This chapter will provide concrete examples of how a research group at North Carolina State University is using case studies as the narrative/backstory for video game design and development. The chapter will begin with a background on video games for learning, followed by a description of case-based learning, and will conclude with five specific examples from games created through three different funded projects. The first example is a simulated case where a haptic feedback device was used to enhance student learning. The second case was derived from a video case on racial and ethical sensitivity. Cases on training and development for adult learners are explained in the next two descriptions. Finally, a case from a field trip was turned into a game for entomology students.
Learning Through Video Games
Oblinger (2005) depicted today’s middle school, high school and college aged students as the Net Generation and characterized them as those who like to be connected, need immediate responses, desire experiential learning, and require social interaction. It has been suggested that many in this Net Generation, also deemed digital natives by Marc Prensky(Prensky, 2001), have grown up with interactive digital technologies and as a result think fundamentally differently than previous generations of students. Some advocates of digital game-based learning imply that developing educational games is a moral imperative, as students of the Net Generation often do not respond to traditional instruction. During the Summit on Educational Games, held by the Federation of American Scientists, Trotter (2005) reported that it is becoming increasingly more critical that America find a way to unite the time people spend playing video games and the time they spend on academic work. Serious games grounded in case-based examples may be one way to do so.