Yesterday I wrote about four semester's worth of a review activity using video game strategies. Since I've finally finished up some edits and corrections to my ACRL Gaming & Academic Libraries chapter, I wanted to share part of the chapter discussing this activity. I've had a few questions about the basics of the activity - hopefully this is useful.
The lesson applied the gaming strategies of encouraging inquiry, open-ended exploration, context bridging, scaffolding, and personalization. The students in the course were grouped and given a research question that asked them to find a source within a given format (book, article, website; print or online). The goals worked to motivate the groups and kept them working toward the objective. The students quickly ran through the search process to reach the goal, a logical action within the context of games. Given the specific goal, the students worked to reach that goal in order to complete the challenge as quickly as possible. The challenge the librarians faced was to ask questions of the students and expose their search process more. The video game strategies were effective for engaging the students in discussions about why they took the search path they did. The librarians used a rubric to assess the students’ discussion of how they reached their research source. When asked, the students explained the search choices they made and provided examples that met the rubric.
The lesson incorporated gaming strategies to provide an open-ended exercise and allowed students to explore and find their own way. The students were initially challenged by how to get started with this open-ended lesson. The initial session did not clearly define the learning goals, and because of the large degree of personal exploration the lesson encouraged, the students struggled to get started in the activity. The successive attempts at the lesson provided the students with a framework for the activity. By foreshadowing the lesson a little more, each group was much more willing to dive into the activity, explore the search, and complete the goal. The initial setup of some framework not only allowed the students the confidence to jump in and get started but also created more buy-in and motivation for the overall activity.