Game Education Summit North America 2011 - Presentation
A Problem-Based Learning Approach to Teaching Game Development
Assistant Professor, Game Development & Entrepreneurship,
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 10:45 - 11:45
In this paper, we propose a problem-based learning approach to teaching game development that focuses on developing critical thinking in game design while enabling students to strengthen their skill-proficiency. We have seen increased motivation as the students understand the relevance of theory presented in their “seemingly irrelevant and disjointed” university courses. This paper demonstrates how to effectively integrate a problem-based learning approach to existing university course-based game development curricula.
Canadian universities have recently started adding game development to their curricula. However, these programs essentially add a course or two on game design into their existing computer science or art related degree programs. This trend is disconcerting as it means that graduates from these programs have only seen a overview of what game development entails making it difficult for them to integrate into the workforce effectively. But what is it that the game industry workforce desires in graduates? Is it strength in skills? Is it knowledge of industry-specific practices? Is it the ability to complete a project? Is it the ability to work effectively on a team? The answer is a resounding yes for all of these questions. How does one create an academic program that enables students to acquire the necessary practice and skills, develop their critical thinking abilities, have them understand work-flows and production cycles in team settings while maintaining academic credibility and rigour? This is the question we seek to address in this paper.