So I thought it would be a good idea to go through some terminology from video games and look at how those terms can be applicable to the world of learning.
The first term I’d like to look at is PvE. The term means “Player Vs Environment” and can be split down into more specialist PvE settings. What PvE essentially describes is you, the player, vs the computer/AI.
There are different forms that PvE takes in games and different ways we can look to use it in learning. Here’s a brief run down.
What is Solo PvE: It comes down to you vs the computer opponent, most gamified E-Learning takes this approach. It is a little simpler to think about the options involved as well as working out the logic for successfully implementing competition in your course.
Why choose Solo PvE: Solo PvE is great for engagement; it focuses the learner on a single goal as well as not distracting them with other influencers. Creating a great single player experience for your user is not an easy task so focusing on a solo PvE route should not seem like a cop-out.
Examples of Solo PvE: A large majority of games focus on a solo PvE approach, too many to name but some of the best examples are apps. Think about Candy Crush, there was no outside influence when playing yet you could happily sit there for a number of hours advancing through the levels.
How to use Solo PvE: This is the most open approach you can take, anything involving a computer opponent becomes a solo PvE experience. You can add in a second player who competes against you through the module, think about him as a rival character. Pokemon actually did a fantastic job with this, anyone who played the original Red and Blue versions will remember all too well the little brat called Gary who meets you at various intervals throughout the game to battle you. You could take a similar approach with E-Learning, why not have somebody show up at different times who challenges the learner to see what they have retained so far.
What is Multiplayer PvE: Well, multiplayer PvE involves many players competing against the same system. There is usually no action directed between the players instead all attention is focused against non-human enemies.
Why choose Multiplayer PvE: Well don’t. Really, the best advice for gamification projects is to steet away from multiplayer PvE. Players need to be accustomed to the way your game works to fully take advantage of it, you’re most likely to see this form of PvE in a casino of all place. Think about something like a Blackjack table, you do not need the help of others and each of you is working in a single minded way to defeat the common enemy (dealer/house). If your project does contain aspects of gambling this could be something you consider, however I would focus your attention on creating a solid solo PvE experience rather than looking here.
What is Cooperative Pve: Well now things start to get interesting, Cooperative PvE is where two or more players cooperate against the game system you have created. It is a very simple but engaging strategy that can help to create an environment for social learning.
Why choose Cooperative PvE: If your E-Learning offers a chance for users to come together to defeat a bigger boss/challenge, you should be using cooperative PvE.
Example of Cooperative PvE: One of the best Cooperative PvE strategies that I have seen is Team Fortress 2, a game that features a fantastic Co-Op mode against the always-challenging game’s AI. You can also look at almost every MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) for examples of teamwork and cooperation.
How to use Cooperative PvE: This is a really challenging approach to pick up in E-Learning, you need to think carefully about how you can plug in other channels to your module. I have worked on a project where I aligned myself with the internal marketing/communications team to produce weekly updates on the challenge. I created a system where each time you completed the module your score was saved and added to a total score calculator. The aim of this score calculator was that when it reached certain levels bosses were defeated and new worlds would open up to the users. At the end of each week we would run a report to get all of that completion data and create posters/emails which demonstrated the heroes of the week along with updates on the progress of new content/boss battles. It was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever worked on but it using cooperative PvE in E-Learning does require assistance from others.
I’ll be back next week where I’m going to take a look into what we can learn from Pokemon Red & Blue…