Moving up to the next level – adapting video games design to games-based learning


For me, the two most immediate are

…games should be easy to learn but hard to master


Learning achievement is rewarded

Games should be easy to learn but hard to master

  • Keep it simple
  • Make it representative
  • Allow more than one way to ‘win’

I think I am starting to make some  progress on ‘easy to learn, hard to master’, with a couple of the hitting & fielding games e.g. Jailbreak; Last Man Standing.

Both are simple to understand and play, and, with appropriate rule modifications, can offer technical and tactical challenges to the batters — hit long and run, play safe and get a ‘free walk’.

Both games could be made more representative by allowing the players to bowl more — with the youngest groups, this might have to wait until their bowling improves, but we can take a step in the right direction by having the coaches bowl (from their knees, perhaps, to better represent the release point of U9 bowlers).

Learning achievement is rewarded

For video games, this would equate to opening up new, more challenging, levels.

This needs work for the practice games, but I can see some areas where it is being introduced, slowly.

For example, in Chance to Shine sessions, I like to open with a simple pairs catching challenge – 

  1. stand at arm’s length from your partner (“cricket always starts with a handshake” — ‘shake your partner’s hand, let go, now you are the perfect distance apart to start catching’)
  2. take 5 catches then
  3. take a big step back
  4. take 5 more catches then
  5. take another step back
  6. repeat

How far apart can you get and still take a catch?  But you have to complete the ‘easy’ levels (close catches) before you can move up to the harder ones.

In an All Stars bowling activity last week, we tried a ‘levels’ approach:

  1. Hit the stumps anyhow – underarm/overarm; throwing/bowling
  2. Hit the stumps bowling overarm with a straight arm
  3. Move further away from the target, and try again

Not as successful, perhaps because clattering over the stumps with an underarm throw, from 5m, is so much more satisfying than just grazing the wicket with a perfect overarm delivery from 10m, even though the latter is a actually ‘better’ in terms of cricket ‘performance’.

Maybe we should start with 6 stumps, then take one or more away as the player moves up the levels, to increase the challenge.

So what to do with the more advanced batting & fielding games?

Jailbreak: We could try adopting dynamic jail break zones (moving the jbz to a more remote spot) or by making them smaller.

Last Man Standing: Perhaps we can try offering the batters additional ‘lives’ – if they hit a target zone (and get home) they earn an additional ‘life’; place a cone on the bat handle to denote extra lives?

Lots to think about.

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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