Episode 13 – Discovery Learning in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a 2014 all-around spooky game that doesn’t hold your hand. There’s even a note at the beginning stating that you’re on your own. You’re expected to learn as you go, figuring out not only how complex puzzles work but also sometimes the fact that you’re being confronted with a puzzle at all.
That approach matches up quite nicely with the theory of discovery learning. In that framework, learners are expected to figure out underlying concepts on their own, through experimentation and inductive reasoning.
This week’s episode opens with a discussion of expository vs discovery learning, has a mention of J.S. Bruner’s wonderful term “intellectual potency,” and explores the motivation provided to players in Ethan Carter.
But all is not well in the world of discovery learning – check back next week for a look at the dark side of this kind of instruction.
Show Notes & Links
- Stanford’s Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking
- “Scientific Discovery Learning with Computer Simulations of Conceptual Domains” by De Jong and Van Joolingen, 1998, Review of Educational Research
- J.S. Bruner (who did actually just pass away in June 2016)
- Educational Psychology by Anita Woolfolk
- The Act of Discovery by Bruner, 1961, Harvard Educational Review
Other games mentioned in this episode
- Halo‘s Chiron TL-34 teleporter-centric multiplayer level
- Gone Home