Archive for the ‘2ndwave’ Category

MASHUP: Learning Game Design Principles – Web2.0 Adoption

November 21, 2006

Learning game design principles can foster Web2.0 tool adoption.

Web2.0 tool adoption can foster learning by making games.

It’s a beautiful story.


Recently raised questions about engaging the nonprofit community in using Web2.0 tools may be answered by learning game design principles.   At the very least, learning game design principles and Web2.0 adoption issues have provocative similarities. 


The key Web2.0  “must have” = bring real world value to users. 

Two key questions raised:

  1. how to stimulate imagination

  2. how to trigger inventiveness


Learning game design answers:

Design the “experience” (as opposed to “content”)

     The experience is what player/learners DO in the space.  Designable experiences are: a) knowable, and b) reproducible.  Experience design elements:

  • player/learner-made content (derived from real world experience)

  • collaboratively-made content (access to collective experience, common problems, common solutions)

  • activities (chunked down, small, “doable”); trail by error problem-solving practice opportunities; feedback loops

  • emergent processes for above

  • artifact production and preservation methodologies


     When what player/learners do is CREATE CONTENT, then that content is organically derived from their real world experience, based on the real world problems they want to solve, and the experience of engagement naturally has real world value.  When content is created COLLABORATIVELY, then each player/learner has access to and benefits from the collective intelligence of a community of practice.  Since WE made this stuff ourselves – it will be really useful to each of us.  When we produce and preserve this stuff in the form of a GAME – it is FUN to use!  


Learning game designers have “control” over the tools — let go of the rest.

The “tools” are WHAT the player/learners DO it WITH.  Web2.0 tools are:

  1. designed to foster community of practice collaboration 

  2. designed to facilitate player/learner content creation

  3. designed to enable social construction of knowledge

  4. designed for use, reuse, remix of existing content/knowledge

  5. designed to be out of designer’s control 🙂

     Even how much control designers have or should retain over tools is debatable.  Nevertheless, point is design “tools & rules” to capture an experience strategy — as containers for player/learners to fill.  Throw it out there and see what they/we make of it.  Embrace the chaos.  We shape the experience to be useful for our own purposes.


Are we having fun yet?





Community MAP

November 13, 2006

A number of folks are actively working in the overlapping arenas of nonprofit social entrepreneurship, elearning, learning games, and web2.0 tools.  As I have been discovering this Community, I felt I wanted a MAP.  So I could see who we are, and how we are connected.  Such a map would be useful to US – to uplift and extend our networked work.  Such a map would be useful to our USERS – to follow and benefit from our networked connections.  So — I started a MAP.  Here’s a static image of what it looks like so far:

CommunityMap     What I really want is a WHITEBOARD for us to build this map collaboratively.  But I haven’t found one yet.  So here’s a link to a collaborative shared document – the good old fashion way.  CommunityMap 

We can build the map collaboratively, we just can’t SEE it as it evolves.  Open the document, use the draw tool, add hyperlinks.  (It would be so much more FUN if we could see it — but for now, maybe this is better than nothing.  One of us will figure out how to enable us to see it :))

Those of us who work to engage Web2.0 tools and use these tools to promote social good — are ourselves a Learning Community.  We are learning how to use these tools ourselves; how to promote the use of these tools within the nonprofit community to do more good better.  The more we can learn about and from one another, the more effective we will be in our common work. 

Elearners respond favorably to, and increasingly expect, visual presentation of content and graphical, as opposed to text-based, interaction.  Yet, many of the Web2.0 ways for connecting and organizing learning networks are text-based.  For example, Technorati or tags and folksonomies.  Via tagging systems, we can find like-minded folks who are working in related areas — but the connections are represented by words. 

I believe our effort to work together more effectively would be greatly aided by a similar grassroots collaboratively built VISUAL system of connecting and a VISUAL representation of who we are and what we do.

Web 2.0 tools and Learning by Making Games

November 11, 2006

A slide show by Nancy White, called Online Collaboration: Second Wave, and her blog

Discusses some of the challenges we face in adopting Web2.0 tools and making them truly useful to us in our work.  Web2.0 tools – such as Wikis and Blogs – are not business as usual (especially for those of us over 40!). 

It’s not just (dis)comfort with the technology.  It’s discomfort with what these tools can actually do for us.  Wikis and Blogs empower each one of us to take charge of our own learning and change the future for ourselves.  Wikis and Blogs enable us to share power and distribute shared power over a wide network of like-minded people whom we may never “meet” in the “real world.”


A Wiki is much more than a “shared document.”  A Wiki is LIVE, REAL-TIME, collaborative content creation.  The content we create is permanently accessible to us.  And it evolves as we evolve.  We change the content we create as our experience in the real world changes.


A Blog is much more than my private online journal.  A Blog is a captured running CONVERSATION between you and me.  I tell you what I think.  You tell me what you think.  We spark ideas in each other.  We build on and refine what came before.


The ideas we refine in our running Blog conversation can be summarized and plugged into the long-lived content we are creating in the Wiki.


“Making a Learning Game” together is really just a way for putting structure around our use of Wiki and Blog tools. 

For the purpose of creating a knowledgebase to accelerate nonprofit earned income venture profitability.  Game making is a very fruitful structure for our purpose because games are built on PATTERNS. 

A pattern is a set of solutions to common problems that have proven effective over and over.  The solutions to the profitability problems each one of us faces are hidden in our collective experience.  During the process of making the game together, we share our common problems, and common solutions will organically emerge.  As we apply and test solutions in the real world, we refine a set of the most effective.  Together, we discover and redistribute useful strategic patterns accelerating nonprofit earned income profitability!

This is a SERIOUS GAME.  Making a game with Web2.0 tools can actually help us do better what we already want to do.  We already recognize that we can’t do it alone.  We already recognize that there is great value for each of us in the experience of our peers.  We already spend a lot of time attending conferences, workshops, and other professional development activities – trying to find what we need to improve our own earned income venture’s profitability.  All too often with disappointing results.  How many times have you returned from a conference totally inspired and psyched up – and then within the week when you haven’t been able to apply your inspiration, nothing has changed, and the high wears off.  The technologies of conferences and workshops are limited in their capacity to capture, organize, and redistribute useful knowledge.  The technologies of Web2.0 tools, on the other hand, are expressly designed to do just that.  

And why shouldn’t we have FUN using these tools for our serious purpose?

For further discussion of these points: see also: Michele Martin, at the Bamboo Project; and Beth Kantor at Beth’s Blog.