IJDL call for papers: Special issue on games for learning



UPDATE:  the manuscript due date for IJDL Special Issue Games for
Learning is extended to November 3, 2017.

This Special Issue is an important topic, and we want to make certain
authors have enough time to suit their design case study.

Guest Editors: Edd Schneider & Kurt Squire

In the past decade, games for learning have evolved from a theoretical possibility to innovations used by millions of students. In addition to games developed by academic labs or their spinoff companies, enterprise-level solutions are being designed so as to bring learning games to scale. As the field matures, we are no longer asking “If” we should build games, but rather what kinds of games should we build and how should we build them.

Now is a good time to generate design cases that might help designers vicariously experience other designs, understand how they are experienced by users, and deepen their own design sophistication. The International Journal of Designs for Learning is soliciting manuscripts of design cases of learning games. We want game designers to share the design stories, with an emphasis on innovative games that push our understanding of the medium. Good design cases present both the design and the thinking behind the design to provide readers with a vicarious experience of the design process. The upcoming issue will use an expansive view of games to include design cases in AR, VR, or analog games. Similarly, it welcomes design cases in games for learning broadly, so as to include social impact and indie games.

Design cases should strive to provide readers a vicarious experience of game play and highlight key moments in the design process. Designers are encouraged to be as vivid as possible in describing game play, using visual and audio media as appropriate. Similarly, we welcome transparency in describing surprises, failures, and unintended consequences. Manuscripts are encouraged to highlight where designers’ expectations were confounded, and how designs evolved in situ. Game play data, such as user observations, are not required but are often helpful for describing the evolution of design.

  • Design of a learning games, including the philosophy and decisions behind a design: Frequently, learning games exist to test or expand particular design philosophies, such as mitigating cognitive bias through empathic experiences, learning engineering through construction or rethinking current events through narrative history. Design studies can  illustrate issues in enacting these design approaches and how initial intentions were modified. These approaches might focus on how a design hypothesis does or does not materialize, and most often, how designers develop more nuanced or sophisticated understandings of the design space.
  • Uses of new data sources in game design: The availability of new data sources (such as click stream data) and data analytic techniques (such as machine learning) make it possible to marshal new forms of data when understanding what users do with games. Papers may focus on the strengths and limitations of these new data sources for supporting design in context.
  • Supporting youth in game design: Case studies of attempts to support youth in learning both the practices of game design, as well as traditional academic areas. Constructionist approaches to game design frequently position learners as designers, which presents unique learning opportunities and challenges (Baytak & Land, 2010; Kafai & Burke, 2014).
  • Inventing new forms of play and technological infrastructure for learning: Emerging technologies such as mobile devices, VR, and wearable computers enable forms of play. Design papers that detail processes for inventing new forms of play and new forms of infrastructure for supporting play, with an emphasis on how key features form, evolve, or are discarded are encouraged.
  • The mangle of play: How cultures appropriate games: As players inhabit games and new strategies and forms of play emerge, designers frequently need to adapt games in response. As such, design narratives might detail the interplay between game play, culture, and design through the life of a product.
  • Emerging genres and new forms of game play: As the case unfolds, it should suggest new forms of game play, such as crowd-sourced games, that are constantly emerging. Papers detailing the exploration of new genres, particularly around social or technical innovations are encouraged.

Submission Types

Full Design Case

5000-7000+ words, with as many multimedia and/or visual elements as available. The goal of this submission is equally to explain the experience of the design, visually and textually, and to explain how it came to be the way that it is. Authors are invited to submit design cases for experiences or materials they have created themselves. However, the descriptive case can come through interviews with designers, stakeholders, and/or users, analysis of related artifacts surrounding the design/design process, or reconstruction based on previously published marketing and/ or academic materials. Your abstract should include the targeted design, its relevance, and any resources you will need to locate.

Brief Design Case

500-1500 words, a primarily visual presentation of a design with accompanying text used to annotate and explain the artifact and its experience as depicted in the images and/or video. Your abstract should include the targeted design, and any existing resources that you are aware of.

Important Deadlines

(EXTENSION – NEW DATE)  NOVEMBER 3, 2017 Submit Full paper/brief paper

March 31, 2018 Final manuscripts

May 31, 2018 Projected publication

Additional Information

What is a design case?

A design case is a description of a real artifact or experience that has been intentionally designed, and offers an in-depth explanation of the rationale for the design, including how that design came to be the way that it is. Transparency of the design process through detailed description is important such that the reader can deeply understand and empathize with the unique design situation. Detailed description of the asks and responds to questions such as:

  • What key decisions were made?
  • At what points in the process did these decisions arise?
  • Who was involved in the making of these decisions?
  • What was the rationale or reasoning behind these decisions?
  • How were key design decisions judged to be useful or not?
  • What key changes were made during the design process?

For a fuller description of design cases and their contribution to design knowledge, see:

Boling, E. (2010). The need for design cases: Disseminating design knowledge. International Journal of Designs for Learning 1(1). http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/ijdl/article/view/919/978

Smith, K. (2010). Producing the rigorous design case. International Journal of Designs for Learning 1(1). http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/ijdl/article/view/917/980

Howard, C. (2011). Writing and rewriting the instructional design case: A view from two sides. International Journal of Designs for Learning 2(1). http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/ijdl/article/view/1104/1315

Writing and submitting a design case 

Author Guidelines are available at http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/ijdl/about/submissions#authorGuidelines 

Articles should be submitted using the article template available at http://scholarworks.iu.edu/ijdlcontent/ijdlfiles/IJDLTemplate.doc

Questions should be directed to Drs. Edd Schneider (eschneider@ithaca.edu) and Kurt Squire (ksquire@uci.edu).

About IJDL

The International Journal of Designs for Learning is a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed online journal is dedicated to publishing descriptions of artifacts, environments and experiences created to promote and support learning in all contexts by designers in any field.

The journal provides a venue for designers to share their knowledge-in-practice through rich representations of their designs and detailed discussion of decision-making. The aim of the journal is to support the production of high-quality precedent materials and to promote and demonstrate the value of doing so. Audiences for the journal include designers, teachers and students of design and scholars studying the practice of design. This journal is a publication of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology.


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