Sylvester Arnab – Games, Learning And Beyond (15)
Articles,  Blog

Sylvester Arnab – Games, Learning And Beyond (15)


JANE SECKER [0:00:00]
Let me say just a few words about Sylvester and actually just introduce myself, as well.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jane Secker, and I work at the Centre for Learning
Technology. So, Sylvester is a senior researcher, he’s
based at the Serious Games Institute, which is somewhere that sounds actually like quite
a lot of fun to work at. It’s at Coventry University, and he’s also been involved, while
he’s at Coventry in setting up something called the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, which is
going to be coming on stream in June. So, very much looking forward to hopefully getting
an invite to come and see that. Sylvester’s got a PhD in engineering, he was
based for four years at the University of Warwick and his research interest is really
all round the use of interactive and games technology in various domains. He’s also a
Founder member of the Serious Games Society, and I think he’s going to tell us a little
bit more about himself as we get going. But I’ll hand over to him, we should also have
plenty of time for questions, at the end as well. So, I’ll hand over to Sylvester. SYLVESTER ARNAB
Thank you very much. A very good afternoon to all of you. It is a pleasure for me to
be here today and thank you for inviting me to get involved and share my views on technologies
and how we can actually use it in teaching and learning. The aim of my talk today is not really to
evangelise that a gameist approach is the solution to enhancing and probably improving
teaching and learning, though it might sound a bit like it, but I think it is a good starting
point of discussions on the potentials of using such an approach in probably helping
us to redesign our teaching and learning, so on and so forth. My background, thank you very much for the
introduction. I’m originally from Malaysia, I was a lecturer and a researcher in Malaysia
for a few years and then I needed a change, so I came to the UK and I was at Warwick University
for a few years, working on simulation and all sorts of different sort of techie type
of work with regards to the use in healthcare as well as in teaching and learning. And now
I’m based at the Serious Games Institute, we conduct a lot of different research, trying
to understand the science behind the use of games, for not only teaching and learning,
but for healthcare and for raising awareness on different issues really and we publish
a lot of different papers that you can actually find on our website. I’m also involved, as Jane has mentioned before,
that the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, where we are going to work on trying to basically
use different technologies out there, which are disrupting how we are doing things in
real life situations in teaching and learning, in personal sort of healthcare, in all sorts
of different things and see how we can actually use it effectively and try to optimise our
experience. As you can see, the key area that I’m going
to work on these next few years will be the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, which would,
in the way, work with the SGI, the Serious Games Institute in trying to learn about the
different technologies they’re going actually use in learning and games is a huge part of
it. And we also have a spin-off company, which is called the Serious Games International,
one which is based in the UK, one in Singapore and one in South Africa, so we’re trying to
cover all basis and one is going to be set up in Washington, I think. So, we sort of recognise that the advancement
in technology has, in a way, influenced our… the evolution of our needs and our requirement
is all sorts of different domains in teaching and learning as well and I believe that these
technologies are disrupting the traditional way of doing things and
[0:04:33] some might look at as, you know, something
which is not really good for say, for example, higher education. I believe that if we can
basically learn about the different benefits that we can actually take from technologies,
such as games, we might be able to redesign our pedagogy, redesign the way we look at
things, redesign the way we support our students, because I believe that, you know, that we
have access of a lot different technologies out there and we have to change how we do
things at the university to support that. Games in itself has got a lot of different
potentials that would be quite interesting to look at. Someone can spend like hours and
hours playing games and this opens up big opportunities for us to actually learn about
the characteristics of games in how can we engage learners, because engagement is an
issue and how to sustain engagement in learning is quite challenging in a way. So, how can
we use existing technologies and see how can we enhance or optimise learning experience
by using such technology in teaching and learning. In the UK itself probably half of the population
they would call themselves gamers, in any different sort of ways, social gamers, keen
gamers who are on console games like 24/7, and there are people like us, like I myself,
I wouldn’t call myself like a keen gamer, because I no like games at all and I’ve no
idea what I’m doing in Serious Games. But I think in the way that I think it quite good
for someone like myself who are not really keen on games in trying to see if such technology
can actually change my life, change how I look at things, change how I perceive my own
sort of health regulation type thing, and in terms of learning as well, I can see that
a lot of students at Coventry University that will spend hours and hours on playing with
their, you know, casual games on their iPhones and all sorts of different devices they’ve
got, and we’re trying to see how can we tap into our natural desire to be entertained
and our natural desire to compete. So if we can actually tap into this sort of potentials
I believe that we would be able to improve how we do things in real life situations. And in terms of platforms in the UK itself,
there are 3.9 game platforms per gamer, you might use probably mobile games, PC games
or console perhaps, I’ve no idea where .9 is. But anyway, so this shows that we’ve got
a lot of different platforms out there that we can learn from and I believe that, for
example, social platforms, [tweets], you’ve got Facebook, Google+ and all sorts of different
platforms, that can be used for sort of in the game type of situation or in a different
word you can use “gamification” which I’m going to talk about in the next few slides. And mobile learning is one of the key sort
of area that we are going to look at in these next few months, because I believe that this
is where the future of learning is. In terms of being mobile, being you know, you can actually
learn outside of the classroom setting, which would enhance our sort of contextual understanding
of the subject that we are learning, and would sort of improve our understanding of our surroundings
as well. So, these are the different platforms, there
are so many different platforms out there that would help us to achieve a lot of different
things. So, why games? We need to engage and sustain
engagement, sustaining is the most difficult thing. Engaging perhaps would be much easier
because technologies can be a fad, everyone will want to get on, you know, the new, new
technologies, new devices, new environments, new games, sort of thing, but how can we sustain
the engagement, how can we make sure that what everybody are engaging with would give
them a lot of benefits? How do we optimise experience, the learning experience in this
case? The demography and the needs are changing, we are in a society where we are very demanding
in terms of what we want, what we need, what we think is perfect for us, type thing. How
can we balance this, because we can’t actually meet everyone’s needs, but how can we balance
the need to be engaged with something which is exciting and the need to actually gain
something which more positive from it? And the pedagogy is evolving with these 21st century
skills and all sorts of different initiatives out there, like [flip] classrooms and all
[0:09:54] sorts of different methods, which have been
introduced in higher education. How can we support this? And of course scientific evidence
would be very much important in justifying why we need to use a certain technology in
our intervention strategy, what are we trying to improve, what are we trying to solve? Are
we going to look at it in a different sort of way, whether we are going to provide a
solution to an existing problem, or are we going to introduce something on top of what
we’re doing regardless of whether we are facing any challenges or not. So, probably, I think
both would be quite valid depending on the scenarios and depending on the situation where
we are in. For example, in a new centre at Coventry University we are interested in looking
at different technologies and impose on the existing system and see whether it’s going
to work or not, because if we don’t actually start somewhere we will not know, for example,
what happened with iPhones and Kodak and, you know, the photography of camera sort of
business, you can see what happened when they didn’t actually try and, you know, jump onto
the same bandwagon in using digital cameras and things like that. So, I think in learning
we have to do the same thing, but someone was telling me before, saying that if we are
in healthcare, for example, say that if we compare healthcare in probably 30-40 years
ago and we’re still using the same technology that we’re using now, everyone will be making
a big fuss about it. But why are we still doing the same thing in teaching and learning,
the same as probably 30-40 years ago, type thing, especially in schools? Can we not evolve,
can we not change our ways of doing things? We don’t have to start from scratch, there
are a lot of different technologies out there, convergence of technology is very important,
there are so many different solutions trying to do the same thing, how can we converge
the different technologies and provide a more connected experience? And communities, there
are communities, game-based learning communities, all sorts of different communities out there,
there are… they try to promote the use of different technologies in teaching and learning,
how can we get involved, how can we make sure that we would share the same interests and
share the same technologies? I’m going to show a short video – this is
quite outdated actually because we haven’t got a new video for this, because we’ve got
a few more games which have not been included on this, but you can have a look at… is
it going to run? [PROBLEM GETTING VIDEO TO RUN] What I can do, I can play the video at the
end, I think. There are a few games that we got at the Serious
Games Institute and no only do we create games, but we help companies and governmental bodies
to evaluate the games. One of the games which are quite famous, I think it’s called… it
is triage training, which was created by a company which is called Blitz, which unfortunately,
is not there any more, but the game itself has been used in a lot of different areas
in trying to learn about the techniques in triage training and how do you actually use
games for that. And a few of the games which are funded by EU-funded projects, for example,
a game that is trying to raise awareness on fire evacuation and tried to see the connection
with [0:14:33] and LMSS type thing, and yes, being brought out in schools in Europe, but
12 schools are taking it on and we are in the middle of personalising the game to suit
the different schools in Europe and a few other games as well, which, which I can actually
give you a link to, at the end of my presentation. And the evidence, as I say, before is very
important in trying to see how we can actually justify the need to use different technologies,
for example games, because there are a lot of negative sort of press about using games
out there. So how can we convince parents, how can we convince teachers and lectures
to actually use games in all sorts of different forms, so that we can actually improve how
we do things and perhaps enhance what we are currently doing now.
[00:15:31] And one of the game which is quite recent
is this game, which is called, Prepare. It is actually a game that is created to assist
teachers to deliver relationship and sex education. It’s not about contraceptions, safe sex and
things like that, it’s all about relationships, because when we have sort of like six month
focus group with teachers, psychologists, and the students themselves, they were all
saying that we didn’t actually know how to handle relationships, whether it would be
a positive relationship or a negative relationships, especially in terms of coercion, sexual coercion,
relationship pressure, this will lead to something which is more detrimental, it’s like self-esteem,
probably unsafe sex and things like that. So, what this game is trying to achieve is
to enhance [common discourse] within a classroom setting. So, based on the studies that we
have done for the past one year, the results has been fantastic, and it is being brought
out in the schools in Coventry and Warwickshire. And the thing about this game since it is
a game which is created by a university, we haven’t got a lot of funding for it. As you
can see it is quite a simple game, but it does what it says on the tin, and it achieves
what the schools and the council are trying to to achieve. So, what I’m trying to say here is the quality
and the fidelity of the game that you want to create would depend on the deployment or
the context where you have to deploy the game itself. This would not work, I believe would
not work in isolation, because it is not engaging enough, but within a classroom setting, it’s
so different, normally the teacher would stand there and then talk about relationships, and
most of the students will just cringe. So, by having this sort of intervention, regardless
of whether it’s going to be a game based intervention or it’s going to be something else, as look
as it is engaging within the particular group of students they will be able up to and talk
about a lot of different issues which the teachers themselves say they are opening up,
you know, it’s like a can of worms that they were talking about, you know, experiences,
they didn’t actually know what to do with it, because it is with their classroom setting
supposed to be what happens in the classroom stays there. So, but there are a lot of stories
that they manage to get from the students and this is quite an exciting area where the
schools are trying to use games to engage students within a classroom setting. QUESTION
I saw a recent documentary on BBC, so it was about Japanese guys who had virtual girlfriends,
you know, these girlfriend existed on the phone. So it’s… can it become that real?
I mean I don’t have a question, but I’m just looking at [precedence], you know, what else
happens in the world. So, they basically form relationships with their mobile phones and
they feel that they don’t need any real life relationships. SYLVESTER ARNAB
Right, this is like within the area of virtual characters, how real do you want a virtual
character is? we have the same ethics as robotics, how real do you want a robot to be? Do you
want to still have, how do you call it, the difference between real and virtual, or real
and robotic type thing? So, these are one of the keys issues that everybody’s talking
about now, especially about virtual characters and some people can’t actually see the difference
between their experience in a virtual world and experience in the real world. And there
are two ways to look at it, one there’s a huge research group that is trying to reduce
the gap between virtual and real experience, there’s a huge group that’s trying to talk
about the ethics, of “we should not allow that to happen”. So, which come should we
be… it depends on the ethics of the software or the games or any apps that we’ve got out
there, but it all depends on the outcome. As you say, it might be psychologically sort
of disturbing to see someone who would sort of produce a relationship with a device, rather
than another person and I think that is another issue that can be talked about, but I believe
in the future of games in the pervasiveness of games that will allow you to not only interact
with a virtual environment, but interact with your surroundings and people around you as
well, especially with the social games that are going on. But I haven’t got an answer
for that but I think this is an ethical issue that is very real. [0:20:42] Not sure this will work but… oh, this one
is… [VIDEO STARTS – NOT TRANSCRIBED – 0:20:48-0:21:41] So, this is [0:21:44] from the psychologists as well as the teachers were… [VIDEO STARTS – NOT TRANSCRIBED – 0:21:46-0:22:41] So, as you can see, we’ve got what the teachers were
saying that they want to have scenarios, and they can stop the game at any time they want.
So the game mechanics are basically made what the teachers were… what their requirement
is, we’ve got the pause button, so they can talk about it, they can talk about the situation,
“How do we handle this? What should we do?” and in fact the important [0:23:28] why is
the scenario that I’ve just shown, and the answer is maybe, because there’s a thin line
between, you know, being coercive and not being coercive. So the teachers can actually
just pause it and they can talk about it. They say “What happened if this…” you
know. [VIDEO STARTS – NOT TRANSCRIBED – 0:23:50-0:24:13] And
the voices are from… we’ve got kids from the charity which is called Voice for Care.
So these are the kids, the children who are from a difficult background, sort of thing,
so we involved them in the whole thing, so they would provide the voices and everything,
just to get everyone involved really. Right Serious Games in education is like do
we need it? Maybe not, but can we experiment? Well, I’m a researcher, so I say yes and see
whether we can improve something which is already working, or probably we can use it
to change how we do things, because there are a lot of different challenges that we
are facing in terms of engagement for example. So the need for intervention is very important,
and the way we do it is very much similar to how we do it in health sort of studies,
where we would map intervention, and how can we map the requirements, how can we make sure
that what we are trying to solve and what we are trying to create would actually benefit
the stakeholders. So the context is very, is very important and we need to participate
the stakeholder, so that’s what we’ve been doing, and working with students themselves,
lecturers, teachers and all sorts of different stakeholders out there, who are the ones who
are going to use this particular solution, if you can call it a solution. Measures and evidence, when we design games
we need to make sure that the measures and the evidence is a part of the design stage
itself, so that we would know what learning outcomes that we want to support and what
type of learning process that we want to encourage within a particular game. Because it is fine
to say that after using a game you will improve your knowledge in A, B, C and D but which
part of the game is effective? Which part of the game would teach you about probably
problem solving? Which part of the game would teach you about, you know, different things?
So what we are interested in the mapping of learning mechanics and game mechanics and
see where they merge and how can we create probably a toolkit that can help someone who
is not a game designer or a game developer to create a game for their own use. So, what is a good design? It’s quite vague
I think, when we talk about good design, it all depends on the context of the game itself,
where are we going to deploy it and what sort of outcomes are we expecting from it. And
return on investment, since we are talking about games, we have to think about the users,
we have to think about probably the SME or the company who is going to create
[0:27:10] the game, sort of thing, so they both have
different needs, what type of returns on the investment are they looking at? In terms of
say higher education, we want to improve learning experience, we want to improve teaching and
learning and that will be reflected by the types of students that we are going to produce
at the end of the course. In terms of the company itself, they will about, you know,
are we going to sell this, are we going to get more money from it, type thing. So, this
sort of issues influence our decisions in using games in education, for example, informal
learning is easier to deploy but formal learning it can be quite difficult, especially that
you need to convince the policy-makers, you need to convince the university, you need
to convince the faculty, you need to convince your dean and all sorts of different issues
that we had to think about. But I’m more interested in how can we design a good Serious Games?
The balance of fun and serious of course, and this is like an oxymoron in a way, it’s
how can games be fun and serious at the same time? You can be a serious gamer, but can
you gain some serious sort of benefits from it, that enhance your life, enhance your learning,
enhance your health, enhance a lot of different parts of your day-to-day life. So the balance
is very important, and it has to be measurable, so that you would know that this serious game
is actually a good game. The engagement with stakeholders. Their views
on the games itself, not only in terms of the aesthetics, not only in terms of the engagement,
the mechanics but the outcomes, are their lives going to be changed, or their behaviours
going to be changed? Are their attitudes towards the issues will be changed or their knowledge
or cognition, so on and so forth? So I believe that is has to be scientifically validated
in terms of not only the game itself, but the design, and the theories that go into
the development of that particular game. So it is very important, and in order for us
to understand whether a learning process is promoted within the game, we would need to
really collect a lot of information on the learners themselves, so this would pose ethical
issues, so we need to really understand that the ethics of it is very important. So, this
is, I think, why deploying Serious Games as a tool in formal education can be quite tricky,
because there are a lot of different things that we need to consider. So the theory, the content, the game design,
you know, we have to find a way to balance this out, and making sure that we have the
right scientific theories to support what we’re trying to do. Flow theory, you know,
mastery and all sorts of different learning pedagogies, it can get a bit confusing for
someone like me, is that my [WORD] it’s not pedagogy, and to work with someone who is
doing research in pedagogy, it’s like we don’t speak the same language, sometimes, so we
need to find a way to really work together and speak the same language so that everyone
would understand what, you know, everyone is trying to achieve. And this is one of the things that we are
still doing now, as I’ve mentioned before, we are trying to map learning mechanics to
game mechanics. Learning mechanics is like the doing of learning, the process of learning,
the pedagogies and the methods that you can use a lot of different techniques, that everyone
has proven to be effective type thing and how can we support this by using games, what
types of mechanics, what type of genre of games perhaps, or scenario based games, question
and answers, role playing and all sorts of different mechanics that we can actually use
and try and match, you know, these two and see how we can actually do it, and what we
have done so far is to look at existing games with proven effectiveness in terms of transferring
of skills and learning, try to see what sort of mechanics have they used and try to do
more experiments in trying to understand the different mechanics in that particular game
and group them, so on and so forth, but it’s not done yet, but this is towards creating
a toolkit that would help designers, developers, learning technologists perhaps, to actually
use this particular method and see how this can inform their design of a learning tool. [0:32:04] And, we are also interested in the different
types of players, they different types of players can be mapped with the different types
of learners as well, and I know that learning styles has been debunked, I think last year
or the year before, but I still believe that there is something to the way people learn
and their needs and how can we support this and in terms of players, there are four different
types of players that we are looking at. We’re talking about the achievers, the explorers,
socialites and [killers]. So there might be like a convergence of a lot of different types,
but these are the four key types that game designers and game developers are looking
at, especially in terms of gamification. So there are a lot of different games out there,
it’s like they would normally fall under achievers, where they would talk about badges, leaderboards,
scores, this would not interest a play who is mostly socialites for example, they are
more interested in doing Farmville. They’re not interested in getting a lot of points,
but they are interested in the community, for example. So, sometimes we need to understand
the different types of learners, as well as what types of players are there. So, there
is a thing like a huge community in trying to map that as well,. It’s quite interesting
to see how we can match player types and learners. And the different sort of aim in using games,
which can be linked to learning as well, for example, here are we talking about, you know,
trying to create a habit to change someone’s behaviour, so that they would actually do
something and self-regulate themselves in terms of health, in terms of teaching and
learning or are you trying to support someone who wants to master something? It’s like playing
golf for example, you would do it over and over and over and over again until you master
it. So, there are a lot of different characteristics
that need to be considered when we develop games, but if you look at it, it all depends
on the type of users, what are you interested in, because working with humans is quite challenging
that everyone knows that, you know, try to understand a human being is quite difficult,
but interesting at the same time. In terms of flow, I’m sure that some of you might know
what flow concept is, it’s about getting a balance in engaging and difficulty of the
particular task that you’re trying to create, that thing. So, it’s the same thing with gamers,
we’re trying to find a balance that would, you know, they would sustain your engagement
between the difficulty of the particular game itself, the different levels, and the timespan
on playing, whether you want to be engaged with a particular game or not and sometimes
a game can be too difficult and you just give up, “I’m not going to play this any more”,
that’s why most people play Angry Birds, because it’s such an easy game, easy to understand,
and the fact that I mentioned to Jane before saying that there’s a school in the US, they
use… they are using Angry Birds to teach physics, and it’s working, so why not? So,
that’s why I say we don’t have to start from scratch, reuse and repurpose. Right, Serious Games are basically video games
or computer based games that is used to address and support serious aims, other than trying
to entertain sort of a player. But gamification is a word which is coined to basically describe
an approach where we use game mechanics to engage someone in existing sort of process
or activities. For example, like now, say that if I want to engage you in a gamification
sort of scenario I would say at the beginning, saying that the objective of today is for
you to remember what I say throughout the whole talk and anyone who can name three different
objects, for example, will win a prize. So you would pay attention if I show an object,
you will remember the three types of objects that I’ve got. So this is gamification, because
you have an objective and you have a mechanic that I’m going to show you different things
and you will spot different objects and then you would use your own cognitive sort of power
to remember what those objects are and you have a gaming type of process there. So it’s
the same sort of thing which is being used by marketing in the commercial world, they
are trying to encourage the use of their websites, so they will introduce gamification sort of
mechanics on the particular websites, for example the longer you spend time on a particular
website or the more pages you go to on a particular website, you’ll be up there on the leaderboard,
or you’ll be given badges, for example, you are an “Expert” now because you have been
on this website forever. So, it has been used in marketing a lot, but I believe that using
gamification for learning should go beyond badges and leaderboards, it has to be more
effective. [0:37:38] This is an example of gamification, how can
you encourage someone to walk up and down the stairs instead of having an enormous staircase,
why don’t we have a musical staircase? So I think this research has been done, I’m not
sure whether… is it Belgium or somewhere, I can’t remember where. But it’s working,
people would use the staircase more than the escalator. Nike is using gamification to try and encourage
you to run, to compete with yourself, with your own goals, you will discover your own
goals, you would compete with strangers as well, on the same system. So, I believe that, you know, as part of what
I call disruptive technology game based approach can provide different solutions and different
scenarios and different contexts that would help us to actually change how we do things
and to excite ourselves in self-regulation for example, or helping us to understand what
our needs are and what our goals are in life and especially in learning. How can we support [0:38:48] learning? I’m
sure the LSE is doing it now, with the online learning, and all sorts of different techniques
that you have used. How can we engage, you know, the community in [0:39:01] learning
for example, because you can profile a solution, but if no one is engaging with it, and you
can’t sustain the engagement, what’s the point? You’ve got an online system and no one’s going
to use it type thing. So, if you use gamification sort of techniques, so game-based techniques
to encourage people to come back and use your system, to use your solutions, I think that
would be quite useful. Flipped classroom, even though some people
might call this the future of learning, but I think it’s not really, because it has been
introduced probably a few years ago, by two teachers in the US who managed to do it and
they publicise it, and they became famous because of this and everyone is basically
trying to use it now and Coventry University is going to flip all the different lectures
that we have in the university this year and its going to be quite difficult, we will definitely
receive a lot of friction from a lot of different lecturers, but we just plough through. But yeah, but I think we need to try and see
how we can innovate how we do things and the only way to do it is to start doing it and,
you know, try it out. Bring on devices, this is one of the key themes for the next few
years, big companies are doing it, and schools are doing it and universities are doing this
now, so that you can reduce the cost in providing devices for your students for example and
how can we encourage or monitor the use of different technologies, different platform,
different devices, in ensuring that learning outcomes are still supported? So, there are
a lot of different issues that needs to be talked about and [WORD] learning, there’s
something new about this, but the technologies are getting good, Google Glasses, mobile phones,
augmented reality, all sort of different things that can be use to encourage, you know, to
encourage, to learn about different things outside of the classroom settings. So, games
can provide such a platform for such innovation. So we need to think about the future classroom.
What do we need? How… there are so many different solutions out there, different technologies,
how can we create a more connected experience? I lot of people are talking about cloud computing,
one of the key things that everyone is going into, learning analytics, game analytics has
been used by [WORD] games, they would learn about your behaviour while playing Farmville
and they would change the scenarios and everything to suit the majority of the customers. So,
why can’t we do the same thing for learning, game analytics for learning? This is one of
the things that we are working on, as well, and we’ve got a lot of publications in the
area that you can have a look at. Game-based learning is a part of it, mobile learning
is one of the key things that I think we should get into, desktops, of online learning
[0:42:06] is not really working any more, I think, because
in the next few years everyone would be tapping into, you know, different devices, so I think
we need to find a way to support this and provide a good transition. Open content, [WORD] and a lot of different
platforms out there, how can we ensure that it will be cost effective, because it’s quite
expensive to provide a free game for every single university out there, no one going’s
to do it, but how do we do it? Can we reuse existing games and repurpose for our own needs? Personalised learning environments in line
with web 3.0 is all about… personalisation is all about me, me, me and me, so I think
we can’t actually beat it, so we just need to join it really. So try to support the different
people with different needs, but there has to a balance as well. So, my last slide. I’m aware of the time.
In all this chaos, how can we create a seamless experience, seamless connected experience?
It’s so difficult to monitor, for example, that I’d be using my hand phone, I’d be going
to lectures, I’ll be doing this, I’ll be instructing the companies in my internship for example,
how can we provide a seamless experience among all these different techniques in teaching
and learning? Can we use technology, can we use games or can we use gamification as an
equal system that would include game analytics, or learning analytics that will analyse each
and every one of you. It’s like Big Brother. And the last question I would pose is what
is the ethics, as I say, what is the ethics in all of this? Can we just do it without
thinking that, you know, previously not everything about you is that what you do, this is what
you eat, this is it what would entice you, this is what would excite you, sort of thing,
so this is a learning programme for you. Is it ethical? So, it’s a question, there
is a no answer, there’s no yes, yes, right or wrong answer to this, but I’m sure that
in the next few years, hopefully they will get to work together with LSE as well, in
the new Disruptive Media Learning Lab they are going to launch, since I think I’m sure
they will find a solution to this. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] JANE SECKER
Okay, thank you very much, Sylvester. We’ve actually got around half an hour or so, for
questions, I know some people might need to go at 4 o’clock, but we’ve got plenty of time
for discussion. You’ve certainly given us lots to think about. I was quite fascinated
when we were talking over lunch about using a game like, you know, Angry Birds, to teach
physics and things like that. I think what I’m quite interested in is whether games are
also a distraction as well, you know, I certainly know, many people seem to be completely addicted
to Candy Crush at the moment and spending hours of their time, is there obviously some
drawbacks with using games in education? SLYVESTER ARNAB
Well, what I can say is we are in the world that we are all distracted, all sorts of different
technologies, not only games, there are a lot of different technologies out there that
are distracting our sort of like, how they call it, out goal in learning for example,
someone can actually just play on their Facebook the whole day, you know, updating their statuses
and reading everyone else’s life type thing. [00:45:47] So, as an answer to your question, I think
there should be a balance, but I believe that the fact that a game can actually sustain
engagement, sustain participation in such an activity, I think there is a very good
potential there for us to tap into this particular, you know, particular addiction in gaming.
I think everyone, I think most people have got to a certain degree an addictive personality,
but that is a different issue, but I think once you understand the learners, when we
understand the person who is going to enter university, understand how they will interact
with technologies, have they got a certain level of addictiveness in their personality,
for example? This would help us to model sort of like a personalised learning environment
for individuals regardless of whether they are going to be interested in using games
or not. There are a lot of different technologies and games is just a part of it, but I believe
what we can learn from games would be the mechanics of games, it’s about challenges,
it’s about the level of difficulties, it’s about the level of difficulties, it’s about
a lot of different mechanics that you can use in learning, but yeah, it’s quite difficult
to say that when someone is quite addicted to playing games, especially in the enclosure
of the bedroom, I think it’s something to be worried about, but I’m sure when we talk
about mobile gaming, pervasive learning, this is where we can take them out from their bedrooms
into the world. JANE SECKER
Okay, thank you. QUESTION
Hi, thanks. Thanks for your presentation. I’m interested in this idea of transferability
that you talked on so, you know, you can have learning outcomes within the game context,
but that doesn’t ensure that you would transfer it into a real world situation and so I guess
I had a two part question, which is with gaming e-learning as opposed to other types of e-learning
do you see a difference in transferability of learning and skills and what can be done
to increase in terms of design, to help increase that transfer? SYLVESTER ARNAB
Yeah. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s one of the key issues in terms of using a virtual
world which is the gap between virtual experience and real experience, are you able to transfer
the knowledge that you would give in a virtual environment, for example, but I think games
provide the ability to create scenarios or different role-plays that would allow you
to use different skills, [transferable] skills and [0:48:55] for example, solving problems
that can be transferable within a game, game sort of scenarios, something which is quite
physical as well, because you have a lot of different games for example, using Wii platforms
and K-nect type thing, that you can transfer certain movements. These are the things which
are quite easy to transfer but in terms of sort of dry, basic knowledge in terms of,
for example, say maths, for example, you learn about maths but you need to provide a scenario
that would reflect how this particular theory is in mathematics to be used in the real context.
So, I think the scenarios of a particular game are is very important, but there are
a lot of studies which are being done and what we need to do with games [0:49:39] which
have not really been done by most of the research institutes all over the world is the long-term
studies on the effectiveness of any solutions including games. So I think the long-term
studies is important, but we are doing that now and something that we call dosing or dosage
studies, which is quite common in healthcare. So you give a dosage of a solution, game-based
solution, and then you would test whether they would improve their knowledge, improve
the skills in different things, and real life situation, then we know how much dosage should
we give the student. Because sometimes you don’t actually know how long should a game
be, you know. Hopefully that will answer your… [00:50:39] QUESTION
Hi, yeah, a couple of questions from Twitter. First question from “Emma”, what platforms
are you using and can you speak about the technology needed to access different platforms
for the games that you produce at the Serious Games Institute. And the other question is, can you clarify
how you differentiate serious games in gamification? SYLVESTER ARNAB
Okay, the first question, we are using [Unity 3D], you can actually start from scratch using
C++ and OpenG and all sorts of different things, but if you want to create a prototype that
you can show immediately, you can use Unity 3D, it’s a platform that would require a bit
of scripting, where you can create game environments and game scenarios and you can actually deploy
it on different platforms, you can deploy it on a desktop platform, you can deploy it
on a web platform, you can deploy it on Android, iOS. So you can deploy it on any platforms
by using this particular game engine and the fact that now you can actually buy, or I think
the plug in will come in as part of it I think, which is the game analytics part of it, that
will allow you to understand, you know, what you do within a game process type thing. There are a lot of different platforms out
there that can be used, but I think Unity 3D is the one they are all using at the moment. And the second question is Serious Games in
gamification. A lot of confusion going around between gamification and serious games. Gamification
hasn’t got sort of like, how do you call it, a fixed definition of what it is. Some people
say that Serious Games is a part of gamification, but I think that they are quite different.
Serious Games is about computer games or video games which are basically used to addressed
serious issues, and you can create different genre of games that will address these particular
issues with serious outcomes. Gamification is about using the concept that
game technology is using, for example how do you engage a player, what sort of mechanics
do you need to use, and then you will basically apply these particular techniques, apply this
particular concept and paradigms in a real life situation, for example, in a classroom
setting. You can create goals, you can create sort of the processes that will allow you
to evaluate whether the learning course you have set at the beginning of the class is
achieved. That is in a basic form, but in terms of say, for example, Nike, Nike has
created a platform that is basically trying to encourage you to run more, to exercise
really. So, it comes with an app, it comes with an eco-system of yourself, the app itself
is able to monitor how much miles you have run and your targets and you can compete with
the others as well. So that is gamification, it’s not a game, it’s not a game per sae but
serious game it is a normal game, video games, mobile games, with discreet games of structure. No, it’s still a bit confusing, but [LAUGHS]
email me. QUESTION
So, even in the conventional games, I mean you have lots of games and then you have chess.
So, in these types of virtual games as well is there something that corresponds to chess?
You know, something that has lots of combinations in it, you don’t know what the outcome is
going to be, so it’s not really a script, but it’s more open-ended. Is there something
like that being developed? SYLVESTER ARNAB
Yes. Yes and no. There are a lot of different games which have been created with that sort
of random sort of neuro-network type of perspective, to how the game mechanics is played. It has
no clear objectives of how it’s going to be, for example, if you want to play Sim City,
for example. [0:55:03] The goal of it is to just to gain, to sort
of gain a lot of money or profit from revenues or so on and so forth, but it is quite random
how you do it, it doesn’t really tell you how to do it, you just need to really understand
the game itself and you evolve as you go along, but it’s not as complicated or sophisticated
as the one that you mention, I think. For example, chess is more about strategy, teaching
you about strategy, so I think it’s got similar to some of the games which are role-play games
that would give different outcomes. You can decide on different things, but this is quite
fixed, so you might have probably five or six different options, that would branch out
into a few more other options. So, it’s more like a tree type of game rather than something
which is quite random for example, chess. But chess is quite fixed in the way that you
can only move certain ways, but there are a lot of different strategies involved. But
this is one thing that we are very much interested in, especially within the EU context, in encouraging
or fostering [transfersal] skills and competences, soft skills, how do we use games to do that?
So, it’s all about the scenarios, it’s all about the role-play games that you can create,
or probably it’s all about the strategy games perhaps. So it all depends on how and when
you are going to deploy it. QUESTION
Given that the preparation and organisation and, you know, sort out of games, is obviously
quite long, I suppose it takes anything from you know, half a year to a year or something,
to create a game, what is your experience in terms of lifespan how long do these games
then last, you know, for people to use? That will be a question that a lot of universities
will ask and say “Well, okay, if you’re going to use it for one term, you know, it’s
not worth our investment. But if it’s going to last for three years, okay we might even
look at it”. But you know, because the threshold is so high in getting the technology right,
the script, all of the, you know, the voiceovers and everything, it’s very involved, it’s not
going to be something that, you know, you’ll do as a lecturer by yourself. SYLVESTER ARNAB
Well, what I can say, it’s like the consumption of content has been, you know, one of the
key things in terms of games, because it is how they are making money, so they will provide
new versions of the games all the time. But now there is a huge movement in basically
using the creation of games as a learning process. And there are a lot of different
universities are actually focusing on the platforms, creating platforms for games, rather
than the game content itself, because the game content can be repurposed, it can be
changed, it can be sort of personalised to meet the needs of the different subjects and
courses perhaps. So, what we are interested in now, is to create a platform, an altering
platform that will allow someone who is not a designer or a game developer, to create
their own games for their own schools, and that’s one of the EU project which is called
“Magical” I think. They have created a game which is called [Magoes] that will allow
someone who is not really a developer, to create game scenarios and there are a lot
of different other… I can’t actually remember all of them, but there is a movement in trying
to create an altering tool for teachers, as well as lecturers, to actually create their
own games, and one of the things that I’ve mentioned before was the mapping of learning
mechanics, trying to map it with game mechanics, this is towards creating a more usable tool
that would inform someone like yourself, say, “Okay, this is what I need, I think I want…
I think role-play games will be suitable for my classroom, and this is the topics or the
content I want to put in.” So, you will be able to perhaps drag and drop type thing. So, this is one of the things that is in the
future. There are a lot of different tools out there that you can use, social tools that
will allow you to create social games, but most of them are not really usable because
some of them are very much concentrating on question and answers type of games, which
is not really engaging if you think about it, but the platform is there. It can only
be improved, so I’m sure like in the next few years, you know, it would be more cost
effective for high education to invest in a platform for game authoring, rather than
the game itself. [1:00:05] So, someone like the CRT can actually take
on and will be able to provide training for the different lecturers who are interested
in using it, so they can create their own games and some of the games now are basically
attached to [modal] LMSS, a lot of different things, that will allow you to provide a better
transition from the, you know, the system that you’re using now, to a new way of doing
things. So, potentials are there, but there is no
one solution for it. JANE SECKER
Okay, if we don’t have any more questions, if you could just join me, once again, in
thanking Sylvester for a really enlightening talk about games and learning. SYLVESTER ARNAB
Thank you very much for inviting me. [APPLAUSE] [END]

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