Technology & Instruction
In addition to "problems" or "cases", games are
another way of providing a focus for group learning.
MUDs and MOOs
MUDs and MOOS are multi-user text-based virtual realities
accessible via the Internet. MUDs evolved from multi-user interactive
role-playing games on the Internet. MUDs have become more of a communication
tool - a shared environment where diverse groups of people can go to talk,
create and collaborate. The possibilities such a tool offers for education
have not been ignored. The MOO variant in particular has proved highly
popular for educational purposes, since it includes a powerful built-in
programming language that can be used to create entirely new objects,
extending the MOO virtual-world.
There are many useful resources which discuss MUDs and MOOs
in learning contexts.
MUDs and MOOs and IRC [ http://info.ox.ac.uk/jtap/reports/teaching/moo.html
MUDs in Education [ http://www.ibiblio.org/cmc/mag/1995/jan/fanderclai.html
MUDs, MOOs and MUSHs [ http://twist.lib.uiowa.edu/resources/moo.html
E-mail and other games can be very useful in building a
collaborative learning contest. Thaigi offers useful tips for game builders:
Tips for Facilitators
He also offers a set of guidelines for evaluating games:
- Real-World Relevance. Does the training game help participants
learn skills and concepts that are applicable to the workplace?
Do the roles in the training game relate to easily recognizable
- Appropriate Frame. Is the basic structure of the training
game appropriate for the instructional objectives, trainee characteristics,
type of learning, and intended use?
- Flexible Format. Does the training game permit easy modifications
to suit local resources and constraints in terms of schedule,
number and type of participants, and physical facilities?
- Participant Involvement. Are all participants involved
in the training game at all times?
- Effective Packaging. If the game uses different components
(such as game boards, cards, and dice), are they conveniently
packaged in a box? Are the materials produced in an attractive
and durable form?
- Effective Instructions. Does the training game include
clear and concise instructions? Do the rules avoid unnecessary
and trivial items?
- Intellectual Stimulation. Are the participants engaged
in challenging tasks instead of trivial rote memory activities?
- Criterion Reference. Does the scoring system reward achievement
of the performance objectives rather than chance occurrences?
Is the mastery of useful skills and knowledge obvious to the participants?
- User Friendliness. Can a typical trainer use the game
without having to spend too much time preparing the materials
or learning the rules?
- Cost-Effectiveness. Is the training game inexpensive?
Can a cheaper alternative produce the same training outcomes?
Check out Freebies
- Games for some examples Thaigi's games.
Also take a look at Learnscope
the Australian national professional development project focusing
on the application of new learning technologies to achieve more
flexible learning in the transition to the information economy.