As we already have a good corpus registered to start building some dimensions into our thinking process, I wanted to begin our journey in this thread by posing our first thoughts about what we have as expectations for Serious Games.
Net Geners Learn Differently
Although they value education highly, Net Geners learn differently from their predecessors. This generation is unique in that it is the first to grow up with digital and cyber technologies. Not only are Net Geners acculturated to the use of technology, they are saturated with it. By the time he or she has reached 21 years of age, the average NetGener will have spent
- 10,000 hours playing video games
- 200,000 hours on e-mail
- 20,000 hours watching TV
- 10,000 hours on cell phones, and
- under 5,000 hours reading
Having been raised in an age of media saturation and convenient access to digital technologies, Net Geners have distinctive ways of thinking, communicating, and learning.
Wikipedia defines Serious Games as:
Serious games (SGs) or persuasive games are computer and video games used as persuasion technology or educational technology. They can be similar to educational games, but are often intended for an audience outside of primary or secondary education. Serious games can be of any genre and many of them can be considered a kind of edutainment.
A serious game may be a simulation which has the look and feel of a game, but corresponds to non-game events or processes, including business operations and military operations. The games are intended to provide an engaging, self-reinforcing context in which to motivate and educate the players. Other purposes for such games include marketing and advertisement. The largest users of SGs are the US government and medical professionals. Other commercial sectors are actively pursuing development of these types of tools as well.
However, the the juxtaposition of 'serious' and 'game' suggests something that is imbued with intent over and above pure enjoyment, that there is an agenda, a defined outcome to be achieved. Does this detract from the sense of game? Can Edutainment as a genre fully engage and supply learned skillsets that, as Bronwyn has alluded to, be transferrable and sustainable?
I believe the answer is yes. I postulate that the brain, engaged in repeated behaviour models a synaptic pathway in just the same way as any real world exchange. And, if this is the case, it can be fairly argued that this can indicate 'learned behaviour' which is a component of conditioning, such as is enabled by the Armies who use Serious Games to entrain fighting forces or pilots.
I welcome comment regarding this notion.