Developing a learning game in a day

It has been a while since the last blog post,  sorry!

Many people will know that we have a set up an innovative project with the computer games art degree at Norwich University College of the Arts. In the current academic year we have decided to build on the success of the first year and run a series of student workshops.

In November we held the first workshop called building a game in a day. We are currently developing a series of lone worker protection courses and decided to use a real-life brief with the students. They had to develop the story, narrative, learning objectives and decide upon the audience for their resource before spending the afternoon building a sample module.

At the end of the day each of the student groups has to present their finished game module and also their documentation. I was hugely impressed with the manner in which the students took to the challenge. Some of the game ideas and concepts that were presented were excellent and could easily be used in a commercial project.

To support the students I enlisted the help of Sam, George and Shaun (last year’s work placement students) who provided expert software and also offered a critical eye. Anthony and I provided commercial and project management advice and an insight into what potential clients might be looking for.

The workshop was a great success with 10 excellent game modules being developed, with one group producing 4 example games. From my perspective it was interesting to see how the games design students pushed the software and also came up with new concepts and ideas that we might not have thought of. We are continuing to use computer games designers on our elearning projects and this workshop only helped to re-inforce my belief that they make an excellent addition to our team.

It was interesting to view the different creative processes that each of the groups had. We provided some rough timings and ideas but it was largely left to the students to organise themselves and their time. It was interesting to see how they all started to sketch out design ideas and process flow maps for how the game might work. It is clear to me that game design and instructional design share many principles and once we had introduced the students to the concept of learning objectives they were able to incorporate them into their design.

In December I was able to share my thoughts on the workshop with members of the Association of Learning Technology and the eLearning network during a webinar on serious games that I was presenting.

For more information on the workshop you can read an article that was featured in the Norwich evening news.

Scott

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