
- Exaggerate, but focus on what motivates your audience.

Tuning huge part of this. Most time will be spent tuning after the base built. 90% of effort should go here.
- Our advantage - we don't have to make fully commercial level.
- Set engagement metrics - what is the appropriate level of engagement for the audience? Tune until hit goal.

Get the design right and there is lots of way to implement.

A good game is a series of interesting decisions.
Good learning is an important series of decisions. (what do they normally get wrong. Find story to put in context).
- What is the correct alternative to the "right" answer

Learners make principled mistakes, not random mistakes.
- Prior learning. May work in another context, not this one.
- Make it easy to make that principled mistake. Opportunity for feedback.
- If don't get immediate feedback in real world - don't do in game

Keep extraneous stuff out to keep costs down
- Purge, purge, purge.

Stages of deliverables

- Concept document
+ Who is audience. Not just what do they know. What are their interests?
+I reserve the right to raise the learning objective high enough.
- What decisions does the student need to be able to make?
- Common mistakes,
- What settings does this occur in?
- By the time this is documented, have an idea what do.
- Minimize signoffs .

- Storyboard - captures look and feel and variables.
+ if circulate to SME, don't just hand to them.
+Capture user experience through one play. (could be screenshop. Could be small prototype.)
+Also estimated budget.

- Postpone programming before paper but prototype early and often.
+ remember - SMEs think in terms of linear stories
+ tap into interest of SME. Helps with the sale. What turns them on about the field/subject?

Instructional design - we need to get the student to understand vicerally, not just intellectually.
Exaggerate the consequences of NOT having the knowledge.

Second Life v. Simulation
- Second Life - no explicit Goals
- Simulation - must have explicit goal.
+ Make sure that they can't do it by chance. Have to be able to get to it through thinking.

(BTW - Use Immersive Learning Simulation (ILS) v. "Game") Get the reports (dangit).

The immersive learning simulation IS an assessment.
- May want to validate later.
- BTW - if really making games, may need a software engineer.

Are some free game engines online. Stuff to start with. Can also get commercial engines.
- May be cheaper to hire flash programmer than it is to try to use engine.

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