Government role

Evaluation

We should encourage scholarship on the contextualized evaluation of serious games. Learning is complex, the mind racing to make patterns out of chaos. We need to understand the bigger context of what humans learn and retain from play. Most serious game evaluations myopically focus on objective progress toward discrete learning objectives, but scholarship on learning suggests the mind learns much more than what the designers intended. Games are, by their nature, abstract and reductionist: what if a game that teaches arithmetic also teaches exploitation or objectification, for example?

 

The government can encourage better scholarship on the evaluation of serious games through its granting agencies. Reliability and validity of instruments are crucial, and mixed-methods research is practically a necessity. Quantitative methods can only answer "to what extent" research questions that presume a hypothesis to be true; we need to ask crucial qualitative questions of How and Why as well.

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Idea No. 39