don't think like an instructional designer—think like a game designer
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By Karl M. Kapp Bloomsburg University Gamification of Learning &Instruction EMAIL: [email protected] TWITTER: @kkapp BLOG: http://karlkapp.com/kapp-notes/
Don't Think Like an Instructional Designer—Think
Like a Game Designer
Covert Takeaway Challenge
The SuperHero Mission
You are a game designer at Rock’n GameDesign Corporation which has hit some hard times lately.
It is Friday at 4:55 PM and you only have two things on you mind…
Hey someone wants us to create a game about….
BulletPoint: AKA Board-Dumb Distractress:
… and Supervillains
We are competing internally for the project. Winning team earns the right to work on the project.
• Text the word karlkapp to 37607 Take out
your text-machines Standard Texting Fees
Two Development Teams
Each team will be confronted with a series of questions. The team that
answers the most questions correctly wins the work.
Losers are assigned to the “Watching Paint Dry” game that’s
been under development.
Wow, I heard about that paint drying game, its almost as fun as… never mind. Superheroes are much
First decision about this Superhero game is how to start the game? What
should a player’s first in-game experience be?
You have two choices:
Tell the player detailed information they need to know about being a superhero. or Begin with a battle.
Why does this answer make sense?
Good game designers know that games are engaging because they require action
Action draws in the player and encourages further engagement.
Start with action.
It helps defeat boredom and apathy on the part of the
Too often instructional design is about the content and not about the actions
that need to occur.
Game Design is about action.
Vogel, J. J., Vogel D.S., Cannon-Bowers, J., Bowers, C.A., Muse, K., & Wright, M. (2006). Computer gaming and Interactive simulations for learning: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 34(3), 229-243.
Research indicates that learners who used interactive games for learning had the greater cognitive gains over learners provided with traditional
Here are some of my notes on the subject.
Ok, next decision.
Provide a map with the location of all the Supervillain hideouts.
Create a sense of mystery and curiosity concerning the location of
Build curiosity & mystery into a game. Reveal locations of Supervillain hideouts throughout the
course of the player’s journey.
A sense of suspense, mystery and intrigue draws people into games and can draw them into
learning as well.
OK, next decision, should we:
Make the game easy so we don’t discourage the players. or Make the game challenging, knowing some players will fail the first few times.
Jones, B., Valdez, G., Norakowski, J., & Rasmussen, C. (1994). Designing learning and technology for educational reform. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. [Online]. Available: http://www.ncrtec.org/capacity/profile/profwww.htm and Schlechty, P. C. (1997). Inventing better schools: An action plan for educational reform. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Chapter 2 “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction.”
This should be
You can’t stop all of us.
Uh, oh. This is a
In fact, give them the Kobayashi Maru of challenges.
Look! Things that are too easy or too difficult will not pique a learner’s interest because they
lead to boredom or frustration.
White, R.W. (1959) Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 66, 297-333.
Research has shown that challenge is correlated with intrinsic motivation and motivation related to the desire to seek
competence and self confidence.
Well, the next decision, should we:
Put the player at risk, they could die at any moment. or Let the player safely explore the environment.
Risk, in games, failing is allowed, it’s acceptable and it’s part of the
Do you punish failure in your
learning design or do you allow and encourage the freedom to fail?
Last decision, should we:
Give player choices about what level to enter the game. or Create one path for every player.
Choices, players need choices. Look, let me tell you what motivates
People are motivated when they have autonomy, mastery and relatedness.
Hey, isn’t that the Self-Determination Theory?
Why, yes…yes it is.
When given control over their learning, research has shown that learners invested more and attempted more complex strategies than when they had no control. So give learners control.
Cordova, D.I., & Lepper M. R. (1996) Intrinsic motivation and the process of learning: Beneficial effects of contextualization, personalization and choice. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 715-730
Where to next?
Lot of information, thanks. So let me ask one more question.
Which team won?
Well, there all winners to me….
How about a re-cap…
Here are five tips to help an instructional designer to think like a
1) Begin with activity 2) Create curiosity, mystery, intrigue 3) Create a challenge for the learner 4) Put learners at “mock” risk 5) Give learners choices
Covert Takeaway Challenge
What Questions Do You Have?