Game Design, Gamification, Learning Design and Assorted Other Strangeness

Peadar’s Process for Learning Game Design

What follows is a process for designing a learning game based on a classroom learning activity. This process is based on the view that there is only one difference between a classroom activity and a game. Namely in an activity the easiest method of reaching the goal of the activity is the prefered or prescribed method. Whereas in a game the easiest method of reaching the goal is precluded by the rules. Therefore the easiest method of designing learning games is to take pre existent learning activities and convert them into game play by the addition of obstacles.

Stage 1 analysis of learning activity

  1. Identify the type of knowledge that is being transferred

Declarative vs Rules vs Procedural etc.

  1. Identify what the student/ player is being asked to do

(make sure that this is an active process on the part of the learner not a passive, it is impossible to make a game  passive reception of information)

  1. What are the repeatable units of the transfer process? (Identify the core loop)
  2. Analyze the activity based on the key elements in it.

( the number of players, The ludic goal, knowledge of the game state, the atom of play, the type of uncertainty present, conceit, the level of interaction etc.)

Stage 2 Design

  1. Add to or alter one of the key elements to increase the difficulty of reaching the ludic goal. 

(eg. move from full game state knowledge to partial or hidden)

  1. Draw the interaction loop for this game.

Stage 3 Prototype test

  1. play the game using a paper prototype receive feedback.

Stage 4 Begin the iterative design process.

In stage 4 the designer can begin to look for technological implementations of the game and begin work on the polishing once the main game play has been locked.

The advantages of Peadar’s Process 

  1. it keeps the learning goal and the game play tied together
  2. It encourages a step by step iterative approach
  3. it is easy to explain to non game playing stakeholders why the game is valuable to students.
  4. It constrains and focuses the designer so preventing feature creep and unachievable projects.
  5. It emphasises the design of good game mechanics over digital coolness.

The Disadvantages

  1. It constrains the designer.
  2. It does not emphasis digital design until late in the process

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