For the last week, they note that there are lots of types of games that are supposedly “serious” i.e. aimed at serious purposes. In the history, the longest running example are wargames, but there are also “tycoon” games that are about business simulations. However, the largest sub-genre are education games, such as the Oregon Trail or Carmen Sandiego. Over time, the educational starter series have moved into mobile apps, virtual environment, and training simulations.
Stepping back from the genre, I can see how they are dividing things. For example, there are:
– games used in instruction, where the game is an added medium (for processes or procedures); or,
– other games are used as a construction tool, and thus the game empowers the learning style of the individual student (explore and discover).
Games often have to walk a fine line between learning and fun/engagement, but while constructionist tools are often more “fun”, they are also ripe to be subverted by emergent play.
In order to keep players playing, games frequently use:
- Decay (daily obligations and no way to pause);
- Sweetening/achievements (the achievements are shared publicly to encourage competition);
- Object rarity (often with luck and play time); and,
- Social obligation/activation (gift-giving and reciprocity).
The last video is probably the launching point for future learning that interested me the most from the start — gamification. Namely, the idea of using ideas such as game mechanics in non-game situations. The course concludes with Qs about how to gamify the course — such as course badges, increase use of avatar creator, etc. but I had hoped for a bit more.
And with that, the MOOC finished.