Still serious about delivering content?

Yesterday, Mark Berthelemy gave us a comprehensive answer to "how is content dead?" This was not sweeping condemnation or diatribe. He nailed the coffin closed incisively and superbly. I'll simply throw a bouquet on the top.

Imagine your audience of learners, trainees, students or attendees already has experience. They have each role played over a hundred different characters. They have hours of practice outfitting their avatar with abilities and resources. They have experimented with different combinations of traits and observed how those choices affected other role players' interactions and one's own outcomes. They know what the letters "MMORPG" stand for (**) and know which ones are the most fun, best challenges and more fulfilling scenarios.

What are the chances they see real people are pretenders? 100%? How can they take their own act seriously when they have changed their traits more times and ways than they can recall. Why wouldn't they expect us to "act like we're acting" and stop pretending we're serious? They must wonder why we don't stop morphing into the same avatar with no settings to adjust, no combinations of resources to explore, and no recognition of other's game face.

So when we are covering material, presenting information or delivering content, they must be astonished. When do they get to pretend to be engaged this process? How do they get to strut their arsenal in the midst of this ordeal? When do they get to confront this assault to their agendas, do battle with this creepy monster, or test the strength of this somewhat clueless, but aggressive warrior?

Why are we in a position of power with no magic spells, weapons or exceptional endurance? What kind of Sim are we that insists on acting the same way all the time? How can we think we are succeeding when the way they keep score says we are accumulating significant penalties and no points in the game. Which beginner level are we still playing on and when will we face the next set of challenges on our own quests?

** massively multiplayer online role play games

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  1. Thanks for the tag Tom.

    For anyone who is a "traditional" learning deliverer your scenario is really quite scary. How do we learn to communicate with people who have such different experiences to us?

    I must admit, I've never tried a MMORPG - but then I wasn't into Dungeons and Dragons either.

    I can see how the YouTube/iTunes generation is pretty ubiquitous now - how large is the group involved involved in MMORPG's? It's certainly not hitting the mainstream media in the UK so much.

  2. Mark: I agree it's scarry until there's a way to get oriented in this world view. I also have not immersed myself in D&D, Sims or MMORPG's, but I've had the fun of contemplating some implications of their popularity. Here's a few ideas to help alleviate anxiety and provide a familiar frame of reference for this unfamiliar change:

    Theater plays and films occasionally show a masquerade ball (Amadeus, Phantom of the Opera) where no one is recognizable. Halloween and costume parties have the same effect. What if that's true of life? What if this is a masquerade where we can be any character we choose and never see the real spirit within?

    We are not the same person in all the places we show up in a week. We change roles, personas or character to deal with the variety of situations we join. We would be monstrous if we treated our spouse like a salesperson, kids like a stock clerk, clients like relatives or employers like traffic congestion. When are we being real? Are we ever really or always fake?

    When we read or write fiction stories, we are inventing characters and arcs where they change through the story. How is that different from who we are being? What makes life non-fiction? What keeps us from inventing ourselves like we are writing fiction and seeing others as doing the same?

    When we start a new job, we are not the same person we were at the old job. We change to fit in, rise to the challenge and leave our previous reputation behind us. How is that different from what we do in every course we take, new person we meet or different place we shop? Aren't we being different in each situation like it's a new job?