Introduction To MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration Between ELearning Designers And Instructor Experts – Part 1, The Foreword

Introduction to MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration Between eLearning Designers and Instructor Experts – Part 1, the Foreword

MindMeld Book CoverI am very excited to announce that my new book, “MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration between eLearning Designers and Instructor Experts,” is in the final publishing stages (including pre-order status)… So for the next few weeks I will be posting a series of blog entries regarding my new book and its contents. My intention for each blog post is to focus on individual chapters in the book and provide a little synopsis of them in order to bring some insight to you as to what the book is about and why I would encourage you to embrace it.

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Interview (Part 2) With Clark Aldrich, Author Of Complete Guide To Simulations And Serious Games

Interview (Part 2) with Clark Aldrich, author of Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games

Here is Part II in my series of interviews with Clark Aldrich on his upcoming book The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games. The book will ship sometime in October, and Clark sent me an advance copy. This book has the potential to become an instrumental resource for sponsors and managers of educational simulation and serious game development. It intrigues me because Clark Aldrich addresses those very issues that concern those of us who manage or fund educational games and simulations:

  • The need for a common development language
  • The need to quickly communicate about genres and what works
  • The need to protect the integrity of the serious game
  • The need to stay “on-time and on budget”
  • The need to share expertise between subject matter expert and development team
  • The need for models of development
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Acton MBA Sims & Games: A Discussion With Clark Aldrich

Acton MBA Sims & Games: A Discussion with Clark Aldrich

Web Courseworks’ game developer, Joe Rheaume, and I recently interviewed author Clark Aldrich about his impressions of the Acton MBA School’s use of simulation games to teach business concepts. For complete disclosure purposes, my company Web Courseworks is one of the vendors for the Acton Foundation, and Clark Aldrich has provided consulting services for Acton in the past. What intrigues me about Acton is the intersection of two of my favorite subjects: Entrepreneurs and game-based learning.

In this video we talk briefly about Clark’s new book, The Complete Guide to Simulations and Serious Games, and Clark shows us the aspects he likes about Acton’s game “Robo Rush: Can you make a profit and meet customer demands?”

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Moodle Doodle & White Bread

Moodle Doodle & White Bread

I’ve had about a week to settle back in after giving a presentation at Training 2009 on the open source LCMS, Moodle. As I mentioned last week, I had a packed audience but received mixed reviews. We have been utilizing Moodle for over two years for several client projects. The Moodle pedigree stems purely from higher education, so it was not designed for corporate use as a generic LMS. Moodle.org seems to have little interest in adapting to fit the needs of companies that want to train thousands of employees using hundreds of courses (see threaded discussions on the site-wide grouping feature). Nevertheless, there are many specific corporate training initiatives that Moodle is perfect for. Click here for my presentation.

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Definitions: Serious Games & Game Based Learning

Definitions: Serious Games & Game Based Learning

A quick search of Wikipedia finds that we need to do some work documenting and updating the definition of “serious game” and “game-based learning” — at least in Wikipedia. Consider this post a call for “all hands on deck!”

The number of groups, institutions and individuals working on the subject of games and learning is growing. Academia has been studying video games and learning for the better part of two decades. Most academics would agree with Wikipedia’s definition of “serious games.” I also like the cryptic “game-based learning” definition that currently exists in Wikipedia: “Game-based learning is a branch of serious games”. My understanding of a geeky separation factor between the two has been that video games are built with complex “game engines” usually costing millions, while casual games or “edutainment” games have been built in Shockwave, Flash, and Java (to mention a few programming languages) sometimes at no real monetary cost. According to Jim Gee, the commercial video game by its very need to competitively succeed in the marketplace has evolved into a strong pedagogical machine. The video game must be challenging and that requires continuous learning (“keep the gamer at the edge of his/her competency level”). I am personally more interested in “game-based learning” (a definition that needs the most work on Wikipedia) since as a subset of the “serious game,” it generally refers to games built for the purpose of teaching a body of knowledge. The eLearning Guild in its research document, “Immersive Learning Simulations”, attempts to group both games and simulations. The guild audience primarily consists of corporate eLearning employees. Here is a brief listing of what might be included in a Wikipedia definition of “game-based learning” throwing a wide net of potential constituents involved in teaching something using games or simulation, however “casual”:

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