A Phenomenology of Fostering Learning: Alternate Reality Games and Transmedia Storytelling
Author(s)Wakefield, Jenny S
Alternate Reality Games
Games for Learning
Lived Experiences, Simulations
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AbstractThis dissertation presents the essence of the experience of instructional designers and instructors who have used alternate reality games (ARGs) and transmedia storytelling (TS) for teaching and learning. The use of game-like narratives, such as ARGs and TS, is slowly increasing. However, we know little about the lived experiences of those who have implemented such transmedia experiences in formal or informal learning. The data consists of written transcripts from interviews with 11 co-researchers in the United States and Europe. Phenomenology was the guiding methodology. The study begins by reviewing storytelling and the use of games in learning, leading up to exploring the tradition of using ARGs and TS in learning contexts. The analysis was one of reduction leading to codes, summary stories, themes, and the essence of the experience. Co-researchers used many techniques to enlighten their learners including problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, encouragement, disruption, and connection-making. When successful, connection-making facilitates learner agency development by providing learners with the power to act by their own initiative. Action came through the communicated narratives and games that closely tied to real-world problems. In the context of these efforts, this study's co-researchers emerged as educational life-world learning-coaches, "sensei", who were each using strategies and techniques to move students toward meaningful real-world learning and the ability to make a difference in the world. The dissertation closes by exploring implications of this study for instructional designers and instructors interested in using alternate reality games and transmedia storytelling for teaching and learning purposes.
TypeThesis or Dissertation