SERIOUS GAMES FOR THE CLASSROOM : A CASE STUDY OF DESIGNING AND DEVELOPING A MASSIVE MULTIPLAYER ONLINE GAME

Wilson, S., & Williams, L. (2010). Serious Games for the Classroom : A Case Study of Designing and Developing a Massive Multiplayer Online Game. In Van Eck, R. (Ed.), Interdisciplinary Models and Tools for Serious Games: Emerging Concepts and Future Directions (pp. 264-288). IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-61520-719-0.ch011

This article presents a case study of project design and development of a cross-curricular game called McLarin. Wilson and Williams (2010) aim to give theoretical framework as a foundation of the project, elaborate the framework into the design process, and describe the methodology of the project. Wilson and Williams (2010) state that the decision to focus on Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) because this kind of game may provide an opportunity for students to collaborate in a virtual world. In this study, the authors use constructivist theory for authentic learning to be underpinning theory in the design and development of the game. The methodology of the project includes several stages. The first stage is the selection of learning standard in which content experts from literacy, mathematic, science, and social studies work. The next stage is the development of the game which is done by a group of practitioners and instructional designers. In this stage, the game will be developed from the prototype until the beta test.

The significance of this study is that it provides insight into how to incorporate a cross-disciplinary learning scenario in serious games. This insight can be useful in game design context because it can support 21st-century learning which focuses on interdisciplinary practice rather than separated subject. The concept of collaborative learning in a virtual world which this study provides can also give an idea that serious games is not only about individual activities. This is related to Trespalacios and Chamberlin (2012)’s study which also tries to incorporate collaborative learning. However, the difference between both studies is that in this study, Wilson and Williams (2010) incorporate collaborative learning inside the game environment. It is also good to know that in this study, the concept of authentic learning is implemented by the storyline of the game. For example, in order to move to the next stage, players need to solve a mathematic problem. As each stage requires knowledge of different disciplines, players will learn interdisciplinary knowledge when finishing the game. 

However, the in-game collaboration among students only uses a chat system which may cause misunderstanding because of typo or the use of incomplete sentences. This study also does not provide a way to assess students performance while and after playing the game. The number of effective students who can collaborate at the same time is also not addressed in this study. I think it will be confusing when many students interact at the same time by using the chat system and will be worse if there is no moderator to manage the chatroom. Therefore, I will try to incorporate communication system in my instructional design context which allows students to communicate through voice to prevent those issues.

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