In Part 2 of my series of blog posts on MindMeld, I had mentioned the Complexity Continuum that I like to use to illustrate how interactive learning objects (ILOs) can be thought of in terms of complexity of design and complexity of implementation. In this post, I’m going to address a chapter in my book that talks about complex ILOs that produce highly interactive experiences and how these experiences can affect learning. Most importantly though, I will explain how the Complexity Continuum can serve as a communication tool to discuss the type and number of resources needed to design and develop an ILO that meets your needs, whether it is a simple drag-and-drop activity or an advanced video-game-like experience.
This past week our gaming department at Web Courseworks has posted a new blog entry on Games Can Teach, about an intriguing experimental game that the University of Michigan Institute of Museum and Library Studies has been using to tackle a trending problem in today’s academic world: bad research habits. This game, called BiblioBouts, aims to teach students how to properly research subjects for their academic needs. With all the chatter about social learning and widely available information sources like Wikipedia, our students have been somewhat misguided at times about where to gather trustworthy information for research projects. Because I am a firm believer in using games to teach real-world skills, I immediately found myself absorbed in the article, and think that game has earned some well-deserved attention.
I am thrilled to announce that I have recently had the privilege of being invited to speak on an expert panel at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) on January 24th. The topic is regarding how serious games can play a role in healthcare education, both on a consumer and CME level.
The University of Wisconsin has been holding an annual distance education conference over the past 25 years. This means that during the 1980’s educators were discussing how to reach learners through the media of radio and television. Today, of course, it is all about using the Internet to educate and inform.
This year I will be conducting a workshop on casual games, speaking on my research topic: factors that enable team collaboration. I will also be participating in the Think Tank sessions and the Closing Panel.
As the international organization responsible for promoting, coordinating and monitoring the fight against doping in sport, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is committed to educating athletes about the risks associated with doping and their rights and responsibilities in the doping control process. As a proponent of encouraging stakeholder involvement and the formal, formative evaluation of educational tools, I have been impressed with WADA’s approach to evaluation. (Full disclosure: my company is one of WADA’s educational tool development vendors.) WADA is creating an online game to reach elite youth athletes and, at various stages during the development process, WADA tested concepts and the final version with students. The following is an interview with Jen Sclater, WADA Education Manager, who speaks on the topic of user testing, A.K.A Formative Evaluation of educational technology tools. Listen here:
I will be speaking at one of the last Idea Labs at the ASAE Technology Conference next Friday, February 12th at 3:30PM. I like to think that I was placed in this “closing” position because conference organizers felt that the topic of “Using eLearning Games to Recruit, Engage, and Educate Members” would keep attendees energized until the very end of the conference. I plan not to disappoint! It has already drawn more interest from the press than my other session on the Moodle learning management system.
Associations Now! magazine invited me to author an article on“Five Ways Associations Can Use Online Games”. Kurt Squire’s class at the University of Wisconsin inspired me to look into the power of online games. That was back in 2004 when he was a new professor just returning from a stint with Henry Jenkins at MIT. Their Microsoft funded GamesToTeach project was an early force in changing people’s opinions on video games. I learned at the Games, Learning, and Society program at the UW-Madison that video games have a lot to teach educators and marketers. The way people learn from games, what game mechanics make online games addictive, and how to successfully utilize games to build community and optimize web traffic are important topics for discussion.
I recently came across an article I wrote this past February on building a team for game development, which headlined in the Training Conference daily newsletter called Game On or Game Over for Online Training. I defined the four critical components to effective management of immersive learning simulation (ILS) projects:
- Defining a culture.
- Setting goals.
- Building a team.
- Managing time, cost, and quality.
Upon further reflection, this article really can be applied to most highly interactive development projects.
Let’s analyze how these components can be incorporated into any high-end eLearning project.
The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has been supporting youth health education programs through their Children’s Health Education Center (CHEC) for the past twelve years. In 2004 the Center started the www.bluekids.org program to focus their efforts on reaching youth, educators, and parents via the Internet. Over 12,000 students participated in CHEC’s teacher-facilitated game-based learning curriculum last semester alone. When tasked with quantifying the impact of interactive web-based programs on youth behavior and attitudes, CHEC and researchers at the Children’s Hospital have come up with very positive preliminary results. Watch a video of one teacher’s experience with the program.
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
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?”