MMO Players Use the Scientific Process

In MMOs, individuals collaborate to solve complex problems within the virtual world, such as figuring out what combination of individual skills, proficiencies, and equipment are necessary to conquer an in-game boss dragon in the example above. As part of developing efficient and effective solutions, players are customarily expected to research various game strategies and tactics by consulting on- and offline manuals, databases, and discussions, as well as by using such knowledge as the basis for in-game action. Such research might include, to continue our example, consulting collective online databases about where the boss dragon lives, what its special skills are, and what previous strategies have been successful.

Members of the group then come to the activity well-versed in known research on the problem and enter into collaborative work under the mutual expectation that each will apply known information to the solving the problem. Should the solution not prove to be straightforward, the group learns from what fails, discounting some solution paths while raising others. In prior ethnographic work (2005), Steinkuehler found that it was not unusual for players to gather data about a specific monster or challenge in the virtual world in Excel spreadsheets, create models of the data in the form of simple mathematical equations, and then argue about whose model was "better" in terms of prediction and explanatory scope.

Thus, as part of standard gameplay (particularly beyond the beginning levels), individuals share their own hypotheses about what strategies work by proposing models for solutions, justifying their ‘‘theories’’ with evidence (such as tabulated mathematical results aggregated across multiple trials), and debate the merits of conflicting hypotheses. This collaborative construction of knowledge, parallel to what takes place in the scientific community, is not aimless contentious discussion (although there is a bit of that as well), but rather part and parcel of the collective intelligence (Levy 1999) amassed through patterned participatory consumption (Jenkins 1992), which is a hallmark of interactive "entertainment" media such as games.


They hypothesize, collaborate, experiment and test their ideas in the virtual worlds to learn how they work.

Folksonomies: scientific method science education scientific process science literacy mmo

/business and industrial (0.224744)
/hobbies and interests/games/video and computer games (0.206552)
/technology and computing (0.147334)

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virtual world:FieldTerminology (0.925416 (negative:-0.259196)), MMO Players:Organization (0.586634 (neutral:0.000000)), Steinkuehler:Person (0.435197 (neutral:0.000000)), Levy:Person (0.414279 (neutral:0.000000)), Jenkins:Person (0.397872 (neutral:0.000000))

Scientific method (0.952776): dbpedia | freebase
Problem solving (0.664458): dbpedia | freebase
Massively multiplayer online game (0.627172): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Theory (0.474168): dbpedia | freebase
Hypothesis (0.460540): dbpedia | freebase
Knowledge (0.440019): dbpedia | freebase

 Scientific Habits of Mind in Virtual Worlds
Periodicals>Journal Article:  Steinkuehler, Constance and Duncan, Sean (2008), Scientific Habits of Mind in Virtual Worlds, Springer Science Business Media, LLC 2008, J Sci Educ Technol, Retrieved on 2014-02-24
Folksonomies: science scientific method online learning