How you learned to learn

The convergence of instructional designing and game designing is on the horizon. Now is the time to begin imagining what those immersive learning experiences will be like. Second Life (SL) provides a design vocabulary for one kind of mashup between gaming and instructional design. Multiverse is the start of giving us the tools to create cyberworlds of our own design. The tooling around we do will yield more valuable learning outcomes if we have envisioned the use of such tools in advance.

Imagine you enter a game through an Orientation Island like in SL. But instead of obtaining notecards and going through tutorials, you enter an obstacle course on the island. Each obstacle presents a failed learning outcome. There's a variety of misunderstandings, over-reactions and superficial comprehension that block your progress and challenge your abilities. You respond as you see fit. You rely on your own epistemic frames to "try harder or try smarter" to clear up each problematic learning outcome.

The game mechanics score your responses and determine which island to send you to next. If you learned how to learn by the passive learning of expert indoctrination, you go the Meaningless Life Island. If you learned how to learn by skill building exercises and habit formation routines, you go the Productive Life Island. If you learned how to learn by coaching others and helping others realize their own understanding in a "community of practice", you go to the Connected Life Island. If you learned how to learn by gaming and inventing your strategy as you play, you go the Creative Life Island.

On the Meaningless Life Island, you will experience being a slave to others' authority (as you can do in SL). You will comply with imposed directives, submit to their control, and subjugate your will to higher ups. On the Productive Life Island, you will build what you will (as you can do in SL). On the Connected Life Island, you will collaborate with others, form new communities and serve a larger purpose (as you can do in SL). On the Creative Life Island, you can create games like this and entice others to immerse themselves in learning by playing.

To move from Meaningless Life Island to Productive Life Island, you will formulate a life of your own while slaving away at imposed tasks and recuperating in the slave quarters. Once you've developed enough goals in mind to build productively, you'll be transported to the next island. To move from the Productive Life Island to the Connected Life Island, you will take time out from building to relate, listen, understand and serve others. Once you've repaired enough disconnects and made enough connections, you will be transported. To move from the Connected Life Island to the Creative Life Island, you will take time from collaborating to build an inventory of change models and developmental stages. Once you've established the epistemic frames to design learning games, you will wink out of the Connected Life Island and magically appear in the Creative Life Island.

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