Monday, 27 November 2006

Labyrinth - lost in the maze 

For some reason unknown to me, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of designing my maze, even though it took a while to get my head round the creation process - both in terms of content creation and technological process. Some forum discussion centred on difficulties in user creation, and I tend to agree with much that was said in the forum: that the system was not always intuitive, was at times long-winded, and lacked slick presentation. However, I also fully appreciate that it is a work in progress and that there is certainly value in the overall concept, not just for the participant but for the creator. 

The system reminds me of very early computer games on a BBC Micro at primary school, which was really just a screen version of the fantasy adventure books where you read a page then decide where to go from there. Without disrespect to Labyrinth's creators, I fear the simplicity of the interface may be a turn off to many participants, who are used to considerably richer gaming graphics and 3D modelling. However, this doesn't mean it still can't have a place in education contexts. It does add a greater level of interactivity than just text on paper, and this does something to engage the participant. Particularly if the learning outcome is to test knowledge, I feel there is certainly some value. I may not have yet fully grasped its scope, but feel it is best suited as a sort of self-marking multiple choice questionnaire, for knowledge acquisition or for assessment.

An interesting point was raised about how the creation of a Labyrinth 'game' forces the creator to really 'get inside' the topic, and just as when we are urged to teach others about a subject, this tends to encourage deep learning. Having had an exam this week for a different course, it helped me to embed some of the knowledge required for the exam (which didn't actually come up in the exam, sod's law). My concern is that, in its current form, much of the time in creation is spent understanding how to use the software, and executing the building of the game, which might be better spent learning the content in another, perhaps more traditional way. Was certainly fun though...

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