Design Hurdles in the Realm of New Educational Games

Dan White, Dan Norton, Alex Stone

Theories behind educational gaming have undergone a recent revolution, but the implementation of those new ideas has uncovered unexpected nuances, challenges, and opportunities. As organizations begin implementing custom games for the purposes of education and research, they encounter both traditional game design challenges and new educational challenges. For example, game-based models of learning often don’t map well to standard assessments, while bending a game model towards traditional assessment often sacrifices gameplay.

Filament Games is a company created to address this emerging space. As such, we can provide some unique insight into the development of educational games. We’ve worked on projects that touch on cultural preservation, scientific inquiry, and fourth-grade remedial reading, and each of them has brought us closer to understanding the strange space between games and learning.

We’ll discuss some of the design challenges we’ve encountered and the specific solutions we’ve engineered to address them. Afterwards, we’ll open the floor for a discussion of “war stories” and facilitate a constructive discussion of the challenges and successes of educational game projects.

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