This module focuses on information behaviour in connection within game networks, games and gaming. It considers how not only educators connect with each other in online communities of practice using social media communication channels. There are also game related networks connecting players to game servers and each for the purpose of play.  These networks are part of the online information flows and as our course notes state open up new ‘islands of expertise’ for educators to draw upon. In Mod 4.1 we are encouraged to “investigate games which are not on the top ten list of AAA titles, as well as exploring some of the communities around more specialised games such as interactive fiction in order to get a realistic sense of the diversity and divergent cultures that have emerged online“.

While spending quality time on this type of exploration may have to wait until after the compendium chapter (major assignment), I did come across Kongreate  (interactive fiction games) and entered into the first game on the page: Fleeing the Complex. Immediately the story, the voice of the narrator and the ludics of the game had my attention. I will be back to play! I also bookmarked TWITCHTV to explore at a later time.

Following Webber’s definition of information behaviour as “the totality of human behaviour in relation to sources and channels of information, including both active and passive information seeking, and information use (Wilson, 2000.49″, the module notes additionally includes communication processes  as part of the action with particular consideration of personal and contextual factors that motivate or inhibit information behaviour.

The Robson & Robinson article (2013) was useful to provide an overview of different models of information behaviour, including one that I am particularly familiar with, Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process (ISP) and use within my school library context. I particularly like ISP for its consideration of the affective and cognitive aspectives (feelings and thoughts) at each stage of the process (p.172). While I had not heard of the Johnson model (1997/2001) comprehensive model of information seeking (CMIS) I did like the antecedents that affect information seeking actions.

The demographics or cultural/social/social economic status; the experience of the information seeker’s experience of area of interest; the salience i.e. personal significance, relevance and applicability and beliefs i.e. about the subject area and his/her own abilities (p.175) which draw together information literacy and mass communication theory. While ‘its basic principles are of more general applicability’ (p.175), that actually is a strength in the model.

It is important to remember, as Robson and Robinson point out, that information behaviour is not necessarily a logical, sequential process. If anything, any inquiry or search process may be an iterative, back-and-forth, a non sequential process (p.181).

These authors provide their own model which combines IL and communication theory – the Information-seeking and communication model (ISCM) which combines elements from other such models as above.

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By extension games and gaming creates another form of information behaviour based on the mechanics of the game. As our course notes state “information behaviour in a game includes metacognitive engagement with information and game activities. The construction of knowledge is a dynamic, active process in which learners constantly strive to make sense of new information. What a learner understands from a new message or experience depends critically on the knowledge the already have”.

So considering the above critical elements of information behaviour, and applying them to game narrative and construction then, to begin with,  game designers would need to consider the gamer’s demographics and context, which means thinking about whether the game narrative and mechanics will meet and provide for the player’s needs, wants and goals. The levels of experience that they bring to the game – again what features will the game provide to engage and challenge both the beginner and the expert gamer.  Finally, the salience of the game to the player ie. the personal significance and connection to the world of the game narrative – how will this be achieved?

As Latham & Hollister (2013, p. 35) remark both information and media literacies (indeed, I would say multiple literacies) “involve complex sets of skills [which] are vital for succeeding in the multiple games one must play in today’s information- and media-saturated world”.  These skills, and in particular, critical learning, can be facilitated by the playing digital/video games (James Paul Gee in Latham & Hollister, 2013, p. 37):

“Critical learning…involves learning to think of semiotic domains as design spaces that manipulate us…in certain ways and that we can manipulate in certain ways” (Gee, 2003, p.43 in Latham & Hollister, ibid).  Interesting, to think that both game designers i.e. the game and the player/the information seeker both need to have a deep understanding of information behaviour and information literacies – the former in order to create and develop the game so the player can use multiple skills in order to retrieve information  to problem-solve, collaborate and achieve deep understanding and meaning-making within the world of the game.  This would be achieved by use of prior knowledge, feedback within the game, interface, graphic, sound, information seeking through reviews, or within the world of the gaming community (e.g. guilds, forums, information dashboards, observation by watching and listening either within the game or in ‘real life’; or actively receiving/giving advice when an information need is identified). I see the latter, as the students play in the library, with other students gathered around watching the state of playing and often offering un/solicited advice.

Reference:

Adams, S. S. (2009). What games have to offer: Information behavior and meaning-making in virtual play spaces.Library Trends, 57(4), 676-693.

Latham, D., & Hollister, J. M. (2013). The games people play: Information and media literacies in the Hunger Games trilogy. Children’s Literature in Education, 45(1), 33–46. doi:10.1007/s10583-013-9200-0

Robson, A., & Robinson, L. (2013). Building on models of information behaviour: linking information seeking and communication. Journal of Documentation,  69(2), 169–193. http://www.emeraldinsight.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/doi/full/10.1108/00220411311300039

 

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