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Design Lessons from 3 Years at GlassLab

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Slides from a Games for Change 2017 Learning Summit presentation by Erin Hoffman-John on methods for creating effective and compelling video games for learning.

Publicada em: Tecnologia
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Design Lessons from 3 Years at GlassLab

  1. 1. design lessons from 3 years at glasslab erin hoffman-john @gryphoness
  2. 2. L E T ’ S G E T T H I S O U T O F T H E WAY • what happened/is happening to glasslab now? • I don’t know* • it’ll be okay** • everything I’m about to say is about making games for learning (not ‘meaning’, ‘change’ etc) * there are signs ** probably, I mean what or who is ever okay really*** *** I’m ok
  3. 3. A L I T T L E H I S T O RY • a 3 year mission funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & Macarthur Foundation • partners including EA, ETS, Pearson, Institute of Play, SRI • to bring AAA development quality to educational games & apply big data analysis via ECD to live streamed game data • …just a little ambitious
  4. 4. T H I S TA L K I S R E T U R N O F T H E K I N G I’m going to quickly summarize prior talks I’ve given about GlassLab because I figured you’d all be tired of this stuff - apologies to those who have not seen any of them Games for Change 2014 keynote: GlassLab, Collaborating for Change Serious Play 2016: Why We Can’t Have Effective Games (Yet) Games for Change 2017: Design Lessons from 3 Years at GlassLab
  5. 5. M Y S I D E O F I T • it was hella fun • learned a ton 1 9 9 8 2 0 0 3 2 0 0 5 2 0 0 6 2 0 0 8 2 0 1 0 2 0 1 2 2 0 1 3 2 0 1 4 (I was 17) • changed my life • now I owe you • super hard • amazing people 2 0 1 5
  6. 6. I U S U A L LY S AY 1. learning is an emotion, not just a cognitive process (emotion is the symptom of the process’s success) 2. games are about emotion 3. to be worthwhile a game must be a valid assessment 4. to teach a game must be thoroughly scaffolded 5. to teach widely a game must have multiple representations for more on this, look up my ux week talk or serious play slides
  7. 7. I A L S O TA L K A B O U T • the development of Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy, and how we invented a new kind of game design built on measurable performance indicators* * also see the serious play talk for this stuff
  8. 8. N O W I W O U L D S AY 1. be intentional 2. be evidence-based 3. start with the boss level 4. find wizards and learn from them 5. involve learners in your process
  9. 9. L E T ’ S U N PA C K A L I T T L E 1. be intentional • game developers are usually shockingly unintentional - they’re intuitive, fluid, instinctive • this totally will not work with learning* • learning approaches are often TOO intentional - too inflexible, too demanding • you have to thread the needle: have a (precise, concise) intent, then use game design methodologies to hit it * see my side talk “serious symbiosis” for the challenges of getting game & learning designers to work together effectively
  10. 10. L E T ’ S U N PA C K A L I T T L E 2. be evidence-based* • think about how you will test your efficacy from the beginning. what will it teach, and how will you know? what will the player be able to do when you’re done? how does your solution compare to the best existing teaching methods? • ask an assessment expert what you’re not thinking of • don’t make claims. have hypotheses. have partners evaluate. the market will be averse to you doing this. • the market is full of bullshit because we aren’t evidence- based. it will poison this field if left unchecked. • pretty != functional. twitterpated != educated. * the methodology we developed was published as evidence-centered game design (ECgD), a child of Bob Mislevy’s ECD
  11. 11. L E T ’ S U N PA C K A L I T T L E 3. start with the boss level • if you’re doing it right you will spend 75% of your pre- production defining your boss level • if you are being evidence-based, this boss level will be inescapable and complete: it will be a valid assessment • if it ISN’T, you should not go forward • when you have the boss level, you are only 25% of your way toward having a (learning) game - because the boss level doesn’t teach • you might run out of money just on the boss level - and that could be okay* * arguably we should have shipped Mars Generation One with just the boss battles
  12. 12. L E T ’ S U N PA C K A L I T T L E 4. find wizards and learn from them • get really real about admiring teachers* • find the best teacher you can and observe them. you will realize software can’t come close. but we can simulate pieces of the experience. • talk to average or even below average teachers and listen to them. don’t persuade. listen. focus on problems. remember that playtesters lie. make it safe for them to tell you the truth. • make something useful. * no joke MJ and I admired teachers so hard we turned into them
  13. 13. L E T ’ S U N PA C K A L I T T L E 5. involve learners in your process • I initially left this out because it seemed so obvious, but it’s not - you’d be shocked - • The presence of the learner changes the whole dynamic of your development. Your ego will want to push off exposing them to the process, but you need to resist this - the game is never ready for the player, and always needs them • In the end we described our games as co-designed with learners, and this wasn’t (for me) PR - this was key to the process. If you aren’t seeing them at least once a week, you’re losing touch, you’re othering them. • We didn’t do this enough, especially in the beginning - it took us 2 years to hit the cadence.
  14. 14. A B R I E F D I G R E S S I O N • if I could give all of you just one thing, it would be an hour with Bob Mislevy, keeper of ECD • this guy changed how we think about games, learning, and assessment • if you ever get a chance to hang out with him, do. he’s crazy smart and an actual yoda
  15. 15. A N D A L S O 1. playtesters are full of lies 2. the game must have a core 3. know what you can afford 4. know who the player is before you start game design fundamentals you can’t shortcut like most game-crafting principles, these seem simple and are not, not, not
  16. 16. L E T ’ S G E T M E TA • you can’t bullet point concepts • you have to take one concept and go deep • you (very likely) don’t have the resources for several concepts • learning is not a listicle this talk is an example of what not to do
  17. 17. you’ll note that I haven’t talked about money (yet)
  18. 18. I F Y O U WA N T T O M A K E M O N E Y A T T H I S , M Y A D V I C E I S :
  19. 19. G I V E U P I F Y O U WA N T T O M A K E M O N E Y A T T H I S , M Y A D V I C E I S :
  20. 20. G I V E U P I F Y O U WA N T T O M A K E M O N E Y A T T H I S , M Y A D V I C E I S : (just kidding)
  21. 21. G I V E U P I F Y O U WA N T T O M A K E M O N E Y A T T H I S , M Y A D V I C E I S : (just kidding) (but really you should seriously consider giving up)
  22. 22. H E R E ’ S T H E T H I N G • GlassLab pivoted to building a platform in year 2 because that was the only hope for financial viability: a path to schools (or parents) • That platform didn’t make it • The only companies who have made this work have salesforces >100 bodies • Someone will need to break this ice in order to get games into classrooms at sufficient scale • And along the way, they’ll have to woo and persuade and win over teachers I scoured the internet trying to find the name of this artist and couldn’t - sorry, artist :(
  23. 23. W H I C H I S T O S AY • the path to games in school is not going to be direct

  24. 24. W H I C H I S T O S AY • the path to games in school is not going to be direct
 …but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible
  25. 25. W H I C H I S T O S AY • the path to games in school is not going to be direct
 …but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible • but you have to be very clear about what you are and what your goals are • hint: you are not a pegasus (sorry)
  26. 26. I N T E R M S O F M A R K E T, G L A S S L A B FA I L E D B E C A U S E I T WA S T RY I N G T O B E A P E G A S U S * • slow • reliable • thorough • risk-averse • efficient Horses (aka learning companies) are: Birds (aka game companies) are: • fast • unpredictable • flighty • risk-loving • expensive pegasus** isn't real (sorry) * and in fairness, due to the requirements of our grant, we had to ** glasslab popup trivia: our first telemetry system was called “pegasus”
  27. 27. a commercial game T H E L E A R N I N G G A M E C O N T I N U U M a teaching game where are you?
  28. 28. a commercial game T H E L E A R N I N G G A M E C O N T I N U U M a teaching game ST MathDOOM SimCity Civ where are you? Slice Fractions
  29. 29. a commercial game T H E L E A R N I N G G A M E C O N T I N U U M a teaching game ST MathDOOM SimCity Civ where are you? Slice Fractions “smart fun” zone
  30. 30. a commercial game T H E L E A R N I N G G A M E C O N T I N U U M a teaching game ST MathDOOM SimCity Civ where are you? Slice Fractions “smart fun” zone danja zone (aka better be subsidzed)
  31. 31. a commercial game T H E L E A R N I N G G A M E C O N T I N U U M a teaching game ST MathDOOM SimCity Civ where are you? Slice Fractions “smart fun” zone danja zone (aka better be subsidzed)
  32. 32. D O K U D O • expressive social word game preparing for soft launch (overseas testing) • building words out of graphemes - not just letters (every word game you’ve ever played is wrong for effective literacy) • social features: your most unique word, the network’s best word of the day • edu version will focus on stealth adult literacy
  33. 33. G L A S S L A B M E T H O D 1 . 0 • find the leverage point • find the leverage point inside the leverage point • find the single concept inside the leverage point inside the leverage point • find the closest existing video game mechanic to the performance of that concept • begin prototyping
  34. 34. D O K U D O M E T H O D ( G L A S S L A B 2 . 0 ? ) • start with a learning principle • spec as a “pure” edu game • begin development • make all in-situ decisions as commercial game decisions
  35. 35. 1 . S TA R T W I T H A L E A R N I N G P R I N C I P L E • our literacy SME told me something that blew my mind: if you teach 36 letter- vowel pairs (44 phonemes) instead of just 26 letters, the pronunciation of English stabilizes for 95% of words • this is the secret to English literacy, and it’s working for the schools that are ahead, but it is not how English is taught broadly still even in the US • “we know how to teach English”, she said - “and we’re not doing it” • this was our leverage point http://theconversation.com/the-way-we-teach-most-children-to-read-sets- them-up-to-fail-36946
  36. 36. 2 . S P E C A S A “ P U R E ” E D U P R O J E C T • this happened sort of by accident: our SBIR proposal (and the project’s first, terrible name) • we got rejected (maybe fortuitous) because, get this, it wasn’t believable that people make money off of mobile games
  37. 37. 2 . B E G I N D E V E L O P M E N T • get to prototyping • (and the second, almost as terrible, name [“syllablocks”]) • despite being unfunded, this game idea kept sticking with us - and we couldn’t believe there weren’t any grapheme-based word games on the market
  38. 38. 4 . W H I L E D E V E L O P I N G , M A K E M O M E N T- T O - M O M E N T D E C I S I O N S B A S E D O N C O M M E R C I A L P R I O R I T I E S • but if it was going to work for us, it needed to be a “purely” fun, commercial game • so we switched on our commercial developer brains: bomb tiles, gold bonuses, snappy chatter replies, iWatch-style wiggling tiles, leaderboards - not things you would prioritize for learning
  39. 39. – F R I E N D - O F - B E TA T E S T E R , ‘ A L L I S E ’ “Tell your friends thanks for Dokudo. I played it all the way across Canada.” results so far? and… “Ok so I had a stroke when I had alex 11 years ago. I have aphasia ( difficulty speaking) my speech therapist has me doing crosswords and word finds. This game hasn't left my fingers for 4 hours now! Lol.”
  40. 40. – F R I E N D - O F - B E TA T E S T E R , ‘ A L L I S E ’ “Tell your friends thanks for Dokudo. I played it all the way across Canada.” results so far? and… “Ok so I had a stroke when I had alex 11 years ago. I have aphasia ( difficulty speaking) my speech therapist has me doing crosswords and word finds. This game hasn't left my fingers for 4 hours now! Lol.” …a commercial, ‘addictive’ game …that’s helping a stroke victim recover language, lol
  41. 41. I T ’ S E A R LY Y E T, B U T • we started with a competency, which was also a leverage point, which was an idea that hadn’t been done in a commercial game before • we conceived of a mechanic that was intrinsically performative of what we wanted to create: word creativity with graphemes • we built that game commercially, to be fun-first, to stand on its own* • …and I think that’s glasslab 2.0 (for me, anyway) * with literally 0 budget - full indie
  42. 42. K T H X B Y E erin@makingwonder.com questions?
  43. 43. A B O U T S E N S E O F W O N D E R A P P E N D I X :
  44. 44. C O M PA N Y C O N C E P T • bringing the power of asymmetrical free-to-play player ecosystems to education • premium consumer experiences subsidize under-resourced school access Founded in 2012, Sense of Wonder is a fun-first game studio with a social mission. Dedicated to making “smart fun” games in the tradition of Sid Meier and Will Wright, Sense of Wonder combines an indie art sensibility with engaging mechanics that bring out the natural wonder in the world. Founded by online game veterans, Sense of Wonder’s mobile and tablet games use “true social” mechanics that meaningfully connect players, and employ compassionate player policies to ensure that customer loyalty is not just earned, but kept over the years.
  45. 45. T E A M Erin Hoffman Cofounder & Chief Designer Michal Todorovic Cofounder & Chief Technologist founder @ Terra Nova, Warm & Fuzzy Logic engineering director @ Zynga 2009-2012 27 years making games published fantasy author lead designer @ Zynga 2010-2011 17 years making games …plus our expandable bench of on-call ninjas; staff profiles available upon request

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