EdTech Assistant Professor Jesus Trespalacios has published a book chapter on pre-release testing of educational games. Three co-authors are former colleagues at New Mexico State University.
The chapter focuses on the logistical issues that can make formative testing problematic, such as locating qualified testers and finding the best location and equipment for the right type of testing. In addition, learning games—also called educational, serious, or transformational games—present additional challenges to user testing.
But developers and researchers at New Mexico State University have created a unique program to combat these problems.
Researchers offer ongoing, year-around game design think tanks in which testers participate in activities to build their reviewing skills, test games regularly during the design process, engage in a variety of feedback methods, and gain valuable media skills. Through this Learning Games Lab model, professional game developers have easy access to testers at any stage of game development and can build their design intuition through frequent contact with members of the target audience.
The case study that Trespalacios and colleagues describe in the book chapter looks at how the Learning Games Lab operates, including processes for recruiting subjects, collecting data, and sharing that data with that data with the development team.
Here’s how to learn more: