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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