A very recent research project conducted in September, 2008 by Pew
Internet & America Life Project produced an astounding result saying that
99% of boys and, unbelievably, 94% of girls like to play games. Also, the
president of United States, Barack Obama, said that there should be reforms
made in the modern education system (Gaydos & Squire, 2010). These may look
like completely different issues, but if you observe closely they are both
different sides of same coin.
It is known that children these days are subjected to media like television and internet
constantly, but when they go to school it seems that they are learning from the
tools of yesterday (Gaydos & Squire, 2010). So it is necessary to
incorporate the latest technology in school environment. This could highly
improve the intellectual capacity of students, and gaming is a step toward
achieving that objective.
Games should be concentrated around problem solving techniques.
Games should be designed with the objective of solving problems (Woei Hung & Van Eck,
2010). Instructional designers would be much better off if they design the
games with the latest research base rather than using old or out-of-date
research material. Designing the games on the basis of problem solving is not
an easy task as the problems fall into very wide ranges of cognition (Woei Hung
& Van Eck, 2010). Therefore an instructional designer has to come up with
ideas which could stimulate all the levels of cognition of a player or group of
Games should be interactive in nature.
Instructional design has played a vital role in creating Alelo’s language and cultural
training programs (Barrett & Johnson, 2010). This program is mainly
designed for a player who is not a native, or who is completely foreign to a
culture or language. After playing these games which have some of the latest
technological features which are used in recognizing one’s gestures, speech,
intent, and behavior, the player becomes proficient in the language and culture
which the player is aspiring to learn. When playing these kinds of games, the
player is immersed into the play as there is a virtual human communicating with
the player in virtual 3-D environment. This keeps the player more interested
due to the interactive nature of the real world simulation of the game (Barrett
& Johnson, 2010). These games played a vital role in military for the
soldiers to learn foreign languages and cultures.
Also collecting valuable feedback from the players further helped the developers in
designing the games in a more practical manner (Barrett & Johnson, 2010).
The real beauty of these games is that a player interacts with a virtual
character according to the task assigned to the player. Then the artificially
intelligent virtual character communicates with the player and continues the
conversation accordingly, which is far better than software programs that do
not even have the capability of speech recognition or the programs which only
focus on the pronunciation of the player without knowing what meaning the
player is trying to convey (Barrett & Johnson, 2010). In other words, other
software programs don’t have the capacity to carry on conversations as Alelo’s
training program does.
How to keep the gamer motivated?
Although technology plays a vital role in increasing learning capabilities among
learners, it is important not to forget the human factor (Farmer & Murphy,
2010). It is always necessary to see that you are not forcing your ideas on the
learner and the learners are interested in getting hold of the subject that
interests them. Steps should be taken to emphasize the importance of
collaborative learning (Farmer & Murphy, 2010). The game should always
should help the learners who are struggling to grasp a subject matter and
maintain a low pressure environment.
Games should contain different levels, which get more challenging as the stages go by. This is
because all the learners do not have same level of understanding capabilities
(Farmer & Murphy, 2010).It is necessary to understand that both technology
and human factor should go hand in hand to develop instructional design of a
great value. Instructional designers should keep in mind about this before they
start their project. Whether it is an industry or school setting, it is just
not enough to provide games to the learners. Steps should be taken to allot a
place for additional material such as gaming magazines, strategy guides of
different types of games, books containing game art, game fictions, gaming
careers, and also websites displaying reviews and feedback of different games
by users (Farmer & Murphy, 2010).
Instructional designers should always perform pretests and posttests on the games they
develop. They may need to update games based on the feedback and reviews they
get from users of those games. It is necessary to mention prerequisites of the
games and to offer technical services as soon as possible if something goes
wrong so that the players may not lose interest (Farmer & Murphy, 2010).
Sometimes a gamer may get lost in the process of playing a game. In that case,
providing virtual feedback and necessary hints in the game may bring the gamer
back on track (Farmer & Murphy, 2010).This is one of the important features
an instructional designer must keep in mind while designing a game as it helps
the players who have a problem of losing concentration if they are not able to
figure their way out while playing the game.
Gaydos, M., & Squire, K. (2010). Citizen Science: Designing a
Game for the 21st Century. In R.Van Eck (Ed.)
Interdisciplinary models and tools for serious games: Emerging concepts and
Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Woei Hung, W., & Van Eck, R. (2010). Aligning Problem Solving
and Gameplay: A Model for Future Research and Design. In R.Van Eck (Ed.) Interdisciplinary models and tools for
serious games: Emerging concepts and future directions.(pp.227-263). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
& Johnson, W.L. (2010).Developing Serious Games for Learning
Language-in-Culture. In R.Van Eck (Ed.) Gaming
and cognition: Theories and perspectives from the learning sciences.(pp.281-311) Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Farmer, L.S.J., & Murphy, N.G.(2010). Egaming and Girls:
Optimizing Use in School Libraries. In R.Van Eck (Ed.) Interdisciplinary models and tools for
serious games: Emerging concepts and future directions.(pp.306-332). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.