Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions: Broken Window as a Model of Transmedia Game Learning

Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions: Broken Window as a Model of Transmedia Game Learning

Scott J. Warren (University of North Texas, USA) and Anjum Najmi (University of North Texas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2848-9.ch011


Over the last decade, digital games have become important vehicles to support student learning. One form in particular, transmedia games, have shown a propensity to allow instructors, students, and designers to create learning games inexpensively and rapidly, while showing learning improvements and allowing for rapid change as the need arises. There are two goals for this chapter. The first is to review existing theoretical models of game learning and to provide an overview of a new model called “Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions.” The second is to give a detailed description of the design process for Broken Window, an alternate reality (AltRG) transmedia game that was developed to support undergraduate learning in a computer applications course.
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Literature Review

Learning Game Theory

To begin this section on theories of game and simulation use in education, it is important first to acknowledge that the use of video and computer games to support learning is not new and the research is distributed over a number of disciplines. As with analog technologies like textbooks, computer games are used for different pedagogical purposes to support learning. These have ranged from teacher-directed, memorization-based approaches to situated, social constructivist ones in which the learner uses the game to explore challenging problems with no single correct answer alone or works in small groups with a goal of constructing meaningful knowledge and defensible solutions. Depending on the approach and goals for instruction taken by the designer of the game, the learning outcomes may wildly be different. The following sections explore three different theoretical approaches that have been commonly used to guide the design and development of games and simulations for learning, beginning with those taken from information processing and behaviorist perspectives.

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