The NDSU GAMES Project

Games are Graphically Advanced Multi-player Educational Simulations. The GAMES idea is to create multi-player, educational, simulated worlds (sometimes called synthetic or virtual worlds); then to populate those worlds with authentic simulated artifacts (objects, devices, agents, and so forth); and then to open the world to learners for exploration, discovery, problem solving, and learning.

When playing in GAMES, a human learner is immersed in a Reality-Oriented Learning Experience (ROLE). The players in a ROLE-based environment actively participate in a sustained problem-solving simulation. To succeed in these virtual worlds, and to effectively play the GAMES, a learner will necessarily master the concepts and skills required to play their part in the ROLE-based environment. ROLE-based learning is learning-by-doing within the structure and context of playing a role. Rather than simply teaching goal-based behavior and task-oriented skills, ROLE-based learning teaches a way of practice - where you do not just learn the law, but how to "think like a lawyer" as well.

By putting a student in a world that "sufficiently" models the domain you are teaching, the student learns about that world the student learns their role in it the student learns about the domain.

A GAMES world is:

    1. Predictable because it makes sense in terms of the real world -- in other words, the simulation is "sufficiently authentic."
    2. Compelling and Engaging because a comic-like graphical interface (the MOOPort) presents the virtual world.
    3. Reactive because the game is built on an existing architecture for real-time multi-player games (MUDs), using the most flexible implementation (Pavel Curtis's LambdaMOO, from Xerox PARC).
    4. Sensitive because there is a Proactive Tutor in the simulated world, watching the players' actions and informing them when they do something questionable.


Copyright © 1997, 2002, 2005 World Wide Web Instructional Committee