Changing Needs of Our Users
Is your tutorial getting old? Does it really suit an audience of mostly Millennials? Librarians know that Millennials learn, read, and even play differently than librarians do. Librarians at George Washington University's Gelman Library decided to bridge that gap by venturing beyond traditional point-click-read tutorials and jumping into gaming.
As pedagogical techniques have evolved more and more to emphasize critical thinking and collaborative learning, the presenters determined that these valuable learning tools could be integrated into a gaming environment. This entailed reaching beyond the library to collaborate with a computer scientist and a graphic designer, and to consult with their main audience, the University Writing Program, in creating a Massively Multi-Player Online Game (MMOG) for teaching the research process.
A lesson learned is that innovation takes time. In the year since the idea for this game took root, the presenters have researched and become versant in gaming principles and technologies. A game scenario and framework has been created from scratch, and, in keeping with the University Writing Program, the Library's pedagogical goals have been clarified. A myriad of challenges from developing the game, including communicating across disciplines, to negotiating among the limits and promises of new technology, to redefining conceptions of information literacy, and to walking the line between fun and learning have been addressed but are still challenges. The presenters will share the why and how of creating a serious game for Millennials and how three librarians, and one gamer made this a reality.