January 7, 2016

Letter from Authors


The History

The idea for GOBLIN originates from over a year ago when I (Keegan) was thinking about faculty and staff trainings that I wanted to develop. At the time, I was looking to create professional development material around the idea: “What do games have to teach us about learning?” After finishing up development on similar projects, Mobile Blogging & Scholarship and Lynda.com Course Integration, I was ready to tackle what would eventually become GOBLIN.

At the start of development, I asked myself, “how do you teach gamification, game-based learning, difficulty curves, etc. to faculty?” Especially when such topics are not perceived in the same prestige as something like integrating instructional videos into a course? Being a firm believer of constructivist and experiential theories of learning, I knew I wanted to develop professional development that would give participants an experiences of these topics. What better way to demonstrate “what games can teach us about learning” than using a game?

Now I was on the path to create GOBLIN.

Once, I determined I was going to be developing a game, the project started to solidify. I narrowed down the topics I wanted to cover in the training. I established the branding of Games Offer Bold Learning Insights Nowadays (GOBLIN). And I started brainstorming what a game to teach about learning would look like.

As you can imagine, the scale of this project quickly grew beyond what I could complete in a timely manner on my own.

Enter John Stewart.

I had been working with John on Mobile Blogging & Scholarship for several months at this point. Since we shared a love for learning, educational technology, and for games, it quickly became apparent that we were perfect partners for this project!

A few meetings later and we were cooperatively building GOBLIN.

The development process was three-fold (or more) at this point. We were exploring and determining the content we wanted to use, we were developing the mechanics of the game, and we were writing the adventure that tied everything together.

Expansion, reduction, development, simplification, and many iterations later we had come to a definite plan for GOBLIN (version 1.0).

And so continued the primary task of creating GOBLIN’s content, game, and story, while simultaneously initiating the axillary tasks of developing a website, creating game pieces, and marketing (to name a few). Eventually, GOBLIN was in a state to start prototyping and play-testing. So, John and I followed a rapid-prototyping development model for the remainder of time we had to develop.

More to GOBLIN

While the thought of gamifying an entire class or even elements of a class will be daunting for many, we have designed GOBLIN to include more universal and applicable concepts.  Well designed games introduce game mechanics and then increase the difficulty of tasks to encourage mastery of those mechanics.  They encourage team work, challenging players to combine the strengths and overcome the weaknesses of team members.  They allow you to lose and to learn from that failure to improve.  By adapting these lessons for the classroom, we will improve student engagement and help students master the skills to succeed in college.

We hope that the design of GOBLIN will be more entertaining and provide better transference of skills than more traditional lecture- or seminar-based workshops. The whole point of the project is to think about how we can create more active and engaging environments that motivate students to learn.

We have built this website as an aide to those currently participating in the workshops and also as an Open Educational Resource for those who are not.  While, we intend to run this series as often as we can find a handful of folks to participate, we hope to reach a far larger audience outside the campus of OU.

We encourage anyone visiting the site to run their own versions of Goblin by using the site or by building and improving their own forked version.  To that end, we have used the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license throughout the site to assure users that they are welcome to use and adapt any material presented as long as they attribute it and don’t charge money for it.  Let us know if you want help in playing the game, using the resources, or adapting the workshops in whatever way suits you best.