Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Designing emergent collaboration: lessons from games design

Having written about what learning design has to learn from games design, I've just read an extraordinary account of the development of an extraordinary game, which has something to teach everyone concerned with collaborative learning activity.
The game, called Journey, has already created something of a sensation. Visually powerful, wordless and emotionally intense, it was specifically intended to be a co-operative experience, allowing simultaneous players linked through the PlayStation online network (it's only available for PlayStation, unfortunately) to meet (though not talk) and help each other.
One reviewer's account of playing the game is here. And the designer's account of developing the game is here. What's interesting from the learning design point of view is the repeated playtesting, to check how players were responding to each other the game environment, and the tweaking of the game rules, so that the cooperative and trusting behaviour they wanted the game to afford was positively encouraged.

Later addition. To spell out the take-away point for learning design: if you're designing a collaborative or cooperative group activity, the most important thing to clarify and specify is what kinds of interactions you want there to be between the learners - and then design the task accordingly, and check that those are the interactions which actually happen.

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