22 August 2010

[Conf] Game design = learning design = game design

On June 19th, James Gee gave the opening keynote at FDG2010. You can find the abstract page xix. Here are some notes I took during the talk.

Games convey learning better than schools do.

A concentrated sample is a basic language sample for a 1-year-old kid learning language. But people do not speak simply enough, they do not send basic samples only. Nature's solution is: kids filter and simplify what they receive, they can only process simple sentences. Kids are built to be limited. What could be a boss battle in language? For games, the problem is: how to be sure players get only the bits of information they need to progress. Games are guided experience on concentrated sample for future learning. Each level is a preparation for the following level, each level is learning. A boss is here only to test if the player is prepared to learn more. A better player is a better learner.

Experts only know one thing, they overvalue it and undervalue their other knowledge. WoW is distributed experts who also understand other classes' expertise. With the Damage Meter add-on, DPS free-riders are spotted.

Learning is helped by the emotional impact found in games. Why would I save people in the game? Why would I play? The story is here to kick-in emotions and motivate players. Stories are the only way to do it.

There is always performance before competence. The problem is trainees need to trust their trainers, otherwise they fear to perform. In games, there is performance: it is players looking at other players or NPC. Bonus: the intelligence is distributed. The community helps learning. This works particularly well with modding.

A game is fair when players admit I can win if I get better.

For Baby Boomers, intelligence meant speed and efficiency. For today kids, it is adaptation.

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