Thursday, June 12, 2003

Scripted Play vs. Playing a Game

Another excellent article from Stephen Downes, related to my post from yesterday:
Learning: More Than Just Knowledge

He uses two metaphors to contrast approaches to instructional design, equating traditional education with actors in a play, and introduces a game metaphor to describe a loosely structured learning environment that gives learners control over how to achieve their desired outcomes. Brilliant!

"In a play, the only indication of success is adherence to the role, in other words, remembering your lines. Placing a student into a play is, therefore, nothing more than a fancy way of making that student memorize facts and perform by rote: just the sort of pedagogy we thought we could overcome with modern information and communication technology.

In a game, however, there is no fixed script. The student must actively decide what to do at any given time. And these decisions have consequences, as the game has various possible outcomes (usually characterized as ‘win’ or ‘lose’, though many more sophisticated scoring systems are possible). In a play, the use of a learning object or resource is by direction, just as it would be in a classroom under a teacher’s instruction. But in a game, the use of a learning resource is motivated by a desire to obtain a successful outcome, and such a motivated use is more likely to be an active use."

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