Amory's Game Object Model: GOM

Amory, A. (2007). Game object model version II: A theoretical framework for educational game development. Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(1):51-77.

The Game Object Model (GOM) explores the concept that educational games should be: relevant, explorative, emotive, engaging, and include complex challenges - all with authentic learning activities.

While the core of a game's learning process comes from the puzzles and quests within the game, their needs to be reflection and discussion about the process and the knowledge gained through play. I read Amory’s article on the flight to GLLS 2007, but I sat on it thinking of applications for libraries using video games and gamed based strategies. Before discussing the changes with version two, it is useful for a discussion of the first GOM developed by Amory in 1999.

Components of the first GOM:

  • Game Space - Play, Exploration, Challenges, Engagement
  • These are the core elements of a game identified by both game designers and game-based researchers. Games, both commercial and educational, use these to keep the player moving through the game. These components are not only important to maintain the interest of a player, they are important in maintaining the interest of our students as well. I experienced the success of creating these "game spaces" within traditional information literacy sessions. Using videogames in education and information literacy provides a wide variety of options to create these "game spaces." We should be planning and working to incorporate these elements within our classrooms.
    • Visualization Space - Critical thinking, discovery, goal formation, goal completion, competition, Practice, story-line
    • The visualization of the game addresses the physical and emotion experience the player goes through during the game. Most of these components are rooted in traditional educational theory. Creating (forming) goals, developing a process to reach them, completing them is standard for many process based issues (this includes the ACRL Information Competency Standards). I've briefly addressed critical thinking theory and video games before here and here. The success of competition within education is a mixed bag of blessings and curses that depends on a variety of factors (including the nature of participants and the result of the competition). The opportunities for successful practice is integrated in almost any lesson (whether written, oral of physical) the need to practice these skills to develop them is evident.
      • Elements Space - Fun, graphics, sounds, technology
      • Here are the gameplay elements within the GOM. How does the game play? Is it fun? Do the graphics engage the user? Do the graphics represent realism or are they stylized? Do the sounds help create an engaging experience or do they pull the player out of the game. Is the technology a help or hindrance for the player? These same questions can be raised in our lesson planning as well as in game-based learning. Are we incorporating fun, Engaging (yet not distracting) graphics, sounds that complement the experience, and technology for the benefit of our students (not just technology for technology's sake)? These elements can be implemented in a variety of setting (game-based and traditional) and see the benefits.
        • Actors Space - Drama, interaction, gestures
        • The physical actions and reactions of the players and students involved. How are students interacting with each other during gameplay and the lesson? Depending upon the physical demands of video game system, the way a player interacts with the game allows for additional requirements in this category.
    • Problem Space
      • Communications - Reading, writing, speaking
      • Communication in some form is required in every classroom interaction. Communication, successful communication, happens often in a game without the player thinking about it. Reading, writing, and oral communication are important for both the success of a game and traditional lessons. This communication is not simply between player and game, but student and teacher and student to student peer relationships as well.
      • Literacy - Visual, Logical, mathematical, computational
      • Here is where many traditional educational skills & standards (libraries, education, subject discipline) would be inserted into the GOM.
      • Memory - Short-term, Long-term
      • Some skill sets are intended and reinforced for success for game play and studying in the short team. There may be specific skills in the video game that are intended only for the short term (a new attack or item to reach a new location / enemy). Long-term memory needs prepare the player not only for a specific action, they the player to understand the game. Traditional lessons have similar requirements: short term retention for specifics staged assignments and tasks; long term retention for the content, facts, analysis of the subject specific discipline.
      • Motor - Manipulation, Reflex
      • Here are the physical movements required by the game and lesson. What actions and movements are required? A consideration to those with physical disabilities can be considered here.
The GOM provides a potential set of guidelines for developing educational games. The components of the GOM while designed for educational video games, may actually work for traditional lessons as well. This is an application I will come back to in future posts.

Next… I’ll look at the changes made to the GOM II.

I started this post on Thursday night, but since I fell asleeeeeeeeeeeeeeep at the computer 2 nights in a row, I decided to wait until later to complete it... for the benefit of all involved.