Making a Connection: Game Genres, Game Characteristics, and Teaching Structures

Making a Connection: Game Genres, Game Characteristics, and Teaching Structures

Dennis Charsky (Ithaca College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-195-9.ch710
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This chapter will make a connection between game genres, game characteristics, and constructivist teaching structures. Constructivist teaching structures, like open learning environments and anchored instruction, have the same aims as serious games – to facilitate higher order learning skills and knowledge. However, constructivist teaching structures are not games and serious games are grappling with how to design games and keep the fun and learning in perfect balance. Making connections between game genres and characteristics (where much of the fun resides) and teaching structures (where much of the learning resides) will highlight commonalities that can be taken advantage of in the design of good serious games – where learning and fun are in perfect balance.
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Game designers strive to create games that are fun and games that will engage players (Crawford, 2003; Koster, 2005; Rollings & Adams, 2003; Rouse, 2005). Game design strategies that are believed to lead to engagement can include story, shooting, racing, fighting, collaboration, role playing, constructing, managing, and many, many more (Rollings & Adams, 2003). It is because of these exciting and entertaining strategies that the commercial video game industry is so popular and profitable. Dickey (2005) has argued that many of the engagement strategies used in entertainment-based video games can inform instructional design practice because they mirror sound instructional practices. The sound instructional practices that Dickey refers to can be found in many teaching structures grounded in the constructivist philosophy.

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