(For week 11.)
Some scholars, instructors or educators believe learning to be fun. "Learning by Playing" is such an intriguing and exciting slogan!
John Seely Brown said in a video that we can make learning fundamentally fun. When learning like playing, learners are encouraged of being in freedom to fail, fail and fail again and then get it right, with their passion all the way. They are also encouraged of learning as "riddles", leading to a reframing or re-registering of the world.
Games provide learners with a new learning context, in which "recreation facilitates re-creation".
Inspired by this idea, people are now applying serious games and virtual worlds in educational context. These games often use three dimensional spaces, allowing learners to step inside the screen of their imagining. Besides the visualization, serious games and virtual worlds also allow us the potential to: provide support for our learning communities; broaden our networks of learners; provide tools to support creative learning activity and experience design.
The possibilities of the 3D web include the capability to integrate these and other
2D tools and tool kits, to support learner-generated content, to enable sharing of content and to allow us to visualise more clearly different scenarios of practice.
Game-based and virtual world applications has the capacity for integrating with different media and interactive resources, as well as integrating with available social software and collaborative tools. This opens up the option for learner groups studying out of normal hours of learning, or beyond the timeframe of the course, and open up real potential for learning outside the standard institutional framework.
With all these merits, serious games are not necessarily perfect. Work to enforce academic rigour, analysis and synthesis, as well as meta-reflection and higher order cognition, needs to be considered in learning design.
Interestingly, much evidence shows there is no significant difference between serious games and face-to-face or blended learning. Multi-modes of learning often accelerated learning and longer retention of information results. However, some studies indicate that game-based learning can change attitude, and can be engaging and motivating for learners.
Bonnie A. Nardi, Stella Ly, & Justin Harris (2007). Learning conversations in World of
Warcraft. forthcoming in Proc. HICSS 2007. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from
John Seely Brown (2010, June). Closing Keynote at the New Media Consortium 2010
in Anaheim, CA. A Culture of Learning. Gardner Campbell’s reflective blog post:
http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=1278; Video of keynote:
Sara de Freitas (2008). Emerging trends in serious games and virtual worlds. Becta:
Emerging Technologies for Learning, 3, 57-72. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from