‘Tis better to have played and lost then never to have played at all

A critical reflection

I came to #INF541 – Game Based Learning ready to be challenged and was not disappointed. I had read and studied Prensky and had  read some of Karl Kapps work about Gamification so was up for a new style of unit, especially as I wanted to employ some of the information into training  I currently deliver.

Early on I set myself a personal goal of creating a resource about a gamer and their perspective on games with a feature on Ingress (Niantic Labs, 2015). I set this personal task so that I could explore not only the game but also see some of the drivers and motivations behind why people play games, which has given me much material to reflect on. It was slightly more difficult than I imagined as I had chosen a hardcore Ingress (Niantic Labs, 2015) player as my subject. He was very forth coming with his views, I only wish I had the time to do a series of video pieces as it was fascinating. This self-imposed task  had me filming, writing questions, and editing the film a whole new set of skills bagged thanks to #INF541, surely that means I level up!

I have developed a richer understand of games and the role that all forms of gaming can have in an educational context. The critical review exercise was challenging and made me drill deep into distinctly different papers. This was extremely difficult, but it made me feel comfortable about refusing to accept on face value what is said but to confront, and counter the arguments as my points are fair and valid.

Twitter conversation about #GBL between @aus_teach and @Yvette_elearn March 18, 2015
Twitter conversation about #GBL between @aus_teach and @Yvette_elearn March 18, 2015

The practical and experimental activities including virtual field trips has my learning experience a rich, dynamic and rewarding one. These field trips along with the immersion into Ingress (Niantic Labs, 2015) has had, I feel, the greatest impression on my thinking about games. I can use and demonstrate game based learning to colleagues in the Vocational Education and Training sector from first-hand experience of the technologies, warts and all, and have a wide selection of robust tools and literature that demonstrates the effectiveness of game based learning.

Simulations have excited me, especially immersive serious simulations that learners are engaging with the content to build skills for the workplace. Simulations and serious games where the trainer can actively redesign the scenario for students to be challenged every time they use the simulator are an exciting prospect for me, especially where the problems are designed for the student to be challenged but can achieve or ‘win’, unlike the Kobayashi Maru,  are  an exciting assessment prospect for VET.

Yet the most critical point for me in the adult learning space is that I need to be able to train VET trainers to facilitate pre and post game or simulation debrief sessions (Moore & Pflugfelder, 2010) and help them learn how to deal with the loss of control in being a ‘guide on the side or meddler in the middle’ rather than the ‘sage on the stage’ (Day & Kumar, 2010).

It frustrates me that the VET sector has come so far with elearning and yet there is still a chasm of thought around the use of games based learning, and it really does not matter what type of game you are referring to: serious games, commercial off-the-shelf games or simulations to support student outcomes there will be considerable pockets of resistance. As this is a major issue for the VET sector I wrote my final assignment around implementation of games for organization and trainers. For this I sourced as many examples as I could find of effective use of simulations to support training, as I personally feel simulations will be the first acceptance point for VET trainers.

Thanks to this unit I feel that I have grown my knowledge base and personal understanding of GBL. My next self-imposed challenge is to turn that knowledge and understanding into a productive output for the VET sector, which will be for a sector win.

 

 References

CBS Studios Inc. (2014). Kobayashi Maru. Retrieved from http://www.startrek.com/database_article/kobayashi-maru

Day, J., & Kumar, M. (2010). Using SMS Text Messaging to Create Individualized and Interactive Experiences in Large Classes: A Beer Game Example. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 8(1), 129-136. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4609.2009.00247.x

Moore, K., & Pflugfelder E. H. (2010). On being bored and lost (in virtuality). Learning, media and technology, 35 (2) pp. 249 -253

Niantic Labs (2015). Ingress [Android software]. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nianticproject.ingress

Twenge, J.M. (2006), Generation me: why today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled – and more miserable than before. New York: Free Press

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