This project-based course explores the process of designing and developing educational games, including issues associated with assessment, implementation and marketing. The field of learning games is rapidly growing, with interest from academics, publishers, schools and startups. But what makes a good learning game? Where do ideas come from and how do you create them? These are the questions that this course tries to answer.
The premise of learning games from some perspectives seems like a perfect and easy solution - get people to learn things they don’t want to by motivating them through game play. To others it seems like an oxymoron - if learning is hard then it can’t possibly be fun at the same time. The key to designing good learning games is to reconcile these perspectives by creating games that focus on creating environments based on “hard fun”. This idea will be a central tenet of this course.
Through six units comprising nine weeks, we will look at the evolution of educational video games and hear from experts working on many aspects of learning games from design to development to implementation. And we will help you create your own learning game and surrounding curriculum.
We’ll kickstart the course with Unit 0, a time to become familiar with the course platform and meet your peers. Unit 1 will start by taking a look at the history of the field to better understand how it has shaped present learning games. In Unit 2, we’ll dig in to the current state of the field and address some of the basics of how we learn from games and design games for learning.
In Units 3 and 4, we’ll start you down the path of developing your own learning games, talking with key practitioners and learning from their processes. We’ll also look at case studies in design and implementation of learning games, as well as some frameworks for design.
In Unit 5, we’ll look at how to integrate learning games into contemporary classrooms, as well as the relationship between games and assessments. And in Unit 6 we’ll explore how the business of learning games is developing, and where things might be headed.
In each unit, you will complete assignments that broaden your skill set and provide deep understanding of key ideas. For your culminating project, you will develop a learning game and the curriculum that goes with it. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on building community so that you can get meaningful feedback on your designs, learn from your peers, and even work collaboratively.