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March 22 – 24, 2017 Orlando, FL

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LS904 Improving Higher-Order Skills with Serious Games and Simulations

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM Friday, March 24

Games and Gamification

International Center

Serious games and simulations have the potential to bridge abstract concepts and real-world applications. But too often, simulations limit themselves to lower-level skills like memorization, resulting in glorified quizzes that are expensive to produce but feel disconnected from real decision-making. And when serious games try to engage higher-order skills, they often do so ineffectively. The decisions that are rewarded may be subjective and arbitrary, leaving learners frustrated and disempowered.

Through case studies and group work, in this session you’ll uncover ways to use techniques such as badging, challenge scenarios, and working with imperfect information to accelerate past rote learning while providing a more interesting and fun learning experience. You’ll also learn how to apply critical thinking models in these experiences to help your audience identify assumptions, analyze arguments, and make better decisions. By learning techniques for measuring and improving critical-thinking skills in the context of serious games and gamification, you’ll open new pathways to building people’s skills in more meaningful and effective ways.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How you can identify and model the higher-order thinking skills that can be improved by using serious games and simulations
  • How to turn flat, quiz-like experiences into sophisticated, thought-provoking applications
  • How to use game design mechanics to improve learner engagement while addressing higher-order skills
  • What best practices you should use to create effective serious games and simulations

Novice to intermediate designers, developers, and managers.

Ben Paris

Vice President of Learning Architecture


Ben Paris, a vice president of learning architecture at ansrsource, has over 20 years of experience in assessment design and development. He is a former Kaplan curriculum director responsible for industry-leading LSAT and GMAT courses. As an assessment director at Pearson, he was responsible for assessment standards, training assessment partners, and using assessment in innovative ways to improve the learner experience. At ansrsource, Ben’s vision guides the production of hundreds of thousands of assessment items each year. He has created award-winning online learning systems, trained hundreds of writers and teachers, and personally helped thousands of students achieve their educational goals.

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