Narrative for Motivation and Meaning Making

Examples from the Universe of LEGO High Tech Toys

Olga Timcenko

This paper analyzes examples of using narratives in the universe of LEGO multimedia children toys. As these toys require a certain amount of technological knowledge that average children do not posses or might have difficulties to obtain, narratives are successfully used for making children interested in the specific challenges and for motivating them to start on the learning curve. I argue that narratives could potentially have significantly broader implementation, allowing for actual learning of mechanical constructions, computer programming, and other technical contents in a more efficient and joyful way, motivating and engaging even those children not initially inclined towards abstract thinking. I believe that research efforts in this area could be fruitful.

Series:

Henrik Schoenau-Fog, Lise Busk Kofoed, Lars Reng and Olga Timcenko

Abstract

Game-oriented learning has proven to have many possibilities for supporting better learning outcomes. Using the right educational or commercial games in the classroom has shown to be a great learning motivator. Now new development tools and supporting software have made it easier to build games. When students work with game development, they often end up in activities that are very similar or even identical to those done by professionals in the industry. Setting up a learning environment where education can simulate a real production of meaningful games, can give students experience and knowledge about all aspects connected to producing a purposeful game and might give students a new motivational support. This chapter is based on two experiments of Purposive Game Productions (PGP), conducted in 2014 and 2016. The learning environment was designed as a virtual game production team. The pedagogical approach is Problem-Based Learning (PBL) combined with a design-based learning strategy founded on a production-oriented game development, which did show successful results. The students have increased their motivation as well as developed special knowledge and experiences about game development, while getting an experience very close to a real professional production process. The PGP learning strategy seems both sufficient and demanding for the students. The chapter is finalized with a best practice framework including a list of requirements to consider when running a problem-based and production oriented project work based on game oriented learning.