Combining Instructional Design and Game Design

Combining Instructional Design and Game Design

Celina Byers (Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-322-7.ch005
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The desired outcome of instructional game design is to combine the powerful attraction of games and the proven effectiveness of instructional system design (ISD). This combination would have the capacity to focus player concentration on game play and learning the planned content in order to successfully complete the game. Conjoining game design elements (e.g., rules, goals and objectives, outcomes and feedback, conflict and challenge, interaction, representation or story) with ISD elements (e.g., analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation) may be the means of reaching the desired outcome. Applying recent findings (e.g., working memory capacity, mental models, memory consolidation) from cognitive psychology may provide further assistance.
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Instructional games and simulations are becoming more accepted and are in fact a popular means to enhance the learning process. Leading the movement for the utilization of digital games to boost education and training results is the American military. Prensky (2001) describes the military and its use of instructional games as a constantly changing population of over three million military and civilian personnel that requires continuous, constantly changing training. He points out that the American military is the world’s biggest user of and biggest investor in digital game-based learning; its trainers are “true believers” in this learning “because it works for them” (p. 295) to establish a staggering variety of essential skills.

The application of games and simulations as an instructional strategy is also intriguing educational organizations, but the adoption of games by educators is growing at a slower pace. Instructional games used to enhance the teaching and learning process is not a one-size-fits-all type of approach. As for any instructional strategy used to explore a topic with a group of learners, instructional games are an effective way to enhance learning if the chosen game is adequate and conducive to the topic under consideration and if the teacher’s practice of games and simulations as instructional strategy is performed naturally, with confidence, and demonstrates a comfort level that leads students to investigate the topic, using the game as vehicle and not the reason for the activities. The level of embracement necessary to adequately use instructional games is not easily found among teachers. They have preconceived ideas about games and tend to practice their use not as a primary instructional strategy but as an activity used to reward the students after the hard work that led to the completion of a project. Factors that contribute to make the adoption of instructional games less likely by the typical teacher are the difficulty in finding out how to incorporate existing games successfully, how to customize games to specific needs, and how to design and build a game when one to solve your needs cannot be located (Becker, 2005).

The creation of games and simulations in general does not follow the production flow that many products have in common. Instead, it requires the construction and development of mental models that are both novel and complex. It requires a team of specialized professionals in varied areas from artists, to software developers, to marketing specialists. There is no established set of rules that when followed will result in success. Adding an educational component to games and simulations complicates matters even further. Teachers, administrators, education-related industry, and students are in constant search to further the knowledge of the learning process in order to provide the means to facilitate and enhance it. For the learning process as well as for games and simulations there is no exact recipe for success.

Salen and Zimmerman (2004) point out that game design has not yet become a discipline of study with principles which, if followed, would result in what they call meaningful play. Meaningful play happens when the players are enabled to make rational, intentional decisions that result in actions that affect the game system. Generating meaningful play is a basic requirement of successful game design because it engages the player and induces the player to continue playing. Meaningful play is not the only element that characterizes games. Prensky (2001) proposes six elements that need to be included in digital games for them to be considered as such. A digital game must include (1) rules, (2) goals and objectives, (3) outcomes and feedback, (4) conflict or competition and challenge or opposition, (5) interaction, and (6) representation or story. Salen and Zimmerman reinforce and enrich the list by discussing and clarifying different types of rules that should be incorporated in game systems, by establishing a relationship between game objectives and player motivation, and by using game interactions to define “the space of possibility,” Salen and Zimmerman’s term for that virtual reality where play occurs.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Rhonda Christensen, Gerald Knezek
Chapter 1
A Simulation Primer  (pages 1-24)
Katrin Becker, James R. Parker
This chapter provides an introduction to digital simulations for those interested in using or designing them for instructional purposes. There has... Sample PDF
A Simulation Primer
Chapter 2
Youngkyun Baek
This chapter expands upon the definition of a simulation with two categories: experiential and symbolic. It discusses the interactive, experiential... Sample PDF
Digital Simulation in Teaching and Learning
Chapter 3
Peter R. Albion
Interaction is fundamental to the learning process and game-like 3D online spaces present opportunities for enhancing learning through supporting a... Sample PDF
Virtual Spaces for Teaching and Learning
Chapter 4
David Williamson Shaffer
Multiculturalism is an essential tool for democratic citizenship in a world made ever more closely interconnected by information technologies. In... Sample PDF
Computers and the End of Progressive Education
Chapter 5
Celina Byers
The desired outcome of instructional game design is to combine the powerful attraction of games and the proven effectiveness of instructional system... Sample PDF
Combining Instructional Design and Game Design
Chapter 6
Helyn Gould, Michael Hughes, Paul Maharg, Emma Nicol
Game-based learning and simulation is a powerful mode of learning, used by industries as diverse as aviation and health sciences. While there are... Sample PDF
The Narrative Event Diagram: A Tool for Designing Professional Simulations
Chapter 7
David Gibson
In order for a digital simulation to provide an artificial teaching environment there needs to be a computational model of the act of teaching... Sample PDF
Modeling Classroom Behaviors in Software Agents
Chapter 8
Sara Dexter
The new technology-enhanced conception of assessment stands in contrast to the traditional view of assessments as tests of a learner’s ability to... Sample PDF
Design Principles for Interactive Learning Environments with Embedded Formative Assessments
Chapter 9
Penny deByl
Three-dimensional virtual learning environments provide students with pedagogic experiences beyond traditional two-dimensional textbook and Web page... Sample PDF
Hybrid 2D/3D Development of Interactive Simulations
Chapter 10
Len Annetta, James Minogue, Shawn Holmes, Meng-Tzu Cheng, Elizabeth Folta, Marta Klesath
This chapter will provide concrete examples of how a research group at North Carolina State University is using case studies as the... Sample PDF
Using Case Studies as the Narrative to Game Design and Development
Chapter 11
Mark Girod
Teacher education is currently facing pressures to demonstrate efficacy in preparing teachers who can affect P-12 student learning gains. Teacher... Sample PDF
Exploring Teacher Problem Solving Using Simulation
Chapter 12
Donguk Cheong, Bokyeong Kim
A computer simulation for improving teaching is expected to remove the potential negative effects on real students while creating an environment... Sample PDF
A Simulation for Improving Teachers' Motivational Skills
Chapter 13
Damián Piccolo, Anna Oskorus
Nearly half of all new teachers leave the field of education within the first five years (Ingersoll, 2003; Alliance for Excellent Education, 2005).... Sample PDF
Designing Commercial Simulations for Teachers
Chapter 14
Scott J. Warren, Richard A. Stein
This chapter discusses the design and use of simulated teaching experiences contextualized through role-play in a multi-user virtual environment as... Sample PDF
Simulating Teaching Experience with Role-Play
Chapter 15
Bokyeong Kim, Donguk Cheong
This chapter presents the theory, structure, and development process used in designing a teaching simulation. simClass was designed to help teachers... Sample PDF
simClass: Simulate Your Class Before You Teach
Chapter 16
Karen Schrier, Charles K. Kinzer
Teacher education that emphasizes the understanding and assessment of ethics can support the creation of an ethically aware and critically engaged... Sample PDF
Using Digital Games to Develop Ethical Teachers
Chapter 17
Shelby P. Morge
Recently adopted 21st Century goals stress the importance of preparing students for a globally competitive society by providing them with... Sample PDF
Modeling in the Classroom Using Squeak Etoys
Chapter 18
Mary Jo Dondlinger, Scott Joseph Warren
This chapter discusses Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) as simulated experiences, and presents the conceptual framework that informed the design and... Sample PDF
Alternate Reality Games as Simulations
Chapter 19
Caitlin Kelleher
Self-directed, open-ended projects can enable students to pursue their own interests and lead to deep learning. However, it can be difficult to... Sample PDF
Supporting Open-Ended Programming Assignments
Chapter 20
Kay Kyeongju Seo, Aimee Byk, Chris Collins
How can one bring cognitive apprenticeship into the virtual world? This chapter addresses how to construct a 3D online digital environment that... Sample PDF
Cognitive Apprenticeship Inspired Simulations
Chapter 21
Jae Yeob Jung, Hyung Sung Park
The purpose of this chapter is to explore how learning, by making games, can provide opportunities for higher-order thinking such as problem... Sample PDF
Learning by Doing via Game Making
Chapter 22
Christian Sebastian Loh, Jae Hwan Byun
Game Modification, or Modding, is a unique and valuable way of learning with digital games as well as a means to earn beginners’ stripes in the game... Sample PDF
Modding Neverwinter Nights Into Serious Games
Chapter 23
Teresa Franklin, David Chelberg, Chang Liu
Virtual environments are a topic of discussion for many in the business and commerce fields. However, K-12 school systems have been slow to embrace... Sample PDF
Changing Middle School Science through STEAM
Chapter 24
David Gibson
This chapter discusses how a teaching simulation can embody core characteristics of a complex system. It employs examples of specific frameworks and... Sample PDF
Complex Systems Concepts in Simulations
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