Teaching Strategies - Video Game Strategies: GLLS 2008

In preparing for GLLS 2008 in Chicago this coming week, I'm putting the finishing touches on a number of projects.  One of which is a workshop on applying gaming strategies into library instruction.  Much of the content comes from James Paul Gee's work and from the Games Summit conducted by the Federation of American Scientists.

Below is part of the resource handout that we are providing to the attendees to head back to their classrooms and incorporate these strategies.


The student is the player.            The game is our classroom.

       Clear goals: Successful games have a clear set of goals, the path to those goals may not always be clear, but the end product, the success is.

-          Well – Ordered Problems: Games build on previous skills and demand players string these together to solve the current problem and advance.  Games use ordered problems to scaffold the player’s learning, introducing new skills and building on previous ones.

      System Thinking: Games help players learn how items and situations fit together and what their relationship is.  Facts are not isolated, but connected to a larger objective.

       Practice of skills: Games allow players to actively use whatever skill set the player must master in order to be successful.

      Interaction: The experience is not passive, players are continuously interacting with the interface and content.  Games players are hands on learners.

      Production : Players do not simply create an end product, but add to and modify the game as they experience it.

      Situated Meaning: Skills are not learned in a vacuum.  Players understand the meaning of the skills and facts they learn through the context of the game.  A skill is useful and relevant when it is connected to a context the player understands.

       Monitored practice: Games create an environment filled with support structures for players to practice their skills.

      Performance before Competence: Players begin using their skills before they have finished instruction on them.  Mastery comes through experience not through tutorials.

       Continuous feedback: As players practice and apply skills, systems are in place to provide information about how the player is doing, what is working, and what could be improved on.

      Cross Functional Teams:  Feedback can come from peers working together.  Often this collaboration is important to the players’ overall success.

       Individual adjustment: Experiences are not static.  Gameplay, objectives, challenges, and tutorials all can adapt to meet the player at their ability level and adjust as the player grows.

      Explore, Think, Rethink:  Players define their information needs, seek them out in the game, and evaluate the success of their progress.  Players continually make adjustments based on the feedback they receive and their own reflection.

       Multiple routes: There is not one right path or correct answer, but a variety of ways that an objective can be met.

o   Just in Time: The introduction and instruction of new skills comes at the point of need.  Skills are provided when the situation is meaningful rather than upfront.

-          Motivation: There is a driving force or desire for the player to continue to move forward.

      Pleasantly Frustrating:  Objectives and challenges are just on the edge of a players abilities.  The players know it is achievable and enjoys the process of reaching the solution.

      Agency: A game creates a sense of ownership in the player.  The player is invested in the game and feels a sense of responsibility for the outcome.

       Personalization: Games give the player the ability to create and shape the characters and the world of the game.  This individualization engages the player through a strong sense of self.

      Identity: Games that allow players to create a unique self create a personal investment from the player.  They can relate to the game characters and can about their actions.

       Infinite patience:  Games encourage players to take risk.  Even if the action is incorrect, the results of failure are not punishing, but encouraging.