Game design and learning: a conjectural analysis of how massively multiple online role-playing games (MMORPGs) foster intrinsic motivation

  • Michele D. DickeyEmail author


During the past two decades, the popularity of computer and video games has prompted games to become a source of study for educational researchers and instructional designers investigating how various aspects of game design might be appropriated, borrowed, and re-purposed for the design of educational materials. The purpose of this paper is to present an analysis of how the structure in massively multiple online role-playing games (MMORPGs) might inform the design of interactive learning and game-based learning environments by looking at the elements which support intrinsic motivation. Specifically, this analysis presents (a) an overview of the two primary elements in MMORPGs game design: character design and narrative environment, (b) a discussion of intrinsic motivation in character role-playing, (c) a discussion of intrinsic motivational supports and cognitive support of the narrative structure of small quests, and (d) a discussion of how the narrative structure of MMORPGs might foster learning in various types of knowledge.


Computer games Intrinsic motivation Narrative Learning environments 



Thanks to the ETR&D Development Editor, J. Michael Spector, and the reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Association of Educational Communications and Technology 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instructional Design and TechnologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

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