Mobile Games Video
Mobile Games Video
Mobile Games Video
Mobile Games Video

906 Game Design Principles: Creating Powerful Scenario-Based Learning

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM Thursday, June 22


Nautilus 1

Instructional designers and writers are increasingly turning to branching scenarios as a way to embrace experiential learning and move beyond page-turners. But authoring an effective scenario is challenging, as the branches can become overwhelming. Moreover, if you don’t apply good game-design principles, the scenarios can turn out to be as flat, boring, and ineffective as a series of multiple-choice questions.

In this hands-on session, you will play, deconstruct, and discuss branching scenarios as a full group and in small teams. You’ll experience what makes branching scenarios work well. You’ll play the highly cited “Haji Kamal” branching scenario as a group, and learn how the design team used Jesse Schell’s Art of Game Design lenses in designing the scenario’s story, structure, and media. Then you’ll play another scenario in a print-and-play format, in small groups. You will discuss the design principles applied to that scenario and explore how paper-based scenarios can be used for team training. You’ll leave this session with a cheat sheet for taming scenario structures, as well as reflection prompts to help you apply the design principles to your own learning challenges.

In this session, you will learn:

  • What game design lenses are helpful in designing branching scenarios
  • Which core techniques can help you keep your branching structure under control
  • About approaches that can improve your branching scenario storytelling
  • How to apply these principles to your own projects

Novice to advanced designers, developers, and managers.

Technology discussed in this session:
Branching scenarios.


Doug Nelson

President & CEO


Doug Nelson, the president of Kinection, is an instructional designer, producer, and entrepreneur. He started his career as a teacher, led educational marketing for Apple Computer Asia, and in 2000 founded Kinection as a boutique eLearning studio. He has served as lead designer on Kinection’s most successful game-based learning projects, which span a wide range of audiences, genres, and topics, and which have been developed for clients as diverse as Pearson, DARPA, Cisco Systems, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the Ford Foundation. Doug is also a past board chair for the North American Simulation and Gaming Association.

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