Engaging by design: How engagement strategies in popular computer and video games can inform instructional design

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Abstract

Computer and video games are a prevalent form of entertainment in which the purpose of the design is to engage players. Game designers incorporate a number of strategies and tactics for engaging players in “gameplay.” These strategies and tactics may provide instructional designers with new methods for engaging learners. This investigation presents a review of game design strategies and the implications of appropriating these strategies for instructional design. Specifically, this study presents an overview of the trajectory of player positioning or point of view, the role of narrative, and methods of interactive design. A comparison of engagement strategies in popular games and characteristics of engaged learning is also presented to examine how strategies of game design might be integrated into the existing framework of engaged learning.

The preparation of this article was supported in part by the Proctor & Gamble Interactive Media Fellows grant. The ideas expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect the position of the grant agency. R Thanks to the ETR&D Development Editor, J. Michael Spector, and the reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions. Thanks, too, to John C. Belland and Keith A. Hall for their advice and mentoring.