Thursday, March 30, 2006

Game Design IS actually better Instructional Design

I spent a lot of time with Mark Oehlert at the GDC last week and he sums up much of our conversations better than I can.

Check out this post in particular.  My favorite clip…


Gaming comes from play and art and music  - from a creative place. Where does instructional design come from? There are a few probable fathers but chief amongst them is World War 2. The real drivers were the need for effeciency and effectiveness. Not exactly the most forgiving or indulgent of parents. So now we come to present day and shocker!...processes derived from a need to have a conscript military force rapidly trained in set patterns...are breaking down in the face of generational and technological changes that were never anticipated or dreamt of at the dawn of ISD (at least not by instructional designers).

Mark also points us to Jesper Juul’s dictionary of video game theory.  Check this out from the dictionary…



When players learn or improve their playing a game by learning not to process the individual pieces or states of the game, but rather thinking in terms of high-level chunks (collections of pieces and states) instead. (Newell & Rosenbloom 1981, 42)

"The master [of chess] has acquired an immense memory for chess positions, organized as a collection of chunks. His ability for immediate perception and sort-term memory of chess positions depends directly on how many chunks are used to encode a position. [...] By implication, master players must spend an immense amount of time with the game, in order to acquire the large number of chunks; this seems to be well supported by historical data." (Newell & Rosenbloom 1981, 50)

See learning, repertoire, information reduction.

Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t this part of adult learning theory?  Go ahead a read the definitions for learning and information reduction.  Very interesting.




Harold Jarche said...

Chunking brings back some memories of when I worked in aviation training. The term "chunking" was used to explain how air traffic controllers could track dozens of aircraft at any given time. More experienced controllers were able to create more appropriate mental pictures of aircraft groups; knowing which ones they had to deal with immediately as well as others that they had to keep an eye on.

Interesting stuff, and many practical applications.

Brent Schlenker said...

Hi Harold,

Sorry for the late response. I think another aspect of this is the fact of prior knowledge. We all come to the table with different sets, or chunks of previous learning. The point at which we start adding to the existing chunks is different for every individual which is why so much click2death learning wastes SO much of everyone’s time. We try to be all things to all learners for the sake of ROI.

In general, regarding the post, I just think it’s very interesting to see how game designers intuitively use the same terms for making a “fun” game that ISD uses to create effective training. I it was true, but seeing it in the context of a book and gamers dictionary really hit home for that argument.

Thanks for comments.

BTW – I love reading your blog. Good stuff.