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Paper: Digital game-based learning: Towards an experiential gaming model

by on October 26, 2011

The thesis that I read, called Digital game-based learning: Towards an experiential gaming model, introduced a model to represent the way that we learn through educational games. Do not that this model and paper doesn’t explain the whole game design.

Using this model a game designer can pinpoint the parts of his game that still need more work. At the heart of the model we find the challenges (problems) without those we don’t have an educational game, we don’t even have a game.

The model suggests that we don’t learn a lot from answering multiple choice questions, but stresses the importance of a player being able to experiment with the objects in the world. For example, a game where a user needs to build a bridge with limited resources through AutoCAD to get to the other side of a canyon shouldn’t have one single solution. The player’s first three tries could fail, but the game would give feedback on where it went wrong. (where did the bridge collapse) The player would then use this information to create a bridge that is a bit stronger.

So where should an educational game designer put his attention on?

  1. Creating a real engaging challenging game. (without the educational part yet)
  2. Allow users to experiment with the objects in the world.
  3. Give enough feedback so that the player knows where he went wrong, or where he was right.
  4. Make the challenges balanced. (too challenging gives frustration, on the other hand not enough challenge leads to boredom)
    • Provide clear goals.

The other part of the cycle (the upper part) is idea generation, which is something that happens mostly asynchronous from the game.

You can find a copy of the paper here.

Writen byKristian Kiili, Tampere University of Technology, Pori, Pohjoisranta 11, P.O. Box 300, FIN-28101 Pori, Finland
Accepted on 1 December 2004

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