Learn to Play the Game - Play the Game to Learn

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Academic libraries have simplified access to academic content by building federated search and discovery tools. This has been welcomed by users. However, it can also instill a false sense of success to a generation whose information seeking behaviour has been conditioned by modern search engines. Users tend to settle on initial results garnered from a few simple searches, and therefore miss valuable content. There is a need to offer a learning pathway to entry level users that assists them in developing their research attributes of critical thinking and academic enquiry. Current offerings involve online tutorials and how-to guides whose content is a direct translation of what was previously taught in information literacy classes from the past. An alternative solution is to embed learning in library services through the application of game design. In game design theory a game can evolve as the user‟s level of competency increases. In this way, a learning pathway is made available to users at their point of need, which gradually improves the quality of their research skills. This paper will provide an overview of game design, and how games can be developed that relate to principles of application usability. Suggestions will be made on how a games model could be applied to develop critical thinking and academic enquiry skills in learners. Inhibitors to development such as cost and organisational restraints will be discussed.
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Di Muro, David Alan
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UNSW Faculty
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