I’ve been reading lot’s recently about “serious games” for e-learning and to date I haven’t read anyone who has hit the mark on what makes games work and how games would be applied to e-learning.
So far people seem overly hooked on big, immersive, high-end graphic based games such as Tomb Raider, and for those of you who have seen the latest incarnation of Tomb Raider you know that this means a fairly powerful graphics system to display, tons of development time from a huge staff, and bags of cash. Quite rightly these people identify the fact that this just wouldn’t work in e-learning.
Yet they’re missing the point. The gaming doesn’t need to be this kind of first person based game. In fact some incredibly popular games for the new XBox 360 platform are based on games that they were around with the first few generations of computers.
So why are these commentators stuck on such high-end solutions? Perhaps it’s the money they can make in developing them?
I’ve been a huge fan of the game Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30. For those of you who don’t know it’s a game that puts you in the shoes of a soldier dropped in France on D-Day. As he gathers stragglers and gets together his team he finds command points and carries through a series of missions based on actual events.
The game is a first person shooter. That means you are looking through the eyes of the soldier and are shooting enemies. There’s a bit more to it than that though as you command up to two squads, one suppression team and one attack team. They have various equipment and tactics depending on which team they belong to, and they behave quite intelligently too.
It’s interesting that I’ve been thinking of this topic for some time and realised that it will never properly work in the wide open World of the Internet, for there is no social self-control for people, they can shout, abuse others, scream like a child, and do all the socially taboo things that just aren’t done in public. There is no control over these people in the Internet apart from enforced third part censorship. Therefore social bookmarking, as I’ve written about before, becomes a select group’s sanctioned favourites, allowing the rest of the Internet to vote on them.
However in an organisation where social self-control is present throughout every action, even with employees hidden behind the keyboard and screen of a computer. At all times the corporate responsibility is close to the forefront of the employees mind, and therefore no matter what the media or content, they remain socially acceptable and self-controlled.
This means that the Organisation is ideal for such collaborative concepts as wikis, blogs, discussion groups, instant messaging and social bookmarking.
Everyone in the know in e-learning is banding around the m-learning buzzword as much as they are that phrase 2.0 (with anything chucked on at the beginning), and they’re not thinking about the best solution for both the learner and provider, nor are they thinking broadly enough. They are caught up in the latest fad and not thinking long term.
M-learning is used to talk about learning content delivered to mobile phones and handheld devices, hence the use of the ‘m’ in m-learning, gettit? It’s mobile, that’s the ‘m’. Yes very clever but wait just a moment. M-learning is a waste of money.
Unbelievably the Kineo, the e-consultancy that interviewed me just the other day, have actually posted the interview online. Frankly I’m stunned, genuinely.
After I had finished the interview I thought how much I had rambled on, wandered off topic and not to mention the amount of things I thought of afterwards. “Damn, I wish I had said that!”, my entire mind map went out the window as soon as I started stalking!
I’m sitting here taking a well deserved break from film writing and site marketing, things I’ve been doing manically for the past week and a half, and enjoying a nice Balvenie. It’s not just to take a break from Filmstalker mind you, it’s also to recover from being interviewed on e-learning futures.
Well, when I say interviewed, I think I more rambled off topic and ranted about many things under the sun, with the agenda going out the window in the first few minutes…but interviewed none the less.
At work I’m an e-learning Technical Consultant, if no one had guessed. I’m being bundled into learning Technical Consultant, but that’s just semantics. The e part of the e-learning means electronic, and that relates to any learning based on some form of technology, so that’s pretty much covering all the good stuff anyway.
For the past year and a half I’ve been writing the definitive document which can be passed to any e-learning Development Company to enable them to develop, build, test and upload learning to our LMS with the minimum of involvement from anyone technical from our Company. This isn’t to save me work, but to ensure e-learning projects run smoothly, without issue, and that the Development Companies can deliver e-learning quickly, efficiently and cost effectively, with the minimum of versions, testing and bugs.
Well now I’ve finished, version 2.1 has now been adopted as our Group Standards (and that’s a huge worldwide audience), and here’s the content.
What are you doing right now? You’re learning. You’re reading my Blog and learning something. Okay I won’t vouch for the educational effectiveness or the quality of the content you’re learning from, but you’re still reading about me and my views. That’s learning isn’t it?
That can so easily be applied to so many other areas of learning, and it isn’t stopping with Blogs. Communities of Expertise are, in effect, Corporate versions of Blogs. Places to share gained knowledge and experience, a place of informal learning.
For the past year I’ve been hard at work on a document called the Standards for development of e-learning. These are intended to be given to our preferred e-learning Suppliers, or to any e-learning Supplier for that matter, and allow them to create a piece of e-learning which will not only work on our LMS but also in our various environments throughout our diverse group of learners.
It’s been a lengthy process and has involved me understanding a lot of technical and business issues on our company and the Suppliers side. Some of this has included SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reusable Model) and DDA (Disability Discrimination Act), two hugely complex issues.
I’ve read a lot about Learning Management Systems, or LMS’s, of late, mainly to do with the implementation of a leading LMS system within our workplace and my addition to the project team. What has become apparent is the divide between technology and learning, and that although the divide is not necessarily with the systems and content themselves, it certainly is with the people involved. Educationalists hate the constrictive and failing technology, and technologists hate the open ended and touchiness of the Educationalists.