Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Six Key Principles of Collaborative Games Based Learning

1. Create a sense of realism (as opposed to fantasy):

  • Provide relevant context that draws the learners into an authentic experience / scenario, so they become part of the learning as opposed to passive recipients.

2. Deliver engaging interaction by means of authentic activities (not just playing for the sake of it).

  • Game playing can be a springboard for skills and knowledge, but better still game playing can be the development and practice of skills and knowledge.

3. Group level game play where the goal is collaborative problem solving (as opposed to single player games):

  • The learning is inclusive and the game easy to understand, to ensure that everyone participates.

4. Provide an anchor for multiple learning conversations:

  • These conversations not the technological interactions should account for the majority the lesson.  
  • Dialogue and articulation of knowledge occurs amongst learners (sub-teams), at the class level and can be educator-led. 
  • The educator provides a crucial role, rather like the conductor in an orchestra, keeping the process flowing and providing scaffolding and stimulus as and when required.  

5. The technology and design needs to be appropriate:

  • The use of a single computer makes the games appropriate for all teaching situations.
  • Round-based play allows for natural break points to enable group and reflective learning.
  • The teacher uses the computer so that the learning flows and the game doesn't become an exercise in ICT skills.
  • The interface, game play and technology need to play second fiddle to the learning. Time spent moving around an interface or world, might add to the contextualisation, but it can also reduce the amount of time spent actually learning. One of the key problem of commercial games is they can take too long to get into.

6. The game needs to work in a learning continuum:

  • Games need to be integrated into the curriculum.
  • Game play and scores need to feed into an assessment model.
  • The games need to inspire follow on activities / exercises and encourage reflection. 

This post is taken from a section in our white paper Games Based Situated Learning which can be found on the resource page of our corporate website.

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