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Games and Learning

This panel identified the specific attributes of games and game play that are attractive for application in learning; These included: high levels of time-on-task, continuous feedback on performance, and the need for game players to use skills such as problem and puzzle solving, strategic thinking, plan formulation and execution, leadership and collaboration, and learning while doing; Panelists should offered specific examples of these attributes in currently available games.  Panelists suggested specific areas of knowledge and skill development where these features might be effectively employed, for example, understanding the strategies and decisions of key players in historical events, planning and conducting experiments, testing hypothesis in science and social studies, effective collaboration on work teams, managing complexity and interaction of variables (for example in an economy or business), engineering, interpersonal communications, self-directed learning, and practicing technical skills.


Panelists presented brief demonstrations of games;commercial, educational, training-related, or prototypes—that illustrated specific opportunities for players to develop and exercise knowledge, as well as higher-order thinking and practical skills.

Research and Development

Panelists reacted, critiqued, and offered additions and modifications to a draft R&D roadmap focused specifically on the development and application of games for learning in education and training settings; The draft roadmap derived as a subset of R&D identified in the Learning Federations 2003 Learning Science and Technology R&D Roadmap; Panelists then explored various R&D models that could be used to carry out different R&D tasks identified in the games for learning roadmap; Options included: publicly-funded, investigator-driven basic research at universities and government-funded research centers (such as the National Science Foundation Science of Learning Centers); government-industry partnerships for prototype development; private R&D consortia for pre-competitive, generic technology development; formation of focused research center on games for learning; demonstration pilots funded by Federal or state governments; demonstrations carried out in government-supported education and training programs (such as NSF's Advanced Technology Education program or Department of Labor workforce investment programs); learning game development funded by states with common needs; private company R&D; R&D funding from Federal agency in support of mission need (such as Department of Defense or Homeland Security); priority for grants in NSF education and human resource programs (such as instructional material development); etc.

Innovation: The Development, Commercialization, and Adoption of Games and Gaming Features in Learning

Panel 1: The Games for Learning Business

The panel explored the state of learning game-related product and service innovation, markets for such innovations, and the business environment for developing and commercializing games for education and training.  Panelists identified potential markets for learning games in K-12 and post-secondary education, workforce training, and informal learning.  Panelists will then explored barriers to private sector investment in learning games-related research, product development, and new product and service introduction, as well as ways those barriers could be overcome.  Examples of barriers explored included: market immaturity, resistance of potential customers, market size and fragmentation, cost of game development, industry structure, company business strategy, etc.

Panel 2: Deploying Games for Learning in the Education and Training Enterprise

The panel explored the prevalence of game use in education and training institutions.  This includes barriers to using games and game features in formal and informal learning processes, and why education and training institutions have been slow to embrace management, organizational, and learning process innovations.  Examples of topics explored included: difficulties in adopting new instructional models including personalized learning, the need for new forms of assessment, resistance from educators, attitudes about games, difficulties in transforming organizational systems, risk adversity, preparing teachers for new roles and with new skills, uncertainty about the effect of games on learning, etc.