VISOLE (Virtual Interactive Student-Oriented Learning Environment) is a constructivist pedagogical approach to empower computer game-based learning. This approach encompasses the creation of a near real-life online interactive world modeled upon a set of multi-disciplinary domains, in which each student plays a role in this “virtual world” and shapes its development. All missions, tasks and problems therein are generative and open-ended with neither prescribed strategies nor solutions. With sophisticated multi-player simulation contexts and teacher facilitation (scaffolding and debriefing), VISOLE provides opportunities for students to acquire both subject-specific knowledge and problem-solving skills through their near real-life gaming experience. This chapter aims to delineate the theoretical foundation and pedagogical implementation of VISOLE. Apart from that, the authors also introduce their game-pedagogy co-design strategy adopted in developing the first VISOLE instance—FARMTASIA.
The discussion of harnessing games for teaching and learning has started since the widespread popularity of Pac-Man in the early 1980s (Squire, 2003). Without doubt, the “games” discussed in most of today’s game-based learning research are quite different from the ones that were used in education in the last few decades. The differences are not only in games’ technical enhancement (e.g., more sophisticated 3D user interfaces, dynamic synchronous players’ interaction, etc.) brought by the advancement of technology, but also their underpinning learning philosophy, shifting from behaviourism (Rachlin, 1991; Skinner, 1938) to constructivism (Bruner, 1960; Papert, 1993; Piaget, 1964, 1970).