What Makes an Immersive Educational Game more than just a game?

Andre Thomas in EmergingEdTech writes an article that asks the question of the title.  He answers by pointing out the research in on how games (video games in this instance) “make people better learners.”  But, he notes that “not all games are created equal,” and it takes a highly developed design sense to bring an effective immersive game to fruition.  He states that “research, collaboration, and thorough testing are essential to designing the highest quality gamified learning experiences.”  Along the way Andre delves into how each of these three concepts should be effectively applied in this endeavor.

Andrea is from Triseum, a company that designs and distributes game based leaning online games.  Their most famous creation is an interactive world called Variant: Limits,  a rich 3D gaming experience that seeks to allow students to master abstract concepts in calculus.   In this article he highlights the most recent Triseum creation, an online art history game called Arte:Mercenas in which “students assume the role of a Medici and balance relationships with powerful city-states, merchant factions and the Catholic Church or risk excommunication, exile and bankruptcy.”   He writes about how concept art, game design, and multiple rounds of prototype and play testing try to ensure a true immersive and engaging experience for students.

It is clear that Andre is flouting the stellar reviews of the games produced by Triseum.  But, he also rightly points out the up and coming potential of game-based learning and the industry that is growing up to produce and promote it.  Andre notes that the “game-based learning market is estimated to reach $8.1 billion by 2022.”  To be sure this represents only the online market share.   Analog immersive games are generally overlooked by this industry.  But, I suspect that these lower tech, lower cost versions will be, by their very nature,  the silent majority that floods the education and training spheres behind the tidal wave of their digital cousins.

Link to the article reviewed:
What makes an immersive education game more than just a game
EmegingEdTech
October 18, 2017

This post is cross-posted to Interactive Engagement Research Society

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