Part 1 briefly presents the premise of the book. The focus on hybridity in education is definitely timely. Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought that we would experience a global pandemic such as this. Most if not all of us have to rethink and redesign the way we work, live, teach, learn, communicate our ideas, whilst preserving some kind of meaning to our day-to-day interaction with others via remote means.
Even though “pandemic pedagogy” was not an inspiration for this book, the principle of creativity and flexibility – when it comes to responding and adapting to challenges such as this – is essential for us to be more resilient in our practice.
Our educational practices should not be restricted by specific technologies, pedagogies and/or the binary of online-offline and formal-informal. Hybrid learning as discussed in the book is rooted in holistic considerations at the speed of need, where context, meaning, and purpose are important in order to design and facilitate educational experiences. Such principles reflect the openness of playful and gameful practices that encourage participation, exploration, and experimentation. Hybrid education favours learning experiences that are configured as and when it is needed for supporting the learners’ growth in their learning process, opening up opportunities for the different modalities of games and game-like experiences to be applied in an educational context that crosses formality, spatial, and temporal boundaries.
The inspirations came from years of exploring empathic and experiential game-based learning design practices. As educators, we need to place more emphasis on learning experiences that subsequently enable outcomes to be achieved in the learning context, space, and process.
“Learning experience situates new methodology, pedagogy, and technology in context” Arnab (2020, p. 4).
We can definitely learn from games and gameplay – inspirations that can help us develop engaging active experiences that facilitate meaningful application, reflection, and consolidation of knowledge, competencies, and capabilities.
“Games and gameplay provide insights into the mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics of engagement and participation in experiences that encourage learners to act, make decisions and reflect, nurturing a lifelong learning practice that will guide them in future inquiries” Arnab (2020, preface).
The use of games and gameplay in education also extends to the use of the game design and making process as an educational practice. Designing and creating games and game-like systems, as an activity on the edge of diverse disciplines, is a fertile ground to cultivate creative and innovative mind-sets, providing space for learners to learn how to fruitfully cooperate.
However, as gaming technology evolves, we may get very excited and highly driven by new opportunities to leverage our didactics and content on the next trendy development. There is nothing wrong with this at all. However, there is a need for a hybrid approach for focusing on what experience would best benefit the learners as well as the educators – also previously emphasised in a 2015 post (and various others).
The book is also inspired by the need to open up education through the practice of contextual, situated, and experiential learning. How do we contextualise such access to education, situate the learning, and scaffold/facilitate a learning journey towards encouraging learners to be more intentional in their educational journey, while expecting incidental learning to happen in the process? What can we learn from the practice of games and gameplay as well as game designing and making? How do we map pedagogical constructs against game elements and motivational aspects? All these questions are explored throughout this book with the aim to help us formulate our own process, methodologies, and principles when it comes to configuring educational experiences that are informed by the engaging characteristics and aspects of games.
In my future posts, I will reveal some insights into what I mean by hybrid learning spaces and why are spaces important in our teaching and learning practices.
How to cite the book:
Arnab, S. (2020). Game Science in Hybrid Learning Spaces. (1 ed.) (Digital Games, Simulation and Learning; No. 6). NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
“This book provides valuable insights and discussions into the engaging and pervasive nature of games and gameplay, and how hybrid education that breaks the barriers of space and time can benefit from the science and practice of games – i.e. the use of games as instruments for teaching and learning and also the use of game creation as a hybrid educational process.” Ian Livingstone, CBE (Arnab, 2020, Foreword)
Where to purchase the book (amongst others…):