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  • Informal Learning: Games and the Life Cycle of a JobSaul Carliner, PhD, CTDPGraduate Program in Educational TechnologyConcordia UniversityMontreal, Quebecsaulcarliner@hotmail.comFor a copy of the slides, visit http://informallearningbasics.wordpress.com

    Copyright. Saul Carliner, 2010-2012. All rights reserved.

  • QuestionWhat do you hope to learn from this presentation?

  • ObjectivesMatch generalized learning needs with the phases in the life cycle of a job.At each phase, assess the extent to which that learning occurs formally.Describe how games and similar activities can support workers in achieving learning needs through informal learning.

  • Lets go into conceptual design mode.Break into small groups.As a group, discuss the design scenarios.One at a time:Consider:Should you use games or simulations to achieve the objectives?If yes, how would you use games or simulations?Then, we will discuss thescenario.

  • Situation OneYou are preparing orientation for new employees in the New Product Research and Development division of a medical device manufacturer (which is heavily regulated by governments and industry associations). You have specifically been asked to develop an overview whose objectives are:Describe the research and development processDescribe the key products produced by this division.Recall 75 common acronyms used in daily operations.

    Should you use games or simulations to achieve the objectives?If yes, how would you use games or simulations?Would learners use these resources in formal training programs or more independently?

  • Now, lets debrief.Well discuss a scenario.Then Ill present some relevant concepts.

  • Different phases in the life-cycle of a job demand different approaches to learning.

    Phases in the Life Cycle of a JobOrient workers to the technical aspects of a jobOrient workers to the values and culture of the groupExpand the scope of assignments a worker can handleBuild workers proficiencyHelp workers deal with undocu-mented problemsUpdate workers skills Help workers choose career goalsPrepare workers for the next jobPrepare workers for a change in policies, processes, or technology.

  • Consider the challenges and opportunities in orientation.Two types of orientation.Initial training focuses on lower-order thinking skills so workers have a basis of knowledge for considering higher-order skills. Some regulators require testing of basic knowledge.Scheduling challenges compromize effectiveness.

    Phases in the Life Cycle of a JobOrient workers to the technical aspects of a jobOrient workers to the values and culture of the group

  • What opportunities might exist for integrating games and simulations at these phases?

    Orientation to the jobOrientation to the organization??

  • Consider some learning issues. Lets start with definitions.

  • Lets start with basic terms.Simulation: Model of the key characteristics of an environment.Game: A type of interaction in which learners experience the consequences of their actions.Gaming-simulation: An activity conducted in a model of the key characteristics of an environment and in which learners experience the consequences of their actions. Greenblatt

  • Some fundamental characteristics of games from which people learn.GoalChallenge Flow

  • Consider this issue.Would learners use these resources in formal training programs or more independently?

  • Informal learning involves learner control over aspects of:Colley, H., Hodkinson, P., & Malcolm, J. (2003). Wihak (2009)

    Process (who controls and assesses the learning process)Location (intended for learning)

    Purpose (is learning is a primary or secondary goal)Content (abstract or technical, or related to a practical, everyday skill)Consciousness (awareness that learning occurred)

  • Economics, technology, and research evidence drive current interest in informal learning.Studies show that 56% of work-related learning occurs outside of formal contexts (Conference Board, 2009)Organizations are reducing training expenditures (Carliner & Bakir 2010) and shifting expenses. Belief that informal learning processes can be harnessed for learningThe Internet has generated hybrid forms of content that serve many purposes, including learning

  • Some of the propositions regarding games suggest one of their key benefits is in informal learning.Examples:Learning strategy through repeated trial-and-error efforts.Increased time on task with optional tasks as a result of higher engagement.

  • Terminology Easily Confuses

    Common TermsWhat They Refer toFormal learningClassroom instructionDiploma- and degree programsCertification programsCertificate programsInformal learningPrograms in which learners define the objectives and determine when they have achieved them.Self-study programs with or without a stated goalPrograms offered by arts organizationsFormally structured programs, but outside of a school structure and with no formal recognition at the endNonformal learningPrograms offered by arts organizationsFormally structured programs, but outside of a school structure and with no formal recognition at the endAccidental learning in non-learning contextsIncidental learningAccidental learning in non-learning contextsSelf-directed learningSelf-study programs aiming towards a goal (usually overseen by a tutor and formalized with a contract) Ubiquitous learningAlways available learning, especially through social media and mobile devices(If you observe duplication, its not an accident.)

  • For Our Discussion

    TermUseFormal learningInstruction in which the instructor or some similar expert sets the objectives and determine the requirements for successful completionInformal learning(Applies only to the workplace.) Instruction in which some combination of process, purpose, location, content, and consciousness are determined by learners.Nonformal learningLearning that happens incidentally, accidental learning in non-learning contextsIncidental learningSame as nonformal learningSelf-directed learningSelf-study programs aiming towards a goal (usually overseen by a tutor and formalized with a contract)

  • So what opportunities exist for integrating games and simulations?

    Orientation to the jobOrientation to the organizationTo what extent can these activities facilitate acquisition and recall of basic concepts, policies, and procedures?To what extent can these activities promote independence and engagement in learning when the need for feedback, reassurance are high, but so is the motivation to learn?To what extent do you want to use mediated interactions? What messages do these convey?To what extent can these activities facilitate communication in awkward situations?

  • Consider these examples.

    Orientation to the jobOrientation to the organizationPower Hour Challenge: Retailer provides new workers with a simulated work environment in which they have to serve a particular number of customers and provide them with the correct service (as defined by a protocol) within a given time period. Retailer: Turning introductions into a series of challenges for which participants receive badges. When learners receive all of the badges within an established time frame, they receive a special prize.

  • Situation TwoYou have been asked to develop resources that help assistant managers of a clothing chain who have satisfactorily passed the 3-month probation expand their range of responsibilities. The resources should achieve these objectives:Given a report providing information on recent sales and projected shopping trends, order merchandise for the store. Given a list of the 50 most common types of customer situations, autonomously handle situations 16 through 50. (The mastered situations 1 through 15 in basic training.)Autonomously handle shoplifting and credit card fraud.Should you use games or simulations to achieve the objectives?If yes, how would you use games or gaming-simulations?

  • Learning at later phases.Learning needs increasingly individualized. Learning typically falls into two categories:Handling less common and more complex situationsHandling basic tasks more efficientlyResearch suggests less likely to participate in formal learning Much learning occurs occurs independently.

    Phases in the Life Cycle of a Job Expand the scope of assignments a worker can handleBuild workers proficiency

  • Would learners use these resources in formal or informal learning efforts?

  • Consider some more learning issues.When people learn informally, it happens somewhat haphazardly. Several challenges exist.

  • Challenge 1: Informal learners tend to learn on their own schedule (but games tend tospeed things up).Time)toperfor-mance

    NoneExtensiveExtent of intervention

  • Challenge 2: Informal learning is often less applied than formal learning. Research suggests that:Informal learners often focus on topics of interest to themand avoid ones with little or no interest. Without external incentives, many learners: Start self-study programs without finishing themFail to identify the take-away messages of a learning program

  • Challenge 2. Lacking context, informal learners might reach incomplete or incorrect conclusions that need unlearning.

    The McDonalds Hamburger Makers

  • As a result, debriefings play a central role in clarifying the learning from games.Facilitating a debriefing informally almost contradicts its nature.Interactions with other players through discussion boards.But some teachable moments exist:HintsRevealing the score

  • So what opportunities exist for integrating games and simulations at the