So as you know we’ve been working on a metagame for the Learning Lab. This year’s Learning Lab is coming to an end and so in order to have the metagame ready before the next one kicks off, it’s time to wrap up: writing wonderful design docs, creating wicked wireframes, basically making a plug and play design to be passed on to a WordPress developer.
But before we got to this point, this point of confidence and readiness, we had one last thing we had to do. We had to playtest. For real.
Seriously though, we had tested and tested and tested, within Hubbub, with Thieu, with whoever we needed to see if it was working. If what was working? Gameplay, interaction, terminology, content… you name it, we tested it, we made it work.
Then of course came the point of testing it with the students. But as time was running out, and with our game being more complicated than just giving bananas or throwing feces, we knew testing online wasn’t gonna work out. And so we translated our concept into a paper prototype one last time. Here’s what we did:
All the students were given the assignment to create a poster regarding the Learning Lab. These would be used as their blogposts. At the actual test, we gave all the students one comment card, to be put on someone else’s poster. These comment cards asked for, well, comments, but also asked the students to rate the poster they were commenting on: how did it score regarding the authenticity of the poster? Was the poster insightful?
After the first round, everyone was given new comments based on the amount of comments that were put onto your own poster. Nobody posted on yours? Only one comment for you, sir! Twelve people posted on yours? That’s a whoopin’ 13 ready to be spent!
And so we did this for a total of three rounds, allowing the students to really get into it and comment away. Did they? They did. In fact, nearly all of the 126(!) comments were used, and nearly all of them to their full extent.
The students liked it, and more importantly, had no problems whatsoever adding meaningful and insightful content to the whole. Which is, in the end, the goal.
So the playtest was a success, the final version of the game will have lots more functions to help the students look at their own progress, at their learning and at that of others. I guess it’s like I said: we’re confident. Confident, content, happy campers. In fact, doing interaction design isn’t such a pain after all.