This paper addresses the game conceptions and values that learning games inherit from regular gaming, as well as how they affect the use and development of learning games. Its key points concern the issues of thinking learning games as fun, educative and realistic, which is how learning games are commonly conceived as means for staging learning processes, and that thinking learning games so has an inhibiting effect in regard to creating learning processes. The paper draws upon a qualitative study of participants' experiences with ‘the EIS Simulation', which is a computer-based learning game for teaching change management and change implementation. The EIS is played in groups, who share the game on a computer, and played by making change decisions in order to implement an IT system in an organisation. In this study, alternative participatory incentives, means for creating learning processes and understandings of the game-based learning process proved much more influential to both how and what was learned. Findings indicate that the game might have been intended to be fun, but it was it's staged relevance that incited participation; the game might hold an academic content, but it was the interplay between the game and other didactic activities that formed the learning process; and, the game might have been intended to be realistic, but it was in the gaps where this realism was critically assessed that learned understanding was forged. While thinking learning games as fun, educative and realistic might seem like a sound approach, thinking them past these conceptions seems to hold the key potential for the further development of learning games.
Isaga2009 International Simulation and Gaming Association 40th Annual Conference, 2009, p. 1-19
Læringsspil, sjov, indholdsrigt, realistisk, kritisk spilforskning; learning game, fun, content, realism, critical games research