Thursday, October 21, 2004

Serious Games – Assessment and the Future of Fluid Learning Environments 

All presentation slideshows will be available online within a few days at http://www.seriousgamessummit.com/.

Aaron Thibault

A definition of fluid learning:
...adapts to a learner’s needs in a lifelong learning perspective

According to Thibault, gamers try to fulfill different sets of needs and make fun from different types of behaviors. For him there are 4 types of gamers:
- Player killers (eliminate opponents)
- Achievers (want to finish a game)
- Socializers (look for social interaction)
- Explorers (like to look around and discover)

There is a gap between the vocabulary of game developers and the vocabulary of instructional designers. A group focuses on fun and the other one on learning. I totally agree. It brings us back to the need of developing a common methodology. It’s not at all typical of serious gaming. Software development and e-learning have been through that as well.

When it comes to assessing a learner’s learning in a gaming environment, Thibault doesn’t offer us a comprehensive solution. However, his comment: “We assess each other all the time” seems to me like to key to the answer. Peer review? Performance technology? Hmm, probably a bit of all that.

A lot of people in the audience were academics of course. Many were looking at the presenter in disarray because they had started to realize that maybe what their employers (universities, colleges) are offering is essentially common pedagogical paths and accreditation. Pedagogical paths are getting always more customized (and distributed) and the current accreditation model doesn’t fit well with lifelong learning. Frightening to see that the current educational business model is in a dead-end.

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