Social Games & Community Development

So I’ve been doing research for a chapter on social and informal learning that I’m adding the second edition, and I’ve been taking a look at some of the resources on social gaming because they know a *lot* about community development. This is collection of some of the best resources I’ve found.

Core Concepts for Social Experience Design

This is such great stuff.  I know it’s labelled as Gamification, but the fabulous Amy Jo Kim deals primarily with social experience design, and the part about looking at the action verbs for different player types is pure gold.

Social Difficulty Curve

The always excellent Extra Credit folks did a series on the social difficulty curve — basically, how do you ease players into online social game interaction.  This dovetails well with Amy Jo Kim’s player’s journey as well:

These are part of Extra Credits playlist on game design, which if you are interested in game design at all, is just a treasure trove of goodness for learning about game design.

Community Development

It’s not a game design resource, but Tom Kuhlmann and his team run one of the best learning communities on the web.  Regardless of whether or not you are an Articulate or Storyline user,  is great resource of helping for people who build elearning.

In this series of videos, you can see him explaining some of the motivation and strategies behind how they develop and grow that community.







Extrinsic Motivation and Games

Hey folks, this is a really excellent discussion of the issues and research around using extrinsic rewards as a way to motivate behavior. Chris Hecker is looking at the question through the lens of game design, but it really, really applies to learning design as well. exrewards

There’s a write-up at the website, and a recording of the talk if you scroll down.  It’s long-ish, but well worth the listen.



Found this via Amy Jo Kim on twitter:



The Learner’s Journey

So I just bumped into Amy Jo Kim’s Gamification Workshop 2010 slides (via Sebastian Deterding).  Amy Jo Kim is another of my professional crushes (she’s awesome), and there’s loads of goodness in the slides, but my favorite bit was based on this image about the Player’s Journey:

(Image from Amy Jo Kim’s book “Community Building on the Web“).

She talks about how each of the different levels has different needs from a gaming system:

  • Novices need onboarding – welcome, goals and process
  • Experts need fresh content, activities and people
  • Masters need exclusive activities, access and unlocks

This is possibly the most useful thing I’ve ever seen about social media for learning. E-Learning tends to be a one-off experience.  Little time or money goes to the progression of the experience because the experience begins and ends in one chunk.

Hoping they don’t hate us

In my experience, most e-Learning also tends to be aimed at novices, and we sort of just hope that experts don’t hate us too much as they are compelled through the material. That’s about as much fun as being the experienced flyer standing in the TSA security line with your laptop out, liquids in a bag, shoes off and carry-on ready to go, trapped behind what appears to be a Grandma who hasn’t flown since 1972 and an entire daycare of small children with all the associated paraphenalia*.

But as (hopefully) we are slowing wrenching ourselves out of that model, and moving towards more integrated learning resource systems, we’ll have to take into account the differing needs of our learners, and how to engage them and meet their needs.

I’m in the process of thinking through ways to steer away from one-size-fits-all-ism for learning applications (yes, scenario-based learning is *great*, but it’s not the answer to all learning needs).  I read another post this morning on why Gagne’s 9 Rules of Instruction are dead, which describes why those rules are entirely inappropriate for just-in-time learning.  The writer is absolutely correct in those circumstances (Gagne’s 9 Events still have their uses for other things, but that’s another blog post).

So what have you seen?

What kinds of resources / systems / models are you aware of that give specific recommendations based on the circumstances or learner charactistics?  I’m on a hunt and would be eternally grateful for anything you could point me to.

A few resources:

  • Simon Bostock reminded me the other day of the Cynefin Framework for looking at different systems.

Here are the complete slides for Amy Jo Kim’s presentation:

*I’m not hating on parents who travel with small children.  I think they are the bravest people I know.