Transmedia for Immersive Learning: The Design and Study of Alternate and Augmented Reality Play Experiences by Scott Warren

Henry Jenkins popularized the term transmedia storytelling, emphasizing the role of narrative as a learning support structure. Various authors have noted stories function as important cognitive events, collected to meaningfully synthesize information, knowledge, context, and emotion in a concise delivery platform. Transmedia storytelling and learning game play involves systematically distributing narrative elements, communicated across multiple delivery channels to create an integrated experience. Related literacies include play, performance, simulation, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, and negotiation, akin to what present in other immersive learning games. When used in education, transmedia learning involves cross-platform storytelling and play experiences that make cognitive connections to content, language, and media affordances. This talk will discuss what immersive transmedia is and how it has been applied to support learning multiple forms of literacy through matches among. It will explain the rapid design and development approaches taken over the years to design alternate, augmented reality, and transmedia learning experiences in The Door, Broken Window, Villainous, and others. Further, he will talk about how we can validly study these complex, distributed learning experiences with the goal of understanding how they can support higher order thinking and modern digital literacies.

Dr. Scott J. Warren is an Associate Professor of Learning Technologies at the University of North Texas, recently named to the Carnegie highest research classification, which serves as the flagship public university for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan area. He has worked in public education for over twenty years as public school teacher, learning game developer, and researcher. He has designed and studied how we can improve traditional and computer literacies in various settings using games, simulations, and robust communication tools to uncover the roles of ethical design, narrative, rapport, interactivity, and role play. He designed and developed early games such as Anytown, Chalk House, and The Door using 3-D immersive platforms ranging from ActiveWorlds to Second Life and Created Realities.

Since those days, his attention has turned to the use of transmedia platforms including alternate and augmented reality games as a means of immersing learners in experiences using everyday technologies ranging from social media, massively multiplayer games, and productivity tools to Aurasma and YouTube. These learning play practices tie students into local/global narratives to support improvements in self-regulated learning skills, critical thinking and related problem solving, help improve transfer to the real world of work, while encouraging play and collaboration. His forthcoming book with Springer is The Science and Art of Learning Games, which details his approaches to the design, development, and study of learning games including the professional and lifeworld experiences that shaped each creation.

His talk Transmedia for Immersive Learning: The Design and Study of Alternate and Augmented Reality Play Experiences will discuss what transmedia is and why it is appropriate for learning, some of the approaches he and other professionals have taken to creating alternate and augmented reality games using transmedia and story-based principles to support engaging formal and informal learning experiences, as well as how we can meaningfully study a game construct distributed across the wilds of the Internet.