Just been reading a lot more on the latest studies in game based learning from around the world the last few weeks. I may have mentioned before, outcomes are one of the primary discriminators between games and sims. Yes, fun and entertainment are important outcomes of a game, but they are not primary outcomes of a simulation.
So, with that in mind, that got me thinking about the choices or paths that users could take in some of the scenarios I build for eLearning. It is well known that games and simulations can take as little as a few minutes and as long as weeks or months to complete (some have no end). The user may be exposed to only a small fraction of the content, or may progress through the majority of it, depending on the way the game/sim is designed.
A key concept here I think is the difference between the perception of the game from the designer’s point of view and the view of the learner. To the designer the game or sim, like me, will have multiple paths a learner could take, and all these paths must be developed, even though any given user might not experience it.
A user would only traverse a game or sim along a linear path, even though they might back up to a decision node and progress a different direction. The branching remains the same, but the time of play increases. Attempting to anticipate what a participant will do within a game or sim is the difficult part of design in these modes. A designer should consider how long, on average, it should take learners to complete the game or simulation.
As you can imagine, the longer the experience, the more time and resources are required to build it. There are bound to be ways Learning Architects/IDs like me to help craft better pathways and more engaging stories. Might do a short course in creative story writing or something to help with this. Anyone else have this issue?