My First Learning Environment Model

I’ve mentioned elsewhere in the course that I am an avid video game player, so I wanted to see how well I could use the LEML framework to describe an “Introduction” or “First Level” of a video game wherein the game begins to teach the player how the game works, and how to play the game.

I chose the Pokemon video games for this model. While there are some variations between the introduction/first level of the various Pokemon video games, those variations are slight and I did not feel as if they were significant enough to focus on one individual game. Typically there is a “formal” lecture where a Pokemon Professor explains what Pokemon are and how they fit into the world, then the player wanders around for a bit, gets to choose their first Pokemon, and the first battle of the game ensues.  Here’s the final model I settled upon (actually modified from the model I submitted).

Copy of LEML Framework

As with my first, Step-by-Step challenge, I started by adding the various building blocks I would need. In this case an information block, a practice block, a feedback block, and an evidence block. Single-player games don’t really create much dialogue among peers. Once I had my blocks, my biggest challenge was adding context. While video games are a virtual environment, it was hard to classify some of the context as “classroom” “asynchronous online” “synchronous online” or “experiential”.

Technically, I feel like all video game learning is experiential due to the fact that users must experience and play a game in order to learn it. However, I wanted to be able to distinguish between when a game gives a player formal information and when a game expects a player to learn through doing. So for my submitted LEM, I modified how I used the “classroom” context to simply indicate a formal learning context. However, after further thinking I have edited the model. In the model depicted aboveI use the “online synchronous” context for this, and perhaps re-named it the “virtual synchronous” context. Then I used the “experiential” context to denote when the game is asking the player to learn by doing.

All in all I was surprised at how adaptable the LEML tools could be for my chosen topic. However when working this many degrees away from a formal education design, there are blocks I would add in the future to describe video game design. For example, since single-player games often ask for certain types of user input, I think a “user input” block would be valuable. In the model above, I might have added a “user input” block between my information and practice blocks, denoting that a user must engage the system – choose their first Pokemon – between the lecture and first battle. If you have an idea for using the existing LEML blocks to show this – please let me know if the comments!

Edit: While thinking through my LEM Presentation, I added one more edit to my LEM. Here’s the final version:

Copy of LEML Framework (2)

What’s different is the addition of the Dialog box, which for the video game design I have adapted to mean system dialog that the user interfaces with rather than peer dialog.

 

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2 thoughts on “My First Learning Environment Model

  1. I really like the breakdown, Kate. LEM works really well for this type of learning environment. Seeing this makes me thing about the convention of beginning a level with some game character explaining the context/circumstances/goals of the level before the action begins. There are a number of reasons/advantages to doing this in video games (and for doing it this way). Still, it makes me wonder if this isn’t an aspect of the game that can be improved. What I have in mind is probably a dissertation so I’ll shelve it for now.

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    1. I think this is an aspect of games that many designers have tried to build upon or build away from. It’s also a feature of specific genres. For example many narrative focused games might have a beautifully rendered cut-scene as you you click, “New Game” to situate you within the world they want you to become immersed in.

      As I was typing that, I really think an video game introductions try to serve 2 purposes (they don’t always balance those purposed well)

      1.) Immersion: Grab the player and get them into the world, IMMEDIATELY
      2.) Teaching: Let the player know how to actually play the game

      Some games have attempted to combine those goals by simply dropping a player immediately into combat, no cut scene, not background, and have them learn to play, and then slowly discover the narrative/world behind the game-play. This can work especially well if – for some miraculous game reason – your player character has lost their memory and you have to slowly discover your past and future.

      Now you have me wanting to pick a current game from current popular genres and comparing the opening sequences. I just have to keep reminding myself I’m not in Academia anymore….and I sold many of my research books recently to prove this to myself.

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