Improving Higher-Order Skills with Serious Games and Simulations
Workshop Session 2
Are you interested in integrating higher-order thinking skills into serious games and simulations? Do you find that many so-called "games” are just expensive and simple quizzes? This session will help you raise the bar with innovative techniques to get your learners thinking, analyzing, and making better decisions.
Serious games and simulations have the potential to bridge the gap between abstract concepts and real-world applications, but most efforts fall short of this lofty goal. Too often, simulations limit themselves to lower-level skills such as memorization, resulting in glorified quizzes that are expensive to produce, feel artificial, and fail to connect with real decision making. In other cases, simulations and games try to engage higher-order skills, but do so ineffectively. When games are not designed well, the decisions that get rewarded are subjective and arbitrary, leaving learners frustrated and disempowered.
This session will address this fundamental problem by:
• Identifying and modeling higher-order thinking skills that can be measured and improved by using serious games and simulations.
• Describing how to turn flat, quiz-like experiences into sophisticated, thought-provoking applications.
• Exploring how to use game design mechanics to improve learner engagement while addressing higher-order skills.
Through case studies and group work, we will uncover ways to use techniques such as badging, challenge scenarios, and working with imperfect information to accelerate past rote learning while providing a more interesting and fun learning experience. Participants will also apply a model of critical thinking to help learners identify assumptions, analyze arguments, and make better decisions.
• By identifying the higher-order thinking skills that are most important in today’s organizational environment, participants will be able to articulate better goals for serious games and sims. This will help them in the design phase, because knowing what technology needs to accomplish is always a necessary step.
• By learning techniques for measuring and improving critical thinking skills, participants will open new pathways to enhancing the skill sets of people in their organizations. Every time a decision is made, these skills make better outcomes more likely.
• Through the application of game and simulation design techniques, participants will build more effective and more engaging serious games and simulations.
Participants should have at least a basic background in the design issues surrounding serious games and simulations, but even experts will pick up innovative techniques to improve their products. No specific subject matter expertise is required. Rather, the session will identify and illustrate design principles that will be effective across disciplines.
The session will be led by Susan Schoenberg, VP of Digital Learning. Her team has decades of combined experience in interactive media and assessment and has developed over 100 role-based simulations.