Dumb-it-down OR not: Content complexity in edu-game design!

Dumb-it-down OR not: Content complexity in edu-game design!

Rajiv Vaid Basaiawmoit, Head of Sci-Tech Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Arhus UniversityGAMES / INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

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Games are increasingly being used to deliver educational content in a more engaging manner. However, educational games, as opposed to say entertainment games, have an added imperative to infuse learning content along with game and engagement content. This brings forth an interesting challenge as to “how much” content should one load onto a game without the game losing its meaning and its efficacy as a game. Related to the how much question is the “how complex” element. I often use games and gamification (gamification being separate from games) as a tool to overcome tough pedagogical challenges or to scale complexity of tough-to-teach topics – i.e. use games as a vehicle to onboard students to topics that are presumed complex or boring. Using cases from games that I have designed (includes board games, digital games, escape room games and process gamification examples), I will share the challenges and travails of content scaling in the game design process. In doing so, I will address a thought that should be in every educator’s mind – should I or should I not dumb-down my learning content. What are the Pros and cons of this and why we should we use game design more effectively to avoid dumbing-down content too much.

Attendee Benefits

The audience will learn about the challenges of implementing game based learning initiatives from a content/complexity perspective. Often educators, expect a game to solve a problem for them. However, any game irrespective of how engaging it looks or plays runs the risk of distracting pupils/players from the learning objectives if the learning objectives are not crystallized early on in the design process. Secondly, when setting up these goals, educators who practice game design themselves or work together with game design providers (target audience is both), run the risk of either reducing the complexity too much at the cost of loss of learning objectives or loading too much content that the game loses meaning for the pupils/players it is supposed to engaged. This is a relevant question for both aspiring as well as experienced game designers in the educational space. This talk will serve as an inspiration for scholarly debate between these groups and hopefully lead to some interesting take aways such as what is "too-much" content and what is not. It will also address the question - should we be wary of complexity or embrace it and use games to solve some of the content complexity challenges by spending more time in scaling complexity appropriately.

Tue 12:00 am - 12:00 am
GAME / INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN, HIGHER EDUCATION