Game-based intervention design meets Design Thinking


It was a great pleasure to run a one-day workshop with Daniel Meusburger with the University of Munich on 6th May 2017. A weekend well spent.

The workshop merged the transdisciplinary considerations for game-based intervention design and the design thinking methodology for empowering non-game designers to design their own playful and gameful strategies. The participants are involved in psychology and clinical research within the context of interventions for children with learning disorders. And this is part of their project for developing digital and online hub for supporting children and professionals, such as teachers, parents, support workers, etc. Picture1

This calls for a methodology with rigour that will ensure that the change objectives and measures intended for the proposed intervention programme are emphasised in the design process. The specific slide deck for the transdisciplinary approach is shared below. And you can read more here.

The group achieved first iteration of their design for interventions related to learning disorders and it is my hope that they will adopt and adapt the approach to develop programmes that will be implemented.

 

 

#playingforreal #gamification levels


Referring back to my post on the ErasmusPlus project, I’m currently writing a report on what we have learnt from the experience of using non-digital gamification for engaging unemployed adults from the different EU countries. Based on the levels briefly mentioned in my last post, please see below the descriptions of each of them (ErasmusPlus Gamification for the Hard-to-Reach project, 2015). The full taxonomy and template will be released and shared on the project’s online hub. Special acknowledgement to the project team, especially Jan Gejel, Oscar Garcia Panella and Alex Ando.

Level 1 Icebreaker gameplay: Getting to know each other and start playing together in teams
This level aims to create a relaxed and convivial atmosphere among participants who probably are nervous and who don’t know each other. However, we also want to convey some key messages: we need to realise that we are becoming part of an exciting and challenging journey, where we need to question previous mind patterns and face some of our ingrained prejudices and views of how things are done “traditionally” in order to break with the past and move to new way of approaching issues. The game demonstrates that taboos can be faced and challenged and it manages to trace a fine line between surprise and shock (positive) and upset and disgust (negative), showing that there are many ways of reacting and that critical thinking is a key element. But – most of all – the gaming indicates that it is also important to have FUN!

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel comfortable with the team and I have decided to continue to participate”

Level 2 Listening to anger gameplay: Identifying, listening to and channeling one’s anger to achieve his or her goals
Having (hopefully) communicated the need to let go of taboos and past constraints, we need to continue helping this process of release by allowing the participants to vent their anger and frustration as well allowing a space to voice hopes and dreams of a possible new life. The participants should be able to share their stories and tell how their experiences of joblessness have caused damage and suffering. The facilitator should encourage them to let if all out. The fun must come with a stimulating game, as the outcome could be more cathartic than amusing.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel my frustration is accepted and even appreciated and that I do not have to hide it when we work together in the team”

Level 3 Curiosity gameplay: Promoting the positive role of curiosity, element that encourages human beings towards discovery and innovation
At this point the participants have expressed and hopefully released to some extent the frustrations and anger with their current situation… It is now necessary to develop in our participants the curiosity about possible new solutions and some insight on the possible effectiveness brought on by a change of attitudes regarding their current situation. The game should be able to allow the participants to experience a shift in perspective: for instance, a role-playing game played from the point of view of an employer could give the participants a different insight and make them experience what it means to be in control.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel I can start opening up to the ideas presented in the team and also start presenting some of my own ideas and visions”

Level 4 Motivation gameplay: Building up and boosting motivation
Once the participants feel – thanks to the previous game – that they want to try new opportunities because it feels good to be in control, we need to build up and boost their motivation. So what is more motivating that trying to identify if weird things other people have done can work or not and be again surprised by what a bit of “different” thinking, ingenuity and a positive attitude can achieve? The sky is the limit (nearly) if one is resourceful and creative. This game is the first step – in a process that hopefully sees the participants moving from the position of observers to that one of protagonists – in imagining and understanding what happens to others and how something similar could happen to oneself.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel more encouraged to bring out ideas and visions that I never through I would take seriously – or that other people would take seriously. I start to enjoy this freer thinking…”

Level 5 Community gameplay: Working the community
In reality one has to take into account the fact that we are not all creative and inventive and full of initiative. “Those people we learned about in the previous game were special in some way, but I’m not like that! Where shall I get inspiration from? Where did many of the people who have succeeded in creating something new and wondrous get their inspirational flash?” Often new initiatives come to life thanks to the observation of gaps in the market: where better – therefore – to see that than in one’s local community? One needs then to look at the community through different eyes, through critical and creative lenses that are able to investigate “why are things like this?”, “is this how I really want them?”, “what could I do to improve them?” “what is missing that I could provide?” The game should help the participants observe their community and the lack or presence of resources.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel increasingly able to link my ideas, visions or possible perspectives to what is needed in the community, what other people need – or what could be a success in real life”

Level 6 Key witnesses gameplay: Real people in real action
Having acquired new tools to look at the strengths and weaknesses of one’s community and perhaps having already identified possible opportunities, what better than to play a game which lets the participant actually meet people in the local community who have taken the plunge, risked doing something on their own and now have a business which they are proud to own? The game allows one to meet such entrepreneurs, see that they actually exist and that they are normal people, ask them questions about their business and perhaps even discuss any new ideas that might have come up.

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel encouraged by working with and meeting people who have taken action in the community and tried out new directions”

Level 7 Creative projects gameplay: Building missions and projects
Having seen that real people can produce real results, we will take a step further the challenge of observing, discussing and creating. The participants, divided into groups, will engage in creating a business with the random resources the game will assigned them. The participants will play and make decisions with a set of random resources (places, people, money, objects) and will be able to change them only a little. They will have to think and create, as a team, using the “cards” the game has dealt them: after all, the next game is…real life!

LEVEL MISSION: “I feel ready to start plan and carry out real-life initiatives I wish to pursue, and I feel comfortable about the support I get from the team”

Level 8 Playing for real: What are you going to do about it?
This level is about reflecting on the experience and outcomes from the activities. The missions and projects developed in Level 7 should be taken forward into the real world. How are they going to be implemented and how realistic would this be? How can the community follow the proposed initiatives?

I will also share some videos from the practice partners working with their local groups.

Learn more about the project by looking at Stephanie’s story (Click on the image below):

0 - Intro

The Game Science team going to ECGBL 2016


game_science_placeholder-300x300The Game Science team has been carrying out various research and development in the area of game-based learning, serious gaming and gamification within the context of the experimental Disruptive Media Learning Lab. On top of providing adaptable and adoptable approaches for use at Coventry University Teaching and Learning, we are also publishing findings in peer-reviewed journals (mentioned in previous posts) and also in conferences.

In particular, this year we are targeting for our work to be presented and disseminated at the 10th European Conference in Game Based Learning (ECGBL 2016), 6-7 Oct in Paisley, Scotland, a fantastic conference to engage with key researchers in the domain.

The five papers in the conference collectively highlight findings on the impact of play and gameplay in supporting teaching and learning within formal or informal contexts:

Paper 1: ImparApp: Designing And Piloting A Game-Based Approach For Language Learning

  • Authors: Luca Morini, Koula Charitonos, Sylvester Arnab, Tiziana Cervi Wilson, Billy Brick, Tyrone Bellamy-Wood, Gaetan Van Leeuwen
  • Abstract: The paper gives an overview of the development, deployment and evaluation of ImparApp, a location-based game to support teaching and learning of Italian Language. It draws on a project currently developed at Coventry University, which examines pervasive approaches to learning and exploits game-based techniques in contextualising language learning in a more active, innovative and engaging way.

Paper 2: Competition And Collaboration Using A Social And Gamified Online Learning Platform

  • Authors: Sylvester Arnab, Roy Bhakta, Sarah Kate Merry, Mike Smith, Kam Star, Michael Duncan
  • Abstract: Gamification is defined as the use of game techniques in a non-game context and has demonstrated potential impact in a wide range of subjects. Informed by the design and processes of digital gaming, gamification often exploits competition to motivate, personified by points, badges and leader boards. Success, however, seems to go beyond these basic features and rely on a concrete acknowledgement of the motivational model of the user, taking into account concepts such as situational relevance and situated motivational affordance, which can be framed under competition and/or collaboration. This paper investigates the impact of competitive and collaborative environments on summative assessment. This study bases its investigation on the StarQuest platform (http://starquest.eu/), a social and gamified collaboration application hosting a private online environment for small groups of individuals to co-curate and share digital contents. Participants were second year undergraduate students (Sport Psychology, n=94), who enrolled on a module entitled “A Fundamental Approach to Motor Learning and Control”. The module ran for 11 weeks and the curriculum was delivered using a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach. The results highlighted a number of strengths and weaknesses of implementing a gamified online platform for team working, which will inform future design, development and deployment of gamified and learning platforms.

Paper 3: EscapED: A Framework for Creating Live-Action, Interactive Games for Higher/Further Education Learning and Soft Skills Development.

  • Authors: Samantha Clarke, Sylvester Arnab, Luca Morini , Oliver Woo, Kate Green, Alex Masters
  • Abstract: There is a rapid growing interest and demand globally, for developing and participating in live, team-based, interactive gaming experiences otherwise known as Escape Rooms. Traditionally designed to provide entertainment, Escape Rooms require its players to solve puzzles, complete tasks and work together efficiently in order to complete an overall goal such as solving a mystery or escaping the room itself. The structure of Escape Rooms and their overall growing popularity, equally amongst players of all ages and genders, indicates that the premise of interactive, live-action gaming can be adapted to develop engaging scenarios for game-based learning. The authors therefore present; EscapED, as a work in progress, case study and paradigm for creating educational Escape Rooms and Interactive Gaming Experiences aimed at staff and students in further/higher education institutions. A focus is drawn to designing and developing on-site experiences, to provide engaging alternatives for learning and soft skills development amongst higher education staff and students. A review of a prototype scenario, developed to support Coventry University staff at a teaching and learning training event is given, alongside participant’s general feedback and reactions to the overall experience and perceived educational value of EscapED. The EscapED framework is then discussed and offered as a tool to help foster a best practice approach to developing future Interactive Game-Based Learning Experiences (IGBLE). To conclude, the authors examine future needs and requirements for refining scenario design, development and iterative live-player testing, to ensure the EscapED Programme meets all educational and player engagement standards.

Paper 4: The andragogical perspectives of Older People’s interaction with digital game technologies: Game-play on gesture and touch-based platforms

  • Authors: Suriati Khartini Jali, Sylvester Arnab
  • Abstract: Due to the engaging factor of gameplay afforded by digital game technologies, the application of games is becoming a popular medium in promoting and fostering serious outcomes in domains, such as education and health. For instance, social inclusion and healthy lifestyle can be motivated and stimulated through social interaction, cognitive exercises and physical activity afforded by digital game technology. Acknowledging the potential benefits of game-play, this paper explores digital gaming from the perspectives of a specific target group – older people above the age of 55. It is essential that users or players are captivated and engaged by a game before any serious purposes/activities can be imposed. The design of most games used for both entertainment and serious purposes however focuses on the general player population, and mostly targeting a much younger population currently engaging with digital gaming. The paper thus aims to specifically investigate the correlation between the challenges associated with older people, their existing engagement with digital gaming and other interactive technologies, the andragogical perspectives and existing game design attributes. A pilot study was carried out with 14 participants. Data was collected from their interactions with and experiences of digital gaming. Questionnaires and group discussions were utilised in order to collect their feedback and perspectives on the experience. The results of our study show that there are three key findings which are; 1) the interaction types and the experience provided by the game itself, 2) the game interaction styles which is supported by the platforms and 3) gameplay interaction and challenges associated to age-related changes. These findings should be considered when considering the interaction and experience of older people for digital game design.

Paper 5: SimAULA: Creating Higher-Level Gamification, through adoption of a Learning-Objective to Game-Objective Mapping Approach.

  • Authors: Samantha Clarke, Petros Lameras, Sylvester Arnab
  • Abstract: In order to support the development and implementation of higher-level gamification in e-learning towards encouraging and sustaining player motivation and engagement, the authors present an analysis of the design and development approach to creating SimAULA; a gamified simulation for training teachers in using Inquiry-based learning (IBL) theory and practice. This study seeks to transfer an understanding of the design and creation methods of utilising a learning-objective to game-objective mapping process in which pedagogic theories are transformed into game objectives and challenges to create interesting learning experiences for players. A prototype version of SimAULA is presented alongside the method taken that informed the development considerations and choices whilst mapping pedagogic theory and learning outcomes of IBL practice to SimAULA’s design style, delivery, game mechanics and game-play features. The paper further highlights key game mechanics that have been chosen to align with the learning-objective to game-objective mapping (LO-GO) approach, in which player choice, player ownership and learning feedback play vital roles in developing higher-level gamification methods. The authors present a case for adopting a higher-level gamification approach for advancing serious games, simulations and applications through development of player choice & ownership, narrative, feedback and game metrics to create enhanced e-learning solutions. Furthermore, the design and development methodology adopted for SimAULA is transcribed to inform the LO-GO mapping approach which is presented as a recommendation to inform future research and developments of higher-level gamification approaches for e-learning.

 

Catch us at the ECGBL and say hello!

Game Science in a Hybrid Learning Space


Slide1As mentioned in one of my blog posts, I’m working on a book idea around the power of gameful and playful learning as a response to the blurring of the boundaries between digital and physical contexts and spaces as well as between formal, informal and social settings. The idea was initially conceived mid 2014 and further developed in 2015. The initial idea has also inspired part of the development of the Beaconing project concept.  

This book will essentially explore existing work, trends and impact and implication in education. Existing projects I’m involved in  and leading will inform some of my thoughts and perspectives, including Beaconing, C4Rs, GameChangers, Starquest, Imparapp, etc. I have also spoken about some elements surrounding the topic in my various keynotes. My blog posts so far also give some flavour of some of the views and perspectives that will be further explored in the book.

The book proposal has been submitted to a publisher (Routledge) and has recently been approved and a contract is being sorted out as we speak. I will provide an update on the timeline and when the book will be expected. Watch this space!

The short summary of what the book will explore is as follows (all copyrighted 2015):

Games Science in a Hybrid Learning Space

Sylvester Arnab

Disruptive Media Learning Lab

Coventry University, UK

Games Science in A hybrid Learning Space will explore the potential, implication and impact of game-based approaches and interventions in response to the opportunities, requirements and challenges motivated by the blurring of the boundaries between digital and physical as well as formal and informal (including non-formal) learning spaces and contexts. Recognition of informal learning as an extension to formal methods is an important means for promoting ‘lifelong learning for all’ and, subsequently, for reshaping learning to better match the needs of the 21st century knowledge economies and open societies. The book will build upon the concept of a hybrid learning space that aims to reduce the barriers of time and physical space in teaching and learning practices, fostering seamless, sustained and measurable learning participation and outcomes beyond the barriers of formal education and physical learning contexts. The focus on a gamified approach is inspired by the increasing use of games concepts, techniques and technology to inject more fun into everyday spaces and contexts, and the evidence of increased engagement, enhanced experience and improved learning outcomes afforded by the approach.

Games Science in A hybrid Learning Space will delve deeper into the concept of, the opportunities afforded and challenges posed by a hybrid learning space, and how the science of games and the act of gameplay can better foster and scaffold teaching and learning experience and outcomes. The book will specifically focus on the crossings of pervasive technologies, gaming and gamification. Research and development of pervasive gaming is catalysed by the proliferation of more cost-effective, robust and mobile technology, providing opportunities for context-aware educational resources to be supported and delivered within a playful context. This in turn provides the mechanism for proactive discovery and learning, offering real benefits for teaching: they enable active pedagogy through physical and contextual immersion of learners, “in situ” information while practicing within authentic context. Existing findings (such as Schmitz, et al., 2013[1]) provide evidence that the appropriate use of context information within pervasive approach directs the use and presentation of content within a game and thus influences learning effects and motivation of individual players.

Based on original research, Games Science in A Hybrid Learning Space will also establish trans-disciplinary and holistic considerations for further conceptual and empirical investigation into this topic, with the dual goals of a better understanding of the role of a pervasive game-based approach in a blended environment, and of the possible structural and cultural transformation of formal education and life-long learning. The book will conclude with a future outlook on pervasiveness in teaching and learning practices, the enabling technologies and the impact they would have in future education and lifelong learning. This book is an essential guide for researchers, designers, teachers, learners and practitioners, who want to better understand the relationship between games and learning that merges digital and physical experiences and blends formal and informal instructions.

[1] Schmitz, B., Klemke, R., & Specht, M. (2013). A Learning Outcome-Oriented Approach towards Classifying Pervasive Games for Learning using Game Design Patterns and Contextual Information. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning (IJMBL), 5(4), 59-71

Early view – marrying learning and games for #seriousgames #gamification design in #highereducation


A paper co-written with Petros Lameras and Samantha Clarke is now available online (in press) to be published by British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET):

Lameras, P., Arnab, S., Dunwell, I., Stewart, C., Clarke, S. and Petridis, P. (2016), Essential features of serious games design in higher education: Linking learning attributes to game mechanics. British Journal of Educational Technology. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12467


Abstract

This paper consolidates evidence and material from a range of specialist and disciplinary fields to provide an evidence-based review and synthesis on the design and use of serious games in higher education. Search terms identified 165 papers reporting conceptual and empirical evidence on how learning attributes and game mechanics may be planned, designed and implemented by university teachers interested in using games, which are integrated into lesson plans and orchestrated as part of a learning sequence at any scale. The findings outline the potential of classifying the links between learning attributes and game mechanics as a means to scaffold teachers’ understanding of how to perpetuate learning in optimal ways while enhancing the in-game learning experience. The findings of this paper provide a foundation for describing methods, frames and discourse around experiences of design and use of serious games, linked to methodological limitations and recommendations for further research in this area.


This paper forms part of the portfolio of work, where we are looking at serious games, GBL and gamification design and development methodology and considerations. Other papers include the transdiciplinary perspectives, SDT extensions to the LM-GM considerations, the holistic gamified design approach, etc.

#TEDxCoventryUniversity- #Gamification and #ExperienceDesign


IMG_6325The first TEDx at Coventry went pretty well I must say. Topics covered include recruitment, sustainable building, cyber security, the future of cyborg technology, films and the power of serious games and gamification. It was great to be part of the event as a speaker and share my ideas, which I hope have inspired some on the day. My talk was very much about the potential of gamification in designing the experience of a super learner. See previous blog posts: Gamification and Experience Design and Super learner in a hybrid space.

Sustaining engagement with learning within a formal context is a great challenge and on top of this, learning within an informal context is highly disconnected from the formal narrative of education. It is essential to connect different types of learning in order to contextualise the process. The use of gameful design will allow fun to be injected into the learning process and experience, which can potentially sustain long term engagement and promote retention. IMG_6334

Education as a non-linear adventure “game”, a Hero’s Journey, will allow exploratory and experiential learning to be encouraged, which will allow learners to expand their learning experience above and beyond their formal and linear education. As a designer of our own experience, we will begin to understand the context of our education and the impact it will have in the real world. In order to play the game well, we need to know how it works.

[Early View] Article on Transdisciplinary #Gamification #Seriousgames intervention development process


The Early View  version of the article I mentioned in my Sept blog post is now online ahead of the online publication of the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) journal issue.

Arnab, S. and Clarke, S. (In Press), Towards a trans-disciplinary methodology for a game-based intervention development process. British Journal of Educational Technology. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12377

In this article, we define a trans-disciplinary model for a game-based intervention development as a strategy or methodology that crosses many disciplinary boundaries to create a holistic approach. Even though a development team should ideally consist of all relevant disciplines, in reality the team would have to rely on limited resources. A more correlated methodological model derived from a transdisciplinary process could thus act as a guide to inform development considerations and process.

4DFIMThis article reflects on the considerations leading to an understanding of the trans-disciplinary perspectives of the development process. We touch on the adopted theories and frameworks from the domain of serious games, health intervention, entertainment games and pedagogy that have collectively informed the process, which include:

  • Four-Dimensional Framework (4DF) (de Freitas & Jarvis 2008)-commonly used to inform considerations for serious games evaluation and design,
  • Intervention Mapping (IM) approach (Batholomew et al. 2011)- a methodology that guides the design, implementation and evaluation of health intervention programmes,
  • Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics model (MDA) (Hunnicke et al. 2004)- a framework that acts as a guideline for entertainment game design, and
  • Learning Mechanics-Game Mechanics (LM-GM) mapping (Lim et al. 2013, Arnab et al. 2015) – the mapping of pedagogical aspects to game mechanics.

The article illustrates how existing design and development processes can be analysed and reflected upon towards documenting considerations, perspectives and methods that can be correlated and infused into a holistic methodology. This paper highlights the feasibility of infusing approaches relevant in different disciplines in order to inform the design and development of game-based intervention. Game development considerations can be deconstructed into four key dimensions using the 4DF model exploiting a participatory-driven context and learner’s profiling using the IM approach. The MDA and the LM-GM models inform the mapping of relevant pedagogical aspects against the entertainment attributes of gameplay.

The components from the different approaches when integrated formulate a trans-disciplinary model that can be adopted by other researchers, designers and developers. This paper discusses the possibility of looking at an existing design and development project and reflect on the process, considerations and decisions made, which could be used as guidelines for future development. Further work will include adoptions in other game-based learning interventions that will lead to validations of the process and adopting the same approach in analysing and reflecting on other SG design and development projects.

References

Arnab S., Lim T., Carvalho M. B., Bellotti F., de Freitas S., Louchart S., Suttie N., Berta R., De Gloria A. (2015). Mapping Learning and Game Mechanics for Serious Games Analysis, British Journal of Educational Technology, 46: 391-411 doi: 10.1111/bjet.12113

Bartholomew, L. K., Parcel, G. S., Kok, G., Gottlieb, N. H. & Fernandez, M. E. (2011). Planning health promotion programs: an intervention mapping approach (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

de Freitas,S. & Jarvis, S. (2008). Towards a development approach for serious games in Connolly,T.M., Stansfield,M., Boyle,E. (ed.) Games-based learning advancements for multi-sensory human-computer interfaces: Techniques and effective practices. Hershey: IGI Global

Hunicke, R., LeBlanc, M., Zubek, R. 2004. MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research. Proceedings of the Challenges in Game AI Workshop, Nineteenth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence.

Lim, T., Louchart, S., Suttie, N., Ritchie, J., Aylett, R., Stanescu, I. A. et al (2013). Strategies for effective digital games development and implementation. In Y. Baek & N.Whitton (Eds), Cases on digital game-based learning: methods, models, and strategies (pp. 168–198). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.