This chapter proposes a document-oriented instructional design model to inform the development of serious games. The model has key features in that it promotes a theoretically inclusive approach to learning, a focus on game elements and an emphasis on documentation to provide the rigour necessary to be used as part of a broader project management model. The model defines increasingly granular stages leading to final production documentation for software development. Each design stage contains a series of iterative co-dependent elements. It is proposed that the model can form a base for prescribing and managing activities within an industry context but also as a means to teach the instructional design process for serious games within a higher education setting. A case study of the initial implementation of the model is discussed in order to contextualise it and provide a basis for future enhancement.
A Proposal For A Design Model For Serious Games
There is some precedent when exploring instructional models that may have value in the design of serious games. Ryder (2003) lists a range of models, some of which are quite prescriptive in nature. The vast majority however can be more effectively described as approaches, since he includes reference to fundamental psychological approaches as well as general guidelines which would underpin the design and development process, including Bloom’s Taxonomy of cognitive outcomes and Keller’s ARCS theory of motivation. Many of these have potential to be integrated into a model for serious games design, particularly those that focus on experiential aspects of design such as motivation, flow, and end-user attributes.
These features tend to form the focus of game design models. The MDA model for example (Hunicke, LeBlanc & Zubek, 2004) provides a simple framework for game design based upon three components of:
Mechanics, describing the components of the game that can be represented as algorithms;
Dynamics, the interaction of the game based upon user input over time; and
Aesthetics, describing the intended emotional responses evoked in the player throughout gameplay.
Björk, Lundgren, and Holopainen (2003) provide another model that is deliberately ‘interaction-centric’, using game ‘patterns’ as an approach to articulate the gameplay underpinning design. Such models are inherently game oriented but provide little benefit to the instructional designer, who may be guided primarily by stated learning outcomes rather than an archetypal form of gameplay.