Assessment Task 1 Blog 1

Journal Blog Task 1

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My practice and experience with the world of games and gaming

As a learning designer in the VET sector, my experience and understanding of games and gaming has been informed by researchers Karl Kapp and James Paul Gee and directed by instructional and learning design models such as Keller’s ARCS model (Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction) and Malone’s Theory of Intrinsically Motivating Instruction (Challenge, Fantasy, Curiosity). My learning design practice has been to apply game elements such as curiosity, challenge, fantasy and storytelling in the learning experiences I help to shape and create (Kapp, 2012).

“We know games can be highly motivating,” she says. “We know the ways they are organised can lead to deeper factual and conceptual understanding, but we need to find ways to use them that are consistent with the ways teachers teach.” (Beavis quoted in http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/teachers-reevaluate-value-of-video-games-20141130-11jw0i.html )

Beavis’ comment in the SMH article Teachers re-evaluate value of video games challenges me to consider my practice as a Learning Designer. Should I find ways to use games that are consistent with the ways I design learning experiences and VET teachers currently practice their craft of teaching? Rather, I feel the imperative is that I need to evolve and change the way I design and deliver learning experiences; to move beyond trying to merely adapt/hybridise learning content originally intended for F2F delivery and break into the design space that game designers in the online environment have conquered (Parise & Crosina, 2012), p.209. That is, not find ways to use games that consistent with my current practice, but rather to look at how games and online gaming can take my design to new creative spaces.

The VET sector

The VET sector has traditionally been seen as an environment where the acquisition of practical trade skills are emphasised and celebrated. However, this sector is also acknowledging the changing world that VET students of the 21st century are now a part.

All students need a solid grounding in generic skills, in addition to discipline-specific skills, which will equip them for their various roles in the 21st century, both in the world of work and in society generally.’ (Bowman, 2010, http://www.aqf.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Generic-skills-background-paper-FINAL.pdf, p.6).

Key skills identified for the VET sector include:

  • communication skills
  • teamwork skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • self- management
  • planning and organising
  • technology skills
  • lifelong learning skills and
  • initiative and enterprise skills (ibid, p.7).

The 21st century skills project summarises outcomes under the following categories:

Ways of thinking

Ways of working

Tools for working

Living in the world (Ibid)

The world of  work in the 21st century is changing rapidly as acknowledged in two major goals expressed in the 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young people:

Goal 1: Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence.

Goal 2: All young Australians become: successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. ( MCEETYA, 2008, http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/national_declaration_on_the_educational_goals_for_young_australians.pdf )

I see the craft of learning design is to facilitate these goals, to evolve with the rapidly changing needs of the 21st century and, to explore how games can give learning experiences meaning (Kapp, 2012, p.xxi).

My understanding of games and gaming

My understanding of games and gaming fall into two categories:

  1. theoretical reading
  2. practical experience.

Theoretical reading

My theoretical reading has included Karl Kapp and James Paul Gee (http://youtu.be/JnEN2Sm4IIQ ).  Kapp (2012)  explores the multifaceted concept of gamification and what it means for educationalists and learning designers to use the elements of games and gaming (engagement, story, autonomy and meaning)  to create rich learning experiences.

Gee (2012, http://youtu.be/JnEN2Sm4IIQ) discusses why online games provide the opportunity for diverse learning to take place beyond the mastery of the game itself.  He illustrates how game enthusiasts will form learning networks (affinity space)  to discuss, modify, research and explicate everything about a game. Talking about the multiplayer game World of Warcraft, Gee points out that success is dependent on teams with diverse skill sets. Each player must not only have a unique skill set but also understand how the skill sets of others will contribute to the success of the game (cross functional teams).  That certainly fits in with the skills required of the 21st century workplace.

‘There’s only language you don’t know because you didn’t live in its’ world, you didn’t play its’ game. (Gee, ibid)

Gee also shares his personal experience with games as a fifty year old. His first strategy was to ‘read the manual’. However, it wasn’t until he played the game that the manual made any sense. His point is that as practitioners (teachers and learning designers), we are handing our students the manual without the game. There is no meaning making or comprehensions taking place without the experience of the game.

Practical

This has also been my personal experience with learning how to play physical games such as soccer, basketball and running half marathons, playing board games and now navigating online games such as Minecraft. I’ve immersed myself in the activity with and without experienced players and then later gone back to learn how to apply the rules and strategies more effectively to achieve success. The manual only makes sense to me because I have first lived in the world of  ‘game’.

My practical experiences with online/video based games has also been watching my ASD grandson improve his spelling with the ABC’s online Reading Eggs program (http://readingeggs.com.au) and my young adult sons spend inordinate amounts of time shooting the enemy/zombies. I can see the full benefit of the former (Reading Eggs) but have not fully appreciated the skills and knowledge building capabilities of the latter.

My personal aims for this subject

Referring to Gee gain, my goals for this subject is to continue to expand my experiences in how to play the game, not just write the manual. I need to play the game (not just know about it), so that I can apply the elements of game design, narrative and role play to the learning experiences I design. To bring in the elements of these ‘activities and ways of problem solving’ (Gee, http://youtu.be/JnEN2Sm4IIQ ) found in games so that deep rich learning experiences are crafted.

Challenges

The challenges I plan to meet are to extend my understanding of game design by immersing myself in the world of online games and gaming in order to bring together my theoretical understandings with experience.  I need to continue to challenge myself so that I understand the language because ‘I have lived in its’ world and played its’ game.’ My learning design needs to continue to evolve to provide students in the VET sector with those skills that are identified as critical employability skills for the 21st century:

  • communication skills
  • teamwork skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • self- management
  • planning and organising
  • technology skills
  • lifelong learning skills and
  • initiative and enterprise skills.

However, the other challenge I have is to not step blindly or naively into this new design space. I also want to explore digital culture and how online/video games affect learning, values and understandings and student identity (Beavis, ibid; Zagami, 2012, p.2).

References

Bowman, K. 2010. Background paper for the AQF Council on generic skills. http://www.aqf.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Generic-skills-background-paper-FINAL.pdf Retrieved 08 March, 2015.

Gee, P.J. (2012). James Paul Gee on learning with video games. http://youtu.be/JnEN2Sm4IIQ Retrieved  08 March, 2015.

Jennings, J. (2014). Teachers re-evaluate value of video games. Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November. http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/teachers-reevaluate-value-of-video-games-20141130-11jw0i.html Retrieved 05 March, 2015.

Kapp, K.M.  (2012). The Gamification of learning and instruction: Games-based methods and strategies for training and education. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

MCEETYA . (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young. http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/national_declaration_on_the_educational_goals_for_young_australians.pdf Retrieved 07 March, 2015.

Parise, S., & Crosina, E. (2012). How a mobile social media game can enhance the educational experience. Merlot Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8(3), 209-222.

Zagami, J. (2012). Serious play. ACEC2012 Its Time Conference, 2nd-5th October, Perth Australia, http://acec2012.acce.edu.au/sites/acec2012.acce.edu.au/files/proposal/232/ACEC2012-Serious%20Play.pdf Retrieved 08 March, 2015.

4 comments on “Assessment Task 1 Blog 1
    • Hi Lynn,

      Thank you 🙂 Hope you are traveling well too. So much to learn and explore. If only there were more hours in the day.

  1. You’re already connecting the pieces, which is great. While some say games need to be integrated into learning (insert reason of the day), what you are showing here is that there are places for games to be injected already. Its also great to see you placing the idea inside games against established instructional theories – ie Malones.

    Look forward to seeing you unpack these ideas.

    • Hi Dean,

      I think the way game designers have moved ahead with their ‘learning design’ is both exciting and overwhelming. I feel like we learning designers have a lot of catch up to do 🙂
      from what I am discovering … it is that games are already changing behaviours and building skills and knowledge. But more importantly … the players are passionate about their involvement. That’s what I want to inject into my learning design (if I am allowed to).

      Look forward to your input and feedback.
      Hyacinth

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