Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Technology and learning

Technology and what I see as viable medium to learn through now and in the future.

Reading through the resources for activity 5, especially the 2013 Horizon Report section on games and gamification (pg 22 on PDF). I found myself thinking how the automotive trade could embrace this sort of medium to teach through and how would it work?

Image taken from

If a game was created that used a virtual vehicle and workshop that students can get given jobs that relate to what they are currently studying and they interact with the program to select the correct tools and process to carry out the job in the correct way and the game provides feedback as the students work through the task and also provides links to videos, PDFs, articles, audio as required to aid the learning.

I will try and paint a picture of the vision that I see (bear with me).
  • The students login to the program; this provides a way of tracking the student progress for both the student and teacher.
  • When the game starts the will move through the game level by level choosing which module to do first, the levels will be split up in sections that are formatted in a logical order to gradually “grow” the student’s knowledge in the field.
  • Once the student has uploaded the module a 3D world of a vehicle and garage is what they see. They can interact with the world and select various icons to govern how they best think to repair the vehicle e.g.
    • A tool box icon which leads to all the different tools allocated to fix the job.
    • Test meter icon for the available test equipment.
    • A job card that gives the student the customer’s problem and information about the vehicle. Also updates as tests have been completed.
    • A question mark to provide hints/help on the current module
  • The environment is able to be manipulated e.g. the vehicle can be rotated and components can be selected and test procedures given for each component.
  • As the student works through the module and begins tests, links can take the student to theory material, videos etc giving extra material to stimulate active learning.
  • Feedback gets given to student as they carry out the test they have selected.
  • When the module is complete the students process and method gets marked against an ideal method and they are given links to further material as required to improve their grade.  
  • Once they have passed the module more become available and the student can select how they want to carry on.
  • All grades get reflected into points that the whole class can see to stimulate competition amongst the students.
How would this design encourage flexible learning??
By having an interactive world that responds dynamically to the students decisions and provides links to other learning sources that give the student the option to receive the material the way they want to.
The sources can come from a wide variety of areas, like Wiki’s, videos, diagrams, PDFs, audio and literature sources.
The program will be available anytime and downloaded to their personal device e.g. smart phone, tablet, laptop etc.
The program could also adapt to the learner and remember what ways they prefer to learn and also adjust the learning curve to meet their needs.
The base program could be used offline so internet is not a major issue.
Assessments could also be done through the program as their user ID allows the facilitator to monitor their progress and as they go up levels certain criteria must have been meet.
The program could also be designed so the student can add their own diagnostic scenarios and allow students and lectures to comment and try the scenario.
The program is designed for students of all levels and can be used for people working in the industry or people who want to learn about the industry.
I know that there is training programs out there that do provide a limited amount of interaction, but they seem to attack the learning from a different angle. They provide all the material and learning first and the scenario last with limited interaction with the program.
I want to make it more like a addictive video game that wants you to do better and allow the user truly interactive experience that they control their learning.
Let me know what you think.
Thanks for tuning in.
I would like you to watch these two videos and just think what could be achieved towards teaching through interactive learning.

And yes I do enjoy playing video games


  1. Hi Kevin
    Very interesting program design. I like the bit where you mention:
    The program could also adapt to the learner and remember what ways they prefer to learn and also adjust the learning curve to meet their needs.
    That would be quite something.
    I can't help but think of a friend's son (15) who plays video games with 'friends', somewhere in the world who play too. He is spending a lot of time doing that, putting my friend onto dial up regularly by using up the available GB's.
    I also remember a friend of mine in Melbourne who had to play a similar game for a couple of hours after work - or he would get all edgy (he was about 40).
    It was interesting to see the elderly lady's reaction (in that second video) to whatever she saw. That reminded me that apparently there was a person who suffered a heart attack watching Avatar in 3D when it first came out (so I've heard).
    I gather some program designers clicked onto the idea that sitting for ages playing games wasn't favorable, so now there are some games advertised where people 'play tennis' for example and have to move physically while they do that, which does get people to move about.
    When players play for points, I wonder if it becomes a little bit like gambling (winning), which is quite addictive?
    I can see how technology can have it's usefulness.
    I wonder though where it stops to be socially healthy if people are preoccupied sitting for hours on their laptop or whatever is used.
    I guess in the case of studying/educations, these options you mentioned would only be available during studies, so it would be a temporary option and could be a fun way to learn about mechanics.

  2. I understand were you are coming from. My wife and I often dissagree on video games for the same factors you have just talked about.But if this is a medium that is growing (its more successful than block buster movies), to become a training organisation that embraces distance learning can we aford not to embrace this type of medium to teach the future students. Or just because of our personal perspective on "gaming" is negative do we ignore all the positive outcomes of interactive learning through gameifaction. With the friend that gets edgy if he doesn't play games, I know people that get edgy if they don't have coffie in the morning. its knowing if these cravings are impacting their lives in a negative way or are they just simple treats that make us feel better.

  3. Good points Kevin and as to my friend: he was totally fine for the rest of the evening without any more gaming, so you could be quite right about the '..... just simply treats that make us feel better' :-)

  4. You know what I think Kevin - interactive games definitely have a place in learning environments - if only they weren't so expensive to develop. You have prepared a convincing list of reasons why games would enable flexible learning - the more control learners have over the interaction the better.

    Great post and I enjoyed reading it. Perhaps you could team up with some IT students and get them to create something for one of their third year projects. What do you think?

  5. It would be great to get the ball rolling and who knows maybe in the future (hopefully in the short term) this is possible. I do belive if done correctly we could make a platform that is universal and easy to adapt to other trades/programs all over the world. But your right the expences is great, their is courses starting up in other training providers on game design and maybe linking with these programs is the best way to go.