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Ludotronics: On Lectures, Levels, and Learning Outcomes

For my very first set of university courses, to navigate monster schedules and sleep deprivation, I employed the time-honored strategy of putting everything that seemed remotely relevant on a load of slides that would bring down an eighteen-wheeler, and then wing it from there. Eventually, of course, one has to find the time to rework and restructure and make every single lecture shine.

Game levels, basically, are very much like lectures. For each, you should ask yourself three basic questions:

  • What will the players (or students) have learned by the end of the level (or lecture)?
  • How can you make that an enjoyable experience?
  • How can achieving their learning goals feel rewarding to them?

Here, to keep it brief, let’s focus on the first question, the learning outcome, which you should structure in ways that make sense. The Ludotronics paradigm applies a substantially modified KSA model with four ingredients: skill (repeatable, observable performance); knowledge (recognizable or recallable facts & procedures); understanding (grasping complex processes & applying knowledge in new and different contexts); and attitude (adapted behavior courtesy of freshly acquired skills, knowledge, or understanding).

You don’t have to stuff all four into every level or lecture, far from it. But you need to keep an eye on all four so you can motivate and inspire through variety toward a dazzling holistic payoff. Along these lines, you can then create fitting experiences and rewards. Motivation to play equals motivation to learn, after all! And the quality of a level or a lecture has nothing to do with the number of assets or the number of slides; it has everything to do with a joyful and rewarding learning experience.