Ming the Mechanic:
Learning by Dying

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Learning by Dying2004-07-27 20:05
picture by Flemming Funch

Bernie DeKoven on e-playing and e-learning, via Doc Searls:
I call it "learning by dying" and I think it's probably one of the most powerful contributions that eplaying has for elearning. The most fun and efficient way to master most computer games is to play until you get killed, and remember what killed you. You usually have a few lives to sacrifice to learning. And you can always start over. This approach to learning has given most young people so much confidence in their competencies that, when confronted by a new game or new technology, they hardly ever need to look at the instructions.
That is indeed a different way of learning. Different from what I grew up with. My kids quite obviously prefer to learn a different way than I. Is it better? For some purposes it obviously is. And more fun. And maybe the educational system needs to better catch on to this whole thing.

Learning by Dying. Something kind of disturbing about that, though. Although, it is maybe closer to how nature works than any other educational system we've cooked up. Maybe we need to recycle ourselves more often. Speed up evolution.

Anyway, he also quotes from an article Online Learning and Fun, about:
"...the concept of meaningful failure. A player learns through trial and error and especially from mistakes, trying a different approach to accomplish the task at hand. Games often provide multiple opportunities and methods for a player to succeed. If a player fails using one approach, there are other ways to solve the problem. e-learning can leverage this gaming approach, offering multiple means of solving problems to encourage exploration and learning from failure."
Yeah, we need to fail more often. Fail in the good and meaningful way. Gotta know how to die, and be reborn, stronger and smarter. The faster the better. We're too stuck in things we really ought to drop and move on from. Go to the next level.

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27 Jul 2004 @ 21:00 by bushman : Yep :}
I started with Quake Team fortress online. Alot different kind of game, from programed enemies. You are fighting other humans somewhere in the world, you learn fast, lol. Yep, the kids are fast, we had 6 and 7 year olds kick our butts, lol. Too bad it's mostly war and killing, but there are a few games online you got to pay to play, that are roll playing on a massive scale, like D&D one of the oldest, hone your avitar type game, that started out as a homemade board game. So a good vid game to learn math might be, you have to get to Mars, save your friend and make it back, and if you blow it alot, the first thing you learn is to save your game alot, lol. I think vid game classes would accually work, since the game would have to be huge, and online 24/7, you make it thru the levels in your own time, and once you make it to the final battle in that level, they cut you off from the net, and you fight it on your own, you win the reconetion to your team, if you lose the test at the end of the level, you have your chat logs/notes to read thru, and try again, if you lose again you get one more chance and connection to one tutor/sage chosen at random. Then you try again, if you lose, then you are reconnected to the game from the end of the level you last passed, and have to do it all over again. It would be quite the complicated game, but it could be done, as one single huge game with all the stuff you need to learn in your age group or levels, like kindergarten would be level T for training on how the game is played, pass that, then level 1, and so on. You would have classmates or team members, other people on the same quest as you, anyway you look at it , it could be quite cool. Just useing it for job training would be great. But, the kids are pretty fast. And if they can do 3 levels a year , so be it, we could have kid doctors like Doogie Howser, lol. :}  

28 Jul 2004 @ 12:08 by Sellitman @ : Evolution
Good find, Ming (I like the eclectic quality of your posts.) Bernie DeKoven is on to something here with regard to youth (or maybe just with life, plain and simple.) This is so interesting. Remember Emily Vonnessa's comment on Sandi Hunter's blog, 22 Apr 2004 @ 12:57?

"...maybe Ray is right about me and maybe I am a high school student afterall. So don't expect to see me sitting on "credentials" and lecturing others about the truth. It' s not my game either. Being a high school student also means that I haven’t gotten "wise" enough to start to interpret and evaluate the world in terms of a consolidated catechism of "received wisdom" (or "tunnel vision"— who is to say?) Thank you for small blessings...lol... People with "credentials" sometimes tend to assume that there is only one "right" way to look at or feel about anything, and that if they talk long enough ("specifically" enough,) other will understand the "truth." The paradox is that they also often tend at the same time to make generalized conclusions in such a way that new experiences have to fit their old conclusions or remain ignored. Dogmatism does tend to creep on all of us as we grow up, we also become more experienced and more knowledgeable, too; I suppose there is a give and take. Does it make us wiser? Yes and...no, is the answer. I suppose, it makes it a good thing then that there is death taking us away before we become too settled in our ways...lol...and birth, and spring, with new growth every year."  

28 Jul 2004 @ 15:10 by ov : SAGE
I've just published an article on my blog about SAGE a virtual learning environment project that is beind conducted mainly in Vancouver, but with interested observers across the country.  

29 Jul 2004 @ 08:33 by Quirkboy @ : Live the game..
I dont know about videogames to teach.. one has to remember whos writing the games.. us.. and the flaws in our thinking are passed down. Life has a way of teaching lessons that people cant program into a computer. If a student happens to think of a creative solution that the programers of the game never thought of.. will the student be wrong?? The educational games can only allow the student to come to the conclusion the programmers expect.
I think there are problems with our current education system too..
I also think videogames give a false sense of accomplishment.. and a false sense of a need to learn the information..
Im looking for a teaching system that allows individuality.. creative thinking .. discovery and experimentation on ones own.. and not a system that cranks out identical kids with identical thoughts and identical opinions..
Teaching through discovery and problem solving is the key.. and getting rid of learning by lecture..
I agree with Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance).. we need a system that does away with the competition inherent in the grading system... no grading.. no attendance taken..
Students who live life will eventually gravitate towards the information they deem valuable.. you can have a student in high school who sees no applicability of mathematics to his life.. and therefore flunks the class.. BUT that same student may later be interested in being an architect.. and therefore finds a need for math and will learn by his own drive.
This discovery of how math applies to your life wont be found on a computer.. except in a false sense. And will fall by the wayside when the game is turned off.  

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