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The Knowledge Lab ‘learning in online games’ experiment From The Online Game Experiment, part of the project Digital Technologies and Game Formats: Computer.

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Presentation on theme: "The Knowledge Lab ‘learning in online games’ experiment From The Online Game Experiment, part of the project Digital Technologies and Game Formats: Computer."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Knowledge Lab ‘learning in online games’ experiment From The Online Game Experiment, part of the project Digital Technologies and Game Formats: Computer Games, Motivation and Gender in Educational Contexts. Research: Diane Carr Supported by the Eduserv Foundation. All screenshots taken in World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment Inc.

2 Learning theorists from the Knowledge Lab volunteered to play an online multiplayer game. Each nominated a particular theory to test in the (virtual) field. This activity was designed to raise questions about online gaming and the applicability of particular theories - and ‘participatory’ methodologies.

3 To find people I put a general invite out on the Knowledge Lab mailing/info list… The volunteers? Andrew Burn Carey Jewitt Diana Laurillard Martin Oliver Caroline Pelletier Kevin Walker

4 And their selected theories were Multi-modality & activity theory conversational frameworks ‘Learning maps’ Communities of practice, experiential learning Semiotics of play Vygotsky and ‘modes of play’

5 The experiment Open and exploratory piece of research. Arranged access to the game for 6 volunteers, beginning from mid Some of us played for two hours. Some of us are still playing. Initial questionnaire: volunteers’ expectations of the game. Volunteers also kept a game diary from their earliest sessions in the game - about their expectations and experiences in World of Warcraft. We met twice for sessions in the game world (in character, and not always knowing ‘who was who’). Participants were interviewed after each of these play sessions. I kept a /chatlog of these play sessions plus screenshots

6 Play sessions (screenshots taken in World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment Inc.)

7 Questions I asked the participants during the research About expectations met – or confounded. Logistics (technology, access) Group dynamics – recognition and misrecognition within the group Perceptions of character (were you acting ‘in role’ – was anybody in the group acting a role?) Perceptions of expertise within the group (‘How can you tell a good player from a beginner?’) Group dynamics (‘who was the leader? Was there a leader?)

8 Findings? Multiple ways to access and actualise the game – there is not ‘one curriculum’ Different critical or authoritative ‘voices’ or ‘addressers’ within the game – that will be ignored or prioritised in different ways by users (although, of course) progressing through the game does entail adopting particular strategies, and this becomes more apparent at higher levels) Disguise and ‘role play’ are interesting to consider in relation to these voices (in terms of power and group dynamics for example) The game was both easier and much more complicated than the volunteers had expected. Easier in a technical sense (off and running in the game world). Trickier in terms of multi-tasking and social factors. Clearly (as elsewhere) there’s a need to devise ‘context sensitive’ methodologies – and ‘hands on’ playing and learning by researchers in the game would seem to be a prerequisite for this. The variability of the game - and of the volunteers’ experiences in the game - raises questions about what you might call a ‘constellation effect’ in online games and learning research (i.e. given infinite dots, I can make any picture). To put it another way: How I define learning will impact on what I go looking for in the game, and how I go looking for it.

9 Next, player-volunteers Martin Oliver, Kevin Walker and Andrew Burn Report on World of Warcraft


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