Friday, 15 December 2006

Educational Games and Serious Games

I attended a workshop in Beijing during ICCE2006 on using games in education. My position has been written up. That did not mean that I was against using games in education. I was saying that for "formal" education, using commercial off-the-shelf games to teach specific learning content IS not possible NOR a good approach.

During the discussion at ICCE006 , there was a consensus (most of the participants were from education, except a game developers focusing on delivering games for education) that research was needed to understand more about the use of games in education. I reminded the audience that game designers are also interested in developing games for education, which they call "serious games".

Given that we have two communities approaching a problem from two directions, I suggested that we should start to bridge the gap. An identified gap would be the linkage between "game goals" and "learning objectives". I was reminded that "there are Learning objectives and there are Learning objectives". I totally agree. Similarly, we can also say "there are game goals and there are game goals".

Both learning objectives and game goals are heavily debated and are evolving within respective community. However, they would at least provide a stable link between the community if we can accept the following definitions:

Game goal is the position a player wants to achieve at the end of the game within the context of the game. It is the “winning” position. Learning objectives are things an external institute (one who provided the games in the first place) wants the players to acquire during and/or after playing the game.

[from Why Commerical Off the Shelf Games Will Not Work in Education? And What Is The Alternative? ]

Frankly, I don't know how these communities can collaborate/co-operate to come to a mutual beneficial understanding to develop this field.

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