Alternate reality games as learning environments for student induction

Whitton, Nicola; Jones, Rosie; Wilson, Scott and Whitton, Peter (2012). Alternate reality games as learning environments for student induction. Interactive Learning Environments, 22(3) pp. 243–252.



Alternate reality games (ARGs) are a relatively new form of collaborative game that make use of both the virtual and real worlds to engage players in a series of challenges within a compelling narrative. The Alternate Reality Games for Orientation, Socialisation and Induction (ARGOSI) project aimed to use this game format to provide an alternative way to support the student induction process at Manchester Metropolitan University. The ViolaQuest game provided a mechanism for new university students to meet with others, navigate a new city and undertake information literacy induction activities within a purposeful context. The project ran from April 2008 to March 2009, and while the game itself had limited success in terms of student participation and impact, there were many lessons learned in terms of appropriate design and implementation of alternative reality games to support learning. This article describes the evaluation, results, lessons learned and raises a number of questions as to the suitability of ARGs in higher education.

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