Wednesday, April 14, 2010

CIL2010: Ref Desk Adventure: Simulation Game for Training

Scott Rice and Margaret Gregor - Appalachian State University

The need was to train students to work in the Instructional Materials Center.

In the game, a patron comes to the desk and asks for help.  The student is presented with a choice of answers as well as other things that can occur.  At the end of the game, the student received a report card.

Making the Game:
  • Preconceptions - need to work through them
  • Verbosity vs. allergic to verbiage - tried to compromise
  • 6-8 topics versus more - kept with 6-8 topics
  • Knowledge-based view vs. process-based view
  • Evaluation of screencats - included graphics and screencasts
  • We negotiated a lot
Pretest before the gave students the game:
  • 10 questions using Google Forms
  • Target test group -First test group was too knowledgeable.  Had to find students who didn't know anything about the IMC.
  • Test was multiple choice and some students could figure out the correct answers
After the pretest, students then played the game.  8 Adventures.  Includes 29 screencasts!

The post-test showed that students did learn, sometimes significantly.

Scott used form-based software to create the scripts.  Thinking about the scripts -- and branching formula -- can be the most difficult part of writing the game. What happens when the person answers "X"?  What do they see?  Do?  Need to think through the scenarios.

Next Steps:
  • Use/test with brand new students workers in the fall (with no previous experience)
  • Add a hints section
  • Use real voices
  • Add evaluative questions to post test
  • ADA compliance
  • Special collections <--New game
Student worker - "This is good training.  I had no idea that so much material could be found in the IMC.  Every desk worker should learn these skills."

This game allows them to offer consistent training.  It takes less staff time to do the training.

The software that Scott has developed is open source and is available on the Appalachian State web site.  If you are interested in it and cannot find it, contact Scott.

BTW Scott co-edited the book Gaming in Academic Libraries.

1 comment:

Natalie B. said...

This sounds great! I wish I had something like this when I took Reference during my MLIS.