Collaborative Design in Extension- Using a Modified Game J…

Collaborative Design in Extension: Using a Modified Game Jam to Explore Game -Based Learning

Cover Image Provided by New Mexico State University Innovative Media Research and Extension – Learning Games Lab

By Matheus Cezarotto, Stacey Stearns, Jennifer Cushman, Cristina Connolly, Robert Ricard, Barbara Chamberlin

A T T R I B U T I ON

Collaborative Design in Extension: Using a Modified Game Jam to Explore Game-Based Learning

Copyright © Cezarotto, M., Stearns, S., Cushman, J., Connolly, C., Ricard, R., and Chamberlin, B. 2021, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). Published by Extension Foundation.

e-pub: 978-1-955687-08-9

Publish Date: November 15 th , 2021

Citations for this publication may be made using the following: Cezarotto, M., Stearns, S., Cushman, J., Connolly, C., Ricard, R., and Chamberlin, B (2021). Collaborative Design in Extension: Using a Modified Game Jam to Explore Game-Based Learning (1 st ed). Kansas City: Extension Foundation. ISBN: 978-1- 955687-08-9

Producer: Ashley S. Griffin

Peer Review Coordinator: Rose Hayden-Smith

Editorial Assistant: Heather Martin

Technical Implementer: Rose Hayden-Smith

Welcome to the Collaborative Design in Extension: Using a Modified Game Jam to Explore Game-Based Learning, a resource created for the Cooperative Extension Service and published by the Extension Foundation. We welcome feedback and suggested resources for this publication, which could be included in any subsequent versions. This work is supported by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information please contact:

Extension Foundation c/o Bryan Cave LLP One Kansas City Place

1200 Main Street, Suite 3800 Kansas City, MO 64105-2122 https://impact.extension.org/

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T A B L E O F CON T E N T S

Attribution ............................................................................................................................................. 2 Meet the Authors ................................................................................................................................... 4 Acknowledgments .................................................................................................................................. 7 Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................ 7 Purpose of the Guide........................................................................................................................................................ 7 Context .................................................................................................................................................. 7 Introduction ........................................................................................................................................... 8 Part 1: Game Design for Extension Audiences ............................................................................... 10 Challenges for Extension in Game Design...................................................................................................................... 10 NMSU’s Learning Games Lab ......................................................................................................................................... 11 University of Connecticut (UConn) and Extension Foundation ..................................................................................... 11 The Team........................................................................................................................................................................ 12 Part 2: Game Jam......................................................................................................................... 13 Traditional Game Jams ................................................................................................................................................... 13 Part 3: This Modified Game Jam ................................................................................................... 14 Needs for the Process .................................................................................................................................................... 14 Process Overview ........................................................................................................................................................... 14 Differences from Traditional Game Jam Formats .......................................................................................................... 15 Part 4: Case Study of Unpeeled..................................................................................................... 17 Schedule ......................................................................................................................................................................... 17 Prototype of Game ......................................................................................................................................................... 22 Final Result ..................................................................................................................................................................... 24 Part 5: Recommendations ............................................................................................................ 25 Best Practices ................................................................................................................................................................. 25 Part 6: Conclusions ....................................................................................................................... 28 References ................................................................................................................................... 29

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M E E T TH E AU THO R S

Matheus Cezarotto, PhD

Stacey Stearns

Stacey Stearns is a Program Specialist focused on communications for Extension, and formal and informal reporting. She works with Extension teams on farm to community, Bug Week, GMOs, and trails. Stacey earned a bachelor of science in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut and a master of science in Agricultural Education and Communication from the University of Florida.

Matheus Cezarotto is a postdoctoral researcher in the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Innovative Media Research and Extension department and its Learning Games Lab. He researches the Learning Games Lab's products, working through grant development and providing instructional design expertise. His published work focuses on building a research-based understanding of instructional and information design, specifically to design meaningful educational media supporting learners’ variability. Matheus Cezarotto, PhD Postdoctoral Researcher Department of Innovative Media, Research and Extension New Mexico State University matheus@nmsu.edu • innovativemedia.nmsu.edu • @macezarotto

Stacey Stearns Educational Program Administrator College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut stacey.stearns@uconn.edu

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Jennifer Cushman

Cristina Connolly, PhD

Cristina Connolly is an assistant professor at the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut. She has a Ph.D. in Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics. Her research areas are local and regional food systems and consumer preferences, and she also holds a partial appointment in the department of Extension.

Jennifer Cushman is Co-Center Coordinator and a 4-H Youth Development Associate Extension Educator at the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut. She oversees the Hartford County 4-H programs and provides leadership to the UConn 4-H program in the role of State 4-H Program Leader. She also coordinates the statewide 4-H dairy goat program. Jennifer holds a Sixth Year in Educational Leadership and M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction as well as a B.S. in Animal Science and Agriculture and Natural Resources, from UConn.

Jennifer Cushman Co-Center Coordinator & 4-H Youth

Cristina Connolly Assistant Professor College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut cristina.connolly@uconn.edu

Development Associate Extension Educator College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut jennifer.cushman@uconn.edu

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Robert Ricard, PhD

Barbara Chamberlin, PhD

Barbara Chamberlin has been developing educational games, media, and interactive programs with Extension for almost 30 years. She leads instructional design of digital tools in the department, working with the amazing programmers, artists and designers on the team and collaborating with content experts at universities throughout the United States. Her areas of research include user testing, and the processes behind developing educational media. She oversees research and development in the Learning Games Lab, and developed the game models used in design at the Lab.

Robert Ricard is a senior Extension educator at the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut. He is responsible for helping Connecticut cities and towns better manage public trees and forests, focusing mostly on municipal tree wardens and community forestry volunteers. He also helps educators and researchers conduct social science research design and methods. He conducts the Tree Warden School and assists the Tree Wardens Association of Connecticut, Inc., which he formed in 1992. He is co-author, with Glenn Dreyer, of Greening Connecticut Cities and Towns: Managing Public Trees and Community Forests. Robert has a Ph.D. in public policy with other degrees in forest resources. He is a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters.

Barbara Chamberlin, PhD Professor, Extension Specialist Department of Innovative Media, Research and Extension New Mexico State University bchamber@nmsu.edu • innovativemedia.nmsu.edu @bchamber

Robert Ricard, Ph.D. Senior Extension Educator College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut robert.ricard@uconn.edu

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A C K NOWL E D GM E N T S

In this publication, we document a project and the process used to design that project. This effort included a larger team of game designers and content experts. We gratefully acknowledge their significant roles in creating both the game prototype, and going through the design process articulated here:

University of Connecticut Joseph Bonelli, Sharon Gray, Michael Puglisi, PhD, Cindy Tian, PhD

New Mexico State University Pamela N. Martinez, EdD, Adrián Aguirre, David Abraham, Anastasia Hames, John “CC” Chamberlin, Philip McVann, Amy Smith Muise Funding Statement Funding for this project was made possible by the New Technologies for Agricultural Extension Program, the Extension Foundation, Northeast Ag Enhancement, and UConn Extension.

E X E CU T I V E S UMMA R Y

Purpose of the Guide. Educational games can be an innovative way for Extension educators to teach content to any given audience. While many in Extension have an interest and passion for using and designing games, the process may seem intimidating to Extension professionals, especially those without experience in game design. This publication offers an alternative to full game design, in which game developers, content experts, and Extension educators collaborate to design a game prototype. This modified game jam process is budget-friendly and can be completed in a few weeks.

CON T E X T

Educational games can be an innovative way for Extension educators to teach content to any given audience. Educational games have the potential to transform learners of different ages through unique experiences with interactive media. Unfortunately, game development can be costly in terms of time and budget. The process to design and develop an educational game requires an interdisciplinary and collaborative team, and can take from several months to a couple of years, depending on the game’s complexity. While many in Extension have an interest and passion for using and designing games, the process may seem intimidating to Extension professionals, especially those without experience in game design. This publication offers an alternative to full game design, in which game developers, content experts, and Extension educators collaborate to design a game prototype. This modified game jam process is budget- friendly and can be completed in a few weeks. Through this process, teams can  move through the design process to articulate transformational outcomes, refine their desired content, and create a framework for a larger-scale game;  produce a working prototype to enable testing with the intended audience and further refine design goals; and  establish working relationships for future partnerships in development. Using this approach, the authors created a game prototype, “Unpeeled: The Case Files of Maya McCluen,” which was used in a pilot study with focus groups, allowing the team to refine their recommendations for future research and development towards a full game. This publication shares the process the team used and offers recommendations for other Extension educators who want to explore game development as part of their outreach.

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I N T RO D U C T I ON

Extension educators looking for innovative ways to teach content to diverse audiences may consider using educational games. This interactive media has the potential to create meaningful learning experiences for a wide range of subjects and ages (Hsiao, Tsai, and Hsu, 2020; Trujillo et al., 2016; Ulery et al., 2020). Research overwhelmingly indicates that interactive multimedia learning tools can help audiences understand concepts better than traditional education practices can, and they are powerful mechanisms to create behavioral change (Dede, 2009; Gee, 2003). Empirical research also shows the effectiveness of multimedia game-based learning (Plass, Mayer, and Homer, 2019). Multimedia helps to visualize and engage users with specific content that is hard to convey with photos or video. These interfaces offer users multiple learning paths and conceptual reinforcement, providing opportunities for cognitive enhancement. The multimedia learning theory suggests that people learn better when words and images are used together (multimodal) (Mayer, 2009; Clark and Lyons, 2011). New Mexico State University (NMSU)’s team has been refining their educational media development process for over 30 years to meet the specialized needs of education and research projects. Their approach has similarities to the backward design approach outlined in Understanding by Design (UbD), including a focus on what intended groups need to know and an emphasis on practice that encourages adoption of new ideas, using key design questions to define the expected outcomes (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). Game design can be a lengthy process. Extension educators may have tremendous interest in using games for their educational outreach, but may find the cost or time commitments prohibitive. This publication provides ways educators can engage in game design, without the barriers of a full-length project. It describes game prototyping where developers, content experts, and researchers from the Learning Games Lab at NMSU and the University of Connecticut (UConn) Extension collaborated to teach consumers about non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods and labels. A content publication from this project on food marketing labels is available online (Stearns et al., 2021). Traditionally, a game jam is a two- or three-day rapid prototyping challenge used by teams of students or game developers to develop skills, explore several aspects of development at a cursory level, and create a working game. This team modified the traditional game jam model to include the instructional design of the content for the game, to expand the activity to a week, and to then include two weeks of follow-up development to polish the prototype and respond to feedback. The experience was a budget-friendly approach for designing a preliminary structure for the game, assessing needs and related issues, to then be able to propose a full game on the content and seek funding for development. This publication’s primary purpose is to share this modified gam jam process with content experts and other Extension educators who are interested in designing and researching educational games. It includes specifics on how the team used the model — including process, time, and budget — and provides recommendations on how the game jam structure can be used by others who want to explore game design without the full commitment of a complete game build. The team created a simple prototype of the game “Unpeeled: The Case Files of Maya McCluen,” and then used it in a pilot study with focus groups. The team is using feedback from that testing to refine their recommendations for future research and development of a full game. In addition, the project resulted in a process for the rapid prototyping of future games through the collaboration between developers and content experts. Extension educators can use the same process as a way to explore the outcomes they want for a potential game and brainstorm activities prompted by the game prototype. They can work through a game design, particularly if they have a small budget, as a way to understand what they want a game to accomplish and gather input from stakeholders. They will then have a clearer idea of what the finished game needs to be , be able to pitch their idea to funders, and be able to work with a professional development team to produce it. Game jams are a project accelerator that allows Extension educators to rapidly address audience needs

Who can benefit from this study?

The primary audience for this publication is content experts in Extension, those who are looking for new approaches to bring content to their clientele. This publication will allow Extension educators to

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 understand how collaboration between game developers and content experts leads to the design of educational games and media;  become aware of one instructional design process for refining educational goals for game design;  reflect on ways that game prototypes can be used to inform future game development ; and  receive recommendations on how to use the modified game jam model in their own work.

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Part 1: Game Design for Extension Audiences

Chal lenges for Extension in Game Design

Beginning with radio, then video, interactive media, and web delivery, Extension educators have embraced digital media to reach their clientele with research-based information. They have several options for development:  Many land-grant institutions have professional-quality communications units that have the capacity to create most digital media. Though game development isn’t as common as video and digital publications, communications units are gradually increasing their capacity for games and app development. The Learning Games Lab at NMSU is one such professional games design studio within Extension, and collaborates with extension educators and faculty at other universities on almost all of their projects. The Learning Games Lab functions as a non-profit design and production studio for educational projects.  As game development evolves as a career field, many design or computer science departments at universities include game design or programming as majors, and often engage in student-developed projects. These labs can provide an opportunity for Extension educators to collaborate on educational or transformational games . Consider that work in these types of environments is often completed by students — thus the work may have varying levels of quality, may not always be sustainable (as students graduate or move through finals). Talk with faculty in these labs to make sure your expectations meet the levels of quality student work can produce.  Extension can also collaborate with game design companies , many of which are now engaged in developing games that are designed to change their users in meaningful ways: often called educational, learning, serious, or transformational games. Game development can be time-consuming and costly —it isn’t uncommon f or it to start at $80,000, and the cost can easily extend to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the game, distribution and marketing needs, and research or evaluation demands of the funders. Games have tremendous advantages over other types of media: They can customize learning for each user, provide meaningful feedback, offer safe failure and engaging play, and help players apply what they understand in a meaningful context. However, the cost of game development suggests that games should be used for content that cannot be taught as effectively any other way. An intentional, research-based effort can ensure that the money and time invested in game development are used effectively. One challenge for Extension educators can be taking their first steps as game developers or co-designers when they don’t have experience designing for this unique medium. Development of a complete game requires more than a good idea; it should include five key processes:  a solid preparation process through which developers secure funding, assemble the team, and conduct initial research on the content and need (Schell, Chamberlin 2022);  a design process to articulate and refine learning goals and activities;  a development process in which the game is programmed, art assets are finalized, and extensive testing informs playability, interface, and engagement;  a marketing and distribution process to deliver the game to users and support its implementation for years after development; and  research processes throughout the entire cycle to inform development, test the product, and evaluate the game as an intervention.

Extension educators bring significant resources to the game design table: their research-based orientation serves them well in identifying the needs of their audience, refining content, and designing evaluation

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measures. This type of research is often done in the preparatory phases of game design: where they identify the need, propose educational intervention, and refine what needs to happen to create the change. As informal educators, Extension specialists and agents often have unique and valuable expertise in their clientele’s experiences and can articulate what has worked with content, and what hasn’t worked when it comes to changing behavior. Finally, at their core, Extension professionals are designers of educational experiences — from creating workshops to designing publications or writing scripts for media, Extension specialists and agents are centered in creating interventions that work. NMSU’s Learning Games Lab In the Innovative Media Research and Extension department, Extension educational technology experts and professional developers in the Learning Games Lab develop a wide range of digital media tools: video, animation, websites, virtual labs, apps, and games. Because of the unique nature of their work, they frequently partner with content experts at other universities and in the Extension network to create educational media in various disciplines, often funded by grants. They function like a non-profit, digital media studio. All of their work is research-based: from formative research to inform the interventions and test products throughout development, to summative research to measure the impact or document processes used. Because all products developed in the Learning Games Lab are designed to create some kind of a change in the user, the team traditionally uses a design summit to move through the educational design process. Developers, researchers, and content experts work together by immersing themselves in the content area and the tools used to address that content. Using the “Transformational Design Process” (Chamberlin & Schell, 2018), they refine the objectives to define the change needed in the user, identify what learners have to do to create that change, and discuss ways in which a game or other type of media can engage the user in the necessary actions. The design summit ends with documentation for all partners to review and a process for moving forward in production. The proposed work is often driven by specific parameters, such as the final budget or timeline. The team builds around who the audience is, the ways in which the product is used, and the scope of the work. The content experts or external clients have usually defined their initial goals, budget, and audience for the team, and they share that at the start of the design summit. Often, this design summit takes two or three days, but it can be done over the course of a few meetings. Once the design process is complete, the team usually moves into a production process, which can take several months, and then begins work on distribution, support, and marketing or placement of developed games. University of Connecticut (UConn) and Extension Foundation UConn received funding through the Extension Foundation’s New Technologies in Agricultural Extension (NTAE) program to create a game that educates consumers about food marketing labels. Expertise on the UConn team includes nutrition, biotechnology, agricultural production, youth development, and communications. The team focused on the non-GMO food marketing label and an intended audience of mothers and primary grocery shoppers who may be overspending on food with non-GMO marketing labels. The UConn team wanted to explore game-based learning as an educational outreach tool for the intended audience. Content experts from UConn Extension approached Extension developers from the NMSU Learning Games Lab with a request for a game. They had already established broad goals for what they wanted their game to accomplish. They wanted to do some initial design work with startup funding to better understand what kinds of outcomes their game could lead to and to define the scope (and ultimately the budget and timeline) of a larger effort. They also wanted to review initial ideas for games with potential learners and refine who their audience should be. Given their budget of less than $12,000 and a timeline of only a few months, the combined team agreed to engage in a design prototyping project, rather than a full development project.

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The Team NMSU and UConn researchers began to talk about the best process for meeting their goals. One of the contributing factors to the success of the project was the collaboration across two universities, several disciplines, and different areas of contribution. Often, we use the term design to refer to several aspects: instructional design, graphic design, project design. The term content can also refer to multiple aspects: content can be the educational information conveyed in interventions, as well as the collections of assets in a project (such as the sound files, graphic files). While the team sees all participants on this project as having expertise in some area of content, and in some aspect of design, we know it is helpful to understand the different groups involved, and the roles they played. In this publication, we use these terms to differentiate the different groups who collaborated.  The team : The combined team from NMSU and UConn who collaborated on designing the process, creating the overall game, finalizing decisions, and documenting results.  The content experts: The UConn Extension researchers who investigated the need, proposed a game as the intervention, and provided research-based guidance on which audience to target and what kind of behavioral and other changes they wanted to see in that audience. The team included a variety of content expertise: nutrition, biotechnology, agricultural production, youth development, and communications. They also did user testing and researching with the game prototype.  The designers : The NMSU developers who designed the game and produced assets, which included two programmers, three artists and animators, and three instructional designers. The design team translated content guidance and initial discussions into the design of a game and developed assets. The designers produced the prototype.

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Part 2: Game Jam

Traditional Game Jams Game jams are events where students and professionals from game-related fields get together as a team to rapidly prototype and develop a game in a short time. Usually taking place in a 48-hour competition format and with a specific problem or theme to be addressed, a game jam provides participants an open, entertaining, and creative space to foster innovative ideas (Guevara-Villalobos, 2011, Preston et al., 2012). The biggest and most well-known jam is the Global Game Jam. This jam happens every year, engaging simultaneous participants from six continents and more than 100 countries. In the Global Game Jam, all participants receive a theme and then create a game around that theme. Jam events give participants an immediate and collaborative environment and a safe space for risk-taking and failure. These features provide participants experiences such as professional development and network building, learning new tools, and opportunities to experience new approaches, techniques, or roles. The immersive approach of a jam can inform research, bringing developers and content experts in Extension together to work on developing educational media in a short time. Rapid prototyping in a game jam can help teams advance quickly through a design process, moving them into consensus about desired outcomes and implementation. In a game jam with a short time frame, the game design and production process are expedited with the entire team, and the playable prototype represents the final product for the event. This version of the game is still not the final design, but it is closer to a “beta” version of the game, a fully functional game that may still need improvements in art, mechanics, sound, etc. Game jams are not unique in rapid prototyping approaches: immediate prototype jams have been successfully used in other design methodologies, such as Agile (McGuire, 2006). Using Agile as a management structure for game design, teams work towards a larger game by working on smaller sprints, which may include rapid development cycles and development of quick prototypes. These methodologies focus on a more adaptive and people-centric process (avoiding too much top-down management), allowing smaller teams to solve game design problems in a more frequent iteration process (Chamberlin, Trespalacios, Gallagher, 2014; Fullerton, 2008). Often, game jams are viewed as a singular event, rather than a small part of a larger process. Much of the challenge of a game jam is in completing all of the processes from ideation through brainstorming and on to prototyping into a short period of time, which should always yield a playable game, rather than one part of a larger game.

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Part 3: This Modified Game Jam

Needs for the Process The general approach of a game jam seemed to fit the non-GMO project, but it missed some key aspects of the development of an educational game, and had to do additional development after the initial jam. This team modified the game jam format to meet their specific goals: to move a combined team of content experts and game developers quickly through a design process, allowing them to do the following:  Refine the problem and audience: Based on previous research, the team wanted to articulate the intended audience for the game and what problem this audience faces when learning the content.  Specify transformational outcomes: The team needed to define how the intended audience would be different after using the game, including the kind of behavioral and other changes the team wanted to see the users make.  Refine content: The team needed to decide which content could be included in a game and the scope of the information that the audience could process and that would fit within the constraints of a game.  Produce a playable prototype: To inform future work and secure funding, the team wanted a working version of the game, which could then be tested with the intended audience and could be a model to help funders understand what a full version would look like.  Establish a framework for the development of a full game: The team wanted to complete the game jam with a picture of the team’s next steps, such as a budget and timeline for the full game, and research needs before moving forward. They also wanted to establish working relationships among developers and content experts to contribute to future partnerships and co-development.

This team collaboration was entirely online because of their size and the fact that team members lived in three states — COVID-19 regulations also had limited travel options. Prior to the pandemic, the team would likely have requested that this collaborative week happen in person. However, based on the success of this project it is clear that the necessarily collaboration is possible with remote teams working online.

Process Overview The team identified the key activities that would help them meet their goals. They started with a week-long game jam, and determined what follow-up work and meetings would need to happen after that jam. Going into the experience, the content experts had broad goals regarding what content would be addressed, but they knew this needed to be flexible to meet what was doable in a prototype. They also knew they wanted to leave with some version of a game for their stakeholders to see, but they weren’t sure if it would be a fully playable prototype or just a description of the game. Finally, they expected that some amount of work would need to be done as a result of stakeholder feedback. They collaborated with the designers to propose these activities for the modified game jam process:

Activity 1: Engage in an Educational Design Process

The team would use transformational design as a framework to guide the instructional design process. The content experts would begin by giving a content overview to the game developers, reviewing what was known about the content, what learners didn’t understand about it and related products used to teach the content, and why they felt an educational initiative was needed. The content experts and designers would then collaborate to articulate the following:  the desired changes for the audience (such as changes in physiology, emotion, behavior, skill, and/or knowledge)  activities that create the desired changes

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 the types of engagement a game could use to engage the player in the defined activities (Chamberlin & Schell, 2018)

In full game development projects, the team starts with a multi-day summit. The team anticipated starting the jam with this process and having flexibility to see when they would be able to move to the next step. During this process, the team designed and discussed a full version of the game, envisioning what the game could look like if lim ited funding and time weren’t barriers .

Activity 2: Decide on Final Deliverables from Jam

It is difficult to predict what the outcome of a game jam could be until some amount of design is complete. For example, if the team reviews content needs and decides on a modular game, a prototype could show one of the paths of the larger project. If the game is more complex and difficult to show a single path, it might be better for the team to create concept art and a trailer that demonstrates how the game could work rather than a playable prototype. The team agreed to discuss their prototype after talking about what a larger game could look like. It can be difficult for the team to brainstorm what the full game would be if they feel pressured to create a prototype first. By deciding to commit to the deliverables after the design process, the team was freed to brainstorm the best version of a full game and then decide what the output of the shorter jam would be.

Activity 3: Produce Deliverables

Once the team agreed on what the full game would be and what kind of prototype they could create in one week, the designers started producing the prototype. The designers were comfortable creating different types of products: such as a written design document, a slide deck that is used as a pitch, sample artwork, a trailer showing possible gameplay, a paper prototype, and digital prototypes. The content team agreed that once the designers knew what their deliverable would be, they would commit the remainder of the week to producing that deliverable. This should be done as a large group, as the designers can predict what is doable with the time left in the jam, and the content experts know what they need to do to meet the goals of their funded project and pitch completion of the full project.

Activity 4: Gather Feedback

Throughout early planning, both groups knew there were outstanding questions about who would play and give feedback on the prototype:

 What is the ideal length of time for play in the environment they had proposed?  How open would players be to the messages about the content?  Should content offer in-depth studies of one or two products or give a broader review of concepts?

The content experts knew they wanted an opportunity to get feedback on the product from their colleagues and from other stakeholders. The decision to include an opportunity to gather feedback through an online survey and user testing was important for the process, so that designers had a clear understanding of the audience for their prototype, the delivery medium, and the level of compilation required to make it viable.

Activity 5: Polish and Refine

Finally, the team knew that the last step would be to make changes to the prototype before the content experts were able to use the prototype for future funding. In advance, the team agreed that some work would have to be done after the game jam to polish and refine it before sending it for feedback and to make small changes to the product to reflect the feedback. The team agreed on how long they would spend after the game jam prioritizing and supporting post-game jam changes.

Differences from Traditional Game Jam Formats

With the necessary steps defined, the team also knew that the proposed game jam would differ from traditional game jams in a number of ways:

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 A combined team of developers and Extension educators: Where other game jams often have multiple teams working towards a theme, this jam had only one team, which included developers from the Learning Games Lab (NMSU); and researchers from UConn Extension as content experts.  No competition: Unlike other Game Jams, this jam was not a contest. The team worked collaboratively on the same project, delivering a single prototype at the end.  Online format: The entire jam event occurred online, with larger meetings (with developers and content experts) and small group meetings (developers only) collaborating via Zoom. During the game jam week, the combined team met daily for 1-3 hours either to establish initial goals, or review discussion. The smaller design team would then meet and collaborate the remainder of the work day (and near the end of the week, chose to spend 10-14 hours to finish a working prototype by the end of the week).  Week-long process: Instead of happening in two or three days, this project took place primarily during one week; developers and content experts met daily to work towards goals and then continued to work collaboratively offline.  Transformational content: Some game jams may include serious or educational games. As with other Extension educational initiatives, this team researched what kind of content would lead to the behavioral and other changes they wanted to see in their audience.  Interdisciplinary collaboration: This jam format gave the combined and interdisciplinary team ways to test ideas, shape future research, understand the game development process, and build partnerships.

With key goals refined and activities identified for the modified game jam, the combined development team set a time for their game jam and began the process.

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Part 4: Case Study of Unpeeled In a week-long game jam and a few hours of follow- up work, the team designed “Unpeeled: The Case Files of Maya McCluen.” This game prototype teaches consumers about food marketing labels, mainly non -GMO labels. The intended game audiences are mothers and primary grocery shoppers who may be overspending money on food with non-GMO and other food marketing labels. Schedule The modified game jam occurred during a week-long, online format over Zoom. To avoid day-long Zoom fatigue, the team agreed that they would devote most of the days of the full week to activities for development on the project and meet one or two times as a large group each day. There were two kinds of meetings: large meetings with the entire team of designers and content experts and small meetings solely with designers. While the main meetings were held over Zoom, participants also interacted through chat software (e.g. Basecamp) and collaborated online in documents (e.g. Google Drive, Google Docs) to refine ideas during the week. This format could be replicated for in-person projects, depending on team preferences and needs. The larger team participated in all five proposed activities throughout the week: engaging in the design process, deciding what the final deliverables would be, producing the prototype, gathering feedback, and polishing and refining the prototype. They were spread throughout the initial week and post-jam activities.

Table 1. Game Jam Schedule

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Post Jam

Activity 1 Engage in design process Activity 2 Decide on final deliverables from Jam

Activity 3 Produce deliverables

Activity 4 Gather feedback

Activity 5 Polish and refine

Content Immersion

Idea • Game

Production • Script

Production • Script

Playable prototype • Discussion • Feedback • List of changes

Post Jam • List of changes • User testing findings • Future steps

• Problem • Audience • Objectives Transforma- tional Design Model • Changes • Activities • Game ideas

premise • Expected outcomes • Script • Sketches • Mood board Pitch • Presentation • Feedback

improvement • Art assets • Programming

improvement • Art assets • Programming

Follow-up plans • User

testing plan

• Future steps

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Monday | Activity 1: Engage in Design Process & Activity 2: Decide on Final Deliverables from Jam

Designers and content experts joined the first Zoom meeting of the jam. Participants introduced themselves and shared their interests and expectations for the project.

To start the project and establish project definitions, the team worked on “Activity 1: Engage in Design Process.” This activity began with content experts giving a short presentation reviewing their outcomes and desires based on their research, immersing designers in the content. This presentation fostered discussions and allowed the group to outline the problem, audience, and objective (Table 1).

Table 2. Project Definitions and Deliverables

Project Definitions

“Unpeeled” Game

Problem: The problem represents the main issue that the team is trying to address with the project. In other words, what problem does the intended audience face when learning the content? Audience: The intended audience for the project includes the people who will use the game and in what kind of environment or setting.

Consumers have trouble understanding food labels and are perhaps overspending because of misinformation about “natural,” “organic,” and non-GMO food labels. • Moms ages 25 -40 with kids at home (do grocery shopping for the family), particular focus on lower-income shoppers • To be used possibly in large group workshops and training settings at existing Extension programs

• Short (15 minutes) and replayable rather than a one-time, longer experience.

Objectives: Objectives are the measurable change in the players of the game.

• Clarify consumers’ common misconceptions of food labels (“non - GMO,” “natural,” “organic”) • Empower consumers to make confident grocery shopping decisions based on their needs.

With the problem, intended audience, and project objectives loosely defined, the team moved into the design process. One of the designers shared the transformational design process and led the group in a discussion about the first of three steps in the transformational game design model “Describe the Change” (Table 3). The team reviewed the five key kinds of changes in people (changes in physiology, emotion, behavior, skill, and knowledge) and which were most relevant to the needs of this game. In small groups (Zoom breakout rooms), participants discussed possible changes and defined specific types of changes desired (Figure 1) . They returned to the large group and discussed the second step in design: “Define the doing.” In this step, they talked through the kinds of activities indivi duals need to do to be able to experience change, such as reading labels and comparing that information with what they already know about what can and can’t be a GMO crop. In small groups, the teams talked about the desired change, and

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Figure 1: Google Document with notes on intended changes for the audience, built collaboratively by the team.

had more discussion about what a learner needs to do to be able to change. In the large group, the teams shared what they had discussed, and then they prioritized the desired changes and activities. It’s important to note that often in the design step, it’s useful to identify what the game will not try to do . For example, in this jam, the team felt strongly that all shoppers execute some level of judgment in prioritizing their shopping behavior, and the game shouldn’t try to establish what those priorities are; rather, they wanted to make sure that the shopper had information to make the decisions that aligned with their values. This helped the team limit the scope of the game, ultimately deciding to focus on just a couple of GMO crops.

Throughout the first Monday meeting, the team collaborated on a group design document, noting decisions and discussions. Before adjourning the large group, the team began “Activity 2: Decide on Final Deliverables from Jam.” In this discussion, the larger team balanced the expectations and needs from the content experts with what was doable for the designers to produce in a week of work. The team articulated how they could expand the prototype in future projects and the need for the prototype to be playable (at least a portion of it) to allow user testing with the intended audience, to inform research. The larger team would not be happy with paper documents: they really wanted a playable experience for consumers. The larger team adjourned, and a smaller designers’ group continued to meet so that they could move into the third design step: “Design the engagement” (Table 2). Using the decisions documented during the larger meeting, the smaller team of designers worked towards a proposal idea to pitch to the large group on Tuesday, the second day of the game jam. Designers brainstormed several ideas, culminating in a game around a fact-finding mission during which the player would shop in stores, get help reading labels, experience surprise about what content was and wasn’t on the label, and could make decisions that aligned with their own values. Designers decided to use a film noir approach for the game idea, creating a script/proposal and producing initial sketches to illustrate the idea: a detective helping puzzled consumers investigate food labels. This idea was good because it met the defined change goals and activities that the larger group had articulated; it also lent itself to an easy prototype — just one example of an episode that could be expanded into a larger game in the full version.

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Table 3. Transformational Game Design Model

Steps

Decisions

1.

Describe the Change: Identify a desired change for the audience, such as in physiology, emotion, behavior, skill, and or knowledge.

• Clarify common misconceptions, such as those about GMO products.

• Understand that labels are valuable, but marketing may cause misconceptions.

• People have different opinions, needs, and priorities: labels try to help all of them. It is up to me to determine what I need and where I want to spend money.

2.

Define the Doing: Think of likely activities to create that change in the audience.

• Allow game users to prioritize their own shopping goals: for example, saving money, buying organic, or aligning shopping practices to “what I care about.” • Clarify what makes a product GMO or what can’t be GMO, and connect that with the user’s shopping practices. • Allow users to practice reading labels and applying what they learn about GMO crops and what can’t be a GMO crop. • Give users opportunity to experience surprise at misleading labels.

3.

Design the Engagement: Work through ideas for creating the game, articulating the changes and the activities into an experience.

A sleuth-themed shopping game in which a player solves mysteries about labels by getting source information from growers, nutritionists, and other science-based sources.

On the first day, the combined team met for three hours to go through the design process. The smaller team of developers met for the remainder of the day. The subsequent schedule followed a similar pattern: Each day, the combined, larger team of developers and content experts would meet for a couple of hours, and then the smaller team of developers would work eight to 14 hours to discuss and develop.

Tuesday | Activity 3: Produce Prototype

Designers met to discuss and refine the idea before pitching it to the larger group. They improved the initial script (Table 4), fleshed out a few sketches (e.g. character, product – see Figure 2), and curated a mood board with visual references supporting the idea. In the second meeting of the day, content team members joined developers for their pitch presentation. Content experts provided feedback (e.g. positive and negative aspects of the idea, concerns) and approved the idea. With content experts’ approval, designers met again to discuss, incorporated the feedback, and started working on the game art assets and programming, which represent “Activity 3: Produce Prototype.”

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