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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Rules of Play: Design Elements of Addictive Online Learning Games

Abstract

Over the past decade, games have grown as both a commercial industry, as a field for scholarly research, and as a practical medium for teaching and learning. Inspired by a broad array of research emphasizing the effectiveness of problem-based, anchored instruction, developers have been creating games about subjects ranging from childhood obesity to electoral politics to personal finance. Even former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has embraced games as a way to teach civics to schoolchildren. Games have definitely come of age as tools for teaching and learning.

But we still need to understand how to make learning games fun. For that, we must learn about game design. Given the breadth and depth of this topic, this workshop focuses on a handful of game mechanics that help us move from the kinds of "game-like" interactives commonly found on museum Web sites into the realm of true games. With a firm understanding of these mechanics, we can design online games that incorporate our content and create compelling, even addicting learning experiences for our audiences.

This workshop focuses on a handful of game mechanics that help us move from the kinds of "game-like" interactives commonly found on museum Web sites into the realm of true games. With a firm understanding of these mechanics, we can design online games that incorporate our content and create compelling, even addicting learning experiences for our audiences.

Please note that this workshop will use paper prototyping methods to explore game elements and mechanics. Understanding these elements is essential to design an effective and engaging online games, so our focus will be on design principles, not on production aspects of online games.

Type: 

Workshop - full or half day

Authors

davidschaller's picture
As eduweb’s founder and principal, Dave Schaller is responsible for the overall creative direction of the company and the perpetual quest for the sweet spot where learning theory, digital media, and fun meet. Since 1996, he has been developing award-winning digital learning games and interactives...