I often receive emails from higher degree research students asking me about games and virtual worlds. Most of the time they are seeking ‘information’that can I give them as they research their thesis. Usually I suggest to take an entire week off, download Warcraft, Aion or Final Fantasy – put the local pizza shop on speed dial and stock up on Coke. More information is not a very effective way to better understand virtual worlds.
First things first. Get into a World that has epic goals with massive emotional, social and cognitive domains. Following that experience, Second Life might actually mean something. Secondly – more information wrong, have more goals that are relevant to what you’re looking into.
Set a goal of being Level 40 in a week, set a goal to join a levelling guild and talk to the players or research how to choose a race and class that will best achieve it.
They don’t of course – as their subliminal familiarity with discounted unity tells them their short term goal is to get information.
If you want to know what motivates, what engages and how to even begin thinking about goal-orientated learning (not information-orientated yawning) – the spawn point is to understand that goals drive virtual worlds, not information.
Without understanding this, it is like putting lipstick on a pig to see how much it weighs.