Entertain, Participate, Learn

In the May/June edition of Technology Review, Games and Their MIT Makers (in which Sande gets a mention) proposes that the best educational games are participatory ones. When you think of some educational software with its drill-and-memorize tendencies, that’s welcome relief! Spurred on by interest in serious games, educators are looking to video games as a new way to educate students of the millennium generation. The immersiveness and familiarity of video games motivates students to spend more time with the curriculum and most importantly, to interact with the material. Why read a history text when you can play with history in a strategy or role-playing game?

Steeped in the tradition of e-learning and the aforementioned “drill-and-memorize,” educational games could use the skills of game writers. While we understand the necessity of subject matter experts and would always work in concert with them, instructional designers should also realize that good interactive stories serve players best. If players enjoy the story, they’re more likely to delve into the subject matter and the game. Above all, if they’re engrossed in the story, the education bits won’t seem force-fed but rather, information needed to advance in the game.

Do you recall any good storytelling in educational or serious games? If so, share!

Question Mark The previous line of dialog came from the PC game “Birthright.”
Today’s line: “Weep for Tars” Can you guess what game it’s from? You have all weekend to figure it out!

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Published in: on May 10, 2007 at 7:24 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] anathema to education? Is there such a dichotomy? Why can’t we have serious games that are informative AND entertaining? There is no need to dub all serious games as boring […]

  2. […] How can we be so sure games can educate children? We recently finished work on a serious game aimed at students and received the first testing report.  The players not only enjoyed the gameplay, they quickly began to identify with the characters, to explore their relationships, and to understand the complex issues the character were supposed to represent.  Based on this test, the developers were confident the game achieved their educational goals. And how did the students react to learning through a game? One student said “This is like the best day I’ve ever had in this class.” Now what’s so wrong with making learning fun? […]

  3. […] lack of controller dominance may discourage educational theorists who would want girls to participate (and learn) from games, this is perfectly OK in a social setting. No girl wants the possibility of failure in […]


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