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What Makes a Good Learning Game?
Going beyond edutainment

By Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen / February 2011

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  • Sun, 20 Feb 2011
    Post by Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen

    This talk is more center on that previous link;

  • Sun, 20 Feb 2011
    Post by Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen

    Thanks for the comments - good learning computer games are definitely triggy to cover with an encompassing list, and this wasn't necessarily the point here. I think there is [insert number here] of elements to a good learning game. However, I still think it makes sense to bring forth the above three points, because when I look at the projects we have completed these things cut across almost any project no matter genre, scope, client, area etc. Its quite powerful to stress that you need to approach games as consisting of some more 'steady' elements (substantives) and 'moving' elements (verbs). You can use these when looking at three fundamentals that needs to work, namely motivation, integration and focus. How you reach these goals are another question, and probably worthy of at least another article if not book. In relation aesthetics I believe that to be a means to achieve motivation from a substantive point of view - its about setting an interesting, appealing and immersive experience that people want to engage with - hence being motivated. However, I do not find it crucial elements you need to have for a good learning game, and there are many other ways to make a good game than to rely on aesthetics per se although often it is a very powerful tool.

    I have been using the concepts for a lot of years, and gave a talk a few years back that entails the idea behind the concepts. You can watch it here:

  • Fri, 18 Feb 2011
    Post by Robert Becker

    Simon Egenfeldt-Nielsen's interesting essay lists only three elements of a good learning game. Why not 300?

    He knows what every child knows, that good games are rare combinations of countless elements that shouldn't be packaged in a taxonomy. We can no more define a good game than define freedom. We may approach the subject through experience, as he does, but our understanding doesn't improve with reductionist analysis.

    That being said, I admire his attempt to list and quantify the ineffable. Isn't that what most teaching - versus learning - is about? So I will join him and propose a fourth element of a good game: aesthetics. A good game is a work of art - kinesthetic, visual, contemplative, immersive. A game that does not convey truth and beauty in some fashion may have integration, motivation and focus in spades, and still never win.

  • Wed, 16 Feb 2011
    Post by Ugur DEmiray

    to wish conduct with author in detail

    cordially Ugur