June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
12.370.1 - 12.370.18
Learn by playing! Many of the more entertaining video games that are of interest to younger and older audiences—such as the phenomenally popular World of Warcraft from Blizzard Entertainment or NeverWinter Nights (NWN) from Bioware—are often seen as a time-wasting activity from an educational or perhaps even a societal point of view. Even so, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft currently has over 7 million enthusiastic on-line subscribers that spend countless hours—sometimes years—in this entertaining virtual experience.
As part of playing the video game, these “gamers” assimilate all sorts of facts, methods, and techniques to competitively advance their virtual characters in the game. What if the in-game experience actually had an educational and learning component to it while, at the same time, preserving the entertainment aspects of the game—basically advancing your character by learning something real, valuable, and educationally relevant?
We have taken the NeverWinter Nights video gaming environment with its “world-building” capability to develop and demonstrate an entertaining, interactive, knowledge module for collaborative, multi-disciplinary learning. The knowledge modules integrate in-game learning experiences, an entertaining story line that is consistent with the precepts of the game, and out- of-game activities such as running external engineering models, conducting research, analysis, or interaction/collaboration with other students, faculty or even commercial partners.
These knowledge modules can be generated for any topic—business, math, science, engineering, or humanities for example—for students of all ages. Different knowledge modules can readily be built by interested faculty, educators, or entrepreneurs emphasizing different subject matter and integrated to produce a tailored course of study, correct academic deficiencies or used in a training and certification program. Knowledge modules can span disciplines, departments, colleges and universities, and can cross industrial, government, and international boundaries.
As an example, we have used a requirement driven, systems engineering approach to spirally develop this project1. The initial educational content included an introduction to systems engineering, optics, and human factors. A built in assessment and rewards capability has been included in the knowledge module(s) as well as a means to link modules that are generated by different collaborators. Platform issues such as multiple or single users, directed in-game interaction by an educator, remote site multi-user interaction over the internet, and asynchronous learning are also addressed.
In keeping with the systems engineering basis, the roots of this video game knowledge module, we will be outlining our project using a system engineering approach. The discussion will start by briefly describing the stakeholders’ requirements and goals, followed by the concept of operations. The stakeholder requirements and concept of operations are used to derive the system level requirements along with technical performance measures and a qualification strategy2. Next the feasibility studies, functional analysis, and design and prototype development sections detail key development aspects of our VGKM. Then, a risk assessment, reliability, maintainability, and availability analyses look at the project risks and maintenance aspects of our project, respectively. We conclude with a marketing analysis of the VGKM.
Arrasmith, W., & Dinally, J. (2007, June), Collaborative, Multi Disciplinary Learning Through Dynamic, Video Game Knowledge Modules: System Engineering Application Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3070
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