Bulletin of the Technical Committee on Learning Technology (ISSN: 2306-0212)
This article discusses ways to improve teaching pedagogy in game development. This is a reflection based on the interview with Jerry Medeiros, an expert in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Extended Reality (XR), and teaching gaming development. The detailed interview is provided in the article entitled “Teaching and Leading in the Gaming Industry: Past, Present, and Future – An Interview with Jerry Medeiros” authored by Harikrishna Rao Mohan Rao, Hanwei Zhu, and Jagrit Acharya.
A. eXtended Reality (XR) and its applications
The eXtended Reality (XR) is a rapidly developing field encompassing Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR). These technologies have a wide scope in areas such as gaming, designing, marketing, simulations, and training. Industries such as oil and gas, mining, and aerospace/aeronautics, have been adopting these technologies as a part of their workforce training. More and more educational institutions are adopting gamification to their curriculum to improve the efficiency of teaching and learning. In addition, the growth of the gaming industry in the entertainment sector has been exponential. The advances in processing power, access to powerful computers and mobile phones, and easy access to the internet have strongly impacted such growth and will continue to evolve parallel to the advancement in related technology. Even though this is a newer and upcoming field, it is crucial to create stronger next-generation developers to match the growth and needs.
B. Teaching Gaming Development – the Present State and Challenges
At present, gaming development is taught as a part of Computer Science programs in most universities, which comes with certain prerequisites in programming and Mathematics, limiting the exposure of such courses to many without first- hand knowledge of programming. More often, the curriculum in universities can be obsolete and not at par with the dynamic and rapidly evolving industrial sector. In other words, the slower pace of adaptation to the changing industrial requirements and newer technologies can adversely affect the students when there is a substantial gap between the learning outcomes and expectations from the industry. This is where industrial or private-sector training institutions like Circuit Stream play a major role in improving access to aspiring candidates who may not have the relevant skills, to begin with. They provide individual mentorship and personalized curriculum to suit the diverse backgrounds and skill set of their students. Having the flexibility to modify their curriculum based on the latest trends in the industry makes their students competitive and relevant to the industry. Such collaborations can result in open- source materials and platforms, free webinars, and content for aspiring candidates to “test the waters” before they commit to a course, which will give them flexibility and a better understanding of this area.
Community Outreach and engagement also is inevitable for knowledge exchange and development. Conferences and events such as Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3), Game Developers’ Conference, and Augmented World Expo bring professionals, industries, and aspiring developers together to understand the latest technologies, challenges, and opportunities.
C. Teaching Gaming Development – Opportunities
This section discusses the author’s suggestions to improve game development teaching pedagogy, drawing insights from the interview. The suggestions are as follows:
- Having industry experts involved in the teaching team, advisory board, and collaborative partnerships can help bridge the gap between the expectations from the industry and the learning
- Providing exposure to game development and programming early in the educational
- Introducing game development as a Trade/Technology based program in community colleges can attract younger talents who may not have the necessary environments to learn in
- Providing need-based funding for students to complete such courses and procuring hardware and software can improve the accessibility to such programs and will directly flourish its
- Organizing more community events such as conferences and industry interactions and having them affordable and
- Lastly, encouraging research in this area through open- access journals would initiate a wider discussion and outreach within the academic community. The status of the research in this field is minimal and is lagging, understandably due to the commercial nature of the
This article is aimed at bringing a call to action in improving the teaching pedagogy, and outreach of game development in academia and industry as well as inspiring researchers and educators in the field by providing potential future directions.
Harikrishna Rao Mohan Rao
is a Ph.D. student in Control Systems at the University of Alberta, Canada. He received his Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech) degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kerala, India, in 2012. He has 7 years of industrial experience in Clean Energy and Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. His current research focuses on Industrial Alarm Monitoring and Design.