Games and Learning

Category: Game Design, Research, Teaching

My Games and Learning course is a 3 credit hour course aimed at both education and interactive media students, but I tend to get a broad mix of students from all over campus. The class is multidisciplinary at its core, as it requires students to acquire a practical understanding of both educational psychology, instructional design, and game design. This understanding is put to test during the assignments and in particular the final project, for which the students are required to design a prototype for an educational game.

The course is taught using ‘gameful instruction’, which is an innovative course design that applies game design techniques to motivate and evaluate students. In order to make these principles usable, I designed a software application which I called Gradequest. During the course, the students will create their own fictional heroes and go on an epic quest in search of The Twelfth, a powerful wizard in the field of games and learning who has disappeared. While undertaking this daunting challenge, they will fight the minions of Dr. De Schutter, Force of Evil. Two of the highlights of this course are “The Midterm Gauntlet” and the “MetaGame Champion Rises”. During the Gauntlet quest, students will take their midterm in the form of a game that is reminiscent of Taboo.  During the Champion Rises quest, students will play a customized version of the metaga.me (called “Epic Game Battles of History”) during which they will challenge each other’s knowledge about the course content.

My gameful instruction has spawned a few research papers. One of them even managed to win a top paper award at the 2014 Foundations of Digital Games conference.