How The Learning Takes Place
Within the RedCat Multiverse, the learner (or player) is guided through a four-step process to help them gain mastery over the Power Skills they are trying to develop. The process is designed specifically to help the player master the Power Skill they need to develop.
The process consists of the following steps:
- 1.Need to Know (Why?)Learners need to know why a particular skill is of importance to them and they need to understand the value of a particular skill. While it may seem obvious the value of the skill of negotiation or critical thinking, it is a best practice to provide the learner with reinforcement of the need for learning. The first part of the learning process will be a non-player character, possibly a Genius, conveying the importance of a specific skill.
- 2.Gaining Knowledge, Skills and BehaviorThe next step is for the learner to learn the basic definitions, terms and concepts behind the Power Skill the player is to master. We do this by having a non-player character present to the learner the definition of the concept and then ask the learner to identify the proper definitions within the context of a conversation. Once the definition is understood by the learner, the next step is to have the learner recognize and react to nuances surrounding the concept. This is especially important with Power Skills as they tend to be highly nuanced when applied in actual situations.
- 3.Application/PracticeOnce the learner has been given the foundational knowledge and the nuanced implications, the next step is for the learner to apply those skills in an actual scenario in the game. This requires the learner to interact with a non-player character and properly choose the right behavior and application within the RedCat Multiverse campaigns and quests. It might be the need to negotiate or the need to think critically to solve a problem.
- 4.ReinforcementOnce the player exhibits the correct application of the Power Skill, they are not finished. The player will then be required to exhibit the skill multiple times before they can be deemed to have achieved mastery or expertise status. This means that they will be given increasingly more difficult quests and, in some cases, will need to explain why they chose a particular solution. So not only will they need to know how to apply the knowledge, they will also be asked to defend why a particular choice was made.
The diagram below illustrates the process that the learner will go through for each Power Skill. It should be noted that this process is not singular, meaning that the learner may have to cycle through the process several times with different non-player characters and be successful each time before they can reach the final level of mastery. Each cycle is designed to build more and more expertise but the learner is not an expert until all cycles are completed.
Each cycle will be presented in a story/quest context incorporating the most effective elements of digital games from leading research. The story/quest approach has been identified as being especially effective for learning games because it includes elements of complexity, immediate feedback, learning through error, active learning, experiential and immersive learning, and problem-oriented learning. (6)
The four-step process to master these skills is based on stories or quests to provide a motivational context to the learning. Stories provide context, motivation and a purpose for activities to serve as a powerful learning tool. Researchers have found that the human brain has a natural affinity for narrative construction and people tend to remember facts more accurately if they encounter them in a story rather than in a bulleted list. Additionally, individuals tend to use narratives to inform views of themselves and others. The convention of narrative is often used for framing experiences and providing meaning to actions and activities.
The framing of meaning is especially important for Power Skills because they are so contextually dependent. The goal will be to create several different stories/quests for each Power Skill which are varied so that the learner gains experience applying the skill in a variety of different situations. Geniuses and other non-player characters in the game will both guide them and provide obstacles, as the learner uses what they have learned to try to make progress.