The Design of a Health Literacy Game: Face the Case

The Design of a Health Literacy Game: Face the Case

Jennifer McCabe (James Madison University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-781-7.ch010
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This chapter describes the design and development of a game that was created to teach undergraduate students concepts related to health literacy. A brief discussion of the nature of games and how and why they appeal to college students is followed by a synopsis of some of the literature that influenced the design of the game in 2005. The chapter goes on to describe the game in detail, including the learning objectives, gameplay elements, design challenges, and skills included. The chapter will conclude with a discussion of some evaluations that were done on the game and direction for future development.
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Influential Literature

The design of Face the Case (FTC) was more a creative endeavor than a work of research; therefore design choices were influenced more by playing games than by a formal review of the literature. There are several writers and scholars, however, whose work influences contemporary thinking about the creation of educational games. Marc Prensky, author of Digital Game Based Learning, initially suggested that games needed six structural elements in order to be considered a game. Prensky’s elements are rules, goals and objectives, outcomes and feedback, conflict/competition/challenge/opposition, interaction, and representation or story (Prensky, 2001). These elements were used, in unequal measure, to guide design decisions related to Face the Case. While Prensky’s ideas provided insight into the design of games that can be used in educational settings, it should be noted that he has been heard to say that trying to design learning into a game “sucks the fun out of it.” His central dogma relates to the idea that we can learn from games and the way that they engage students, but that as soon as educators try to design games that intentionally teach anything, they cease to be games and become dressed up tutorials. Prensky’s devil’s advocate style, while decidedly unscholarly, served as an important warning throughout the design of Face the Case.

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