Thursday, 18 November 2010

Educational Game Models: Conceptualization and Evaluation

Alan Amory and Robert Seagram, University of Natal.

Looks at linking educational theories to game design. The only educational model discussed is contructivism. 

They describe three models:
Game Object Model (GOM) which describes game components and links them to the educational objectives (either promoting them or realising them). This allows the particular areas of focus of the pedagogy concerned to be outlined in terms of the game model. 

Persona Outlining Model (POM) creates a model of a the user, containing each of the educational objectives outlined in the GOM along with some bits of personal data. This can be used to then tailor the personas used when designing the game by assigning different values to each objective (I'm kind of assuming these are levels of competency, but I could be wrong). These levels change depending on the learning objectives that are being portrayed, so the persona will then reflect the both the situation and the pedagogy required. 

Game Achievement Model (GAM) is based on the learning objectives and a basic storyline. This paper suggests that the GAM gets broken down into 'Acts', each of which can have a different learning outcome. The story for each act is refined to improve the game play, but is also checked against the learning objectives. 

I have to admit, I got a bit confused by what the three things were, how they linked, and what they were useful for. The only examples given relate to the GAM, the POM seems to have been pretty much discarded (reflected in the conclusions actually, which only mention the GAM). 

There is also a discussion of games as story-telling medium. Conclusion is that games are much more than a story-telling medium, although the discussion actually seems to suggest that they are useful ways to tell non-linear stories. 

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