• Selected publications

    Joe A. Wasserman and Jaime Banks

    Background. Although the effectiveness of game-based learning (GBL) is well- supported, much less is known about the process underlying it. Nevertheless, developing a mental model that matches the game system, which in turn models a real-world system, is a promising proposed process.

    Aim. This article explores the first steps in model matching: identifying the entities and (complex) relations in a game system.

    Method. Participants (N = 30) played the analog game DOMINION and completed a multi-step mental model mapping exercise. Categories of entities in mental model maps were inductively identified with grounded theory coding, while complex relations in mental model maps were identified via content analysis.

    Results. Participants described formal game entities, player actions, sociality, learning processes, and subjective experience in their mental model maps. Participants identified very few complex relations—and no feedback loops—in their mental model maps.

    Conclusions. Games—and analog games specifically—provide a breadth of resources for model matching and GBL. Through gameplay, learners come to affix conceptual meanings to material objects, a process dubbed lamination.

    Supplement. Complex Relations Codebook

    Rory McGloin, Joe A. Wasserman, and Andy Boyan

    Abstract: The primary aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive review and elaboration of model matching and its theoretical propositions. Model matching explains and predicts individuals’ outcomes related to gameplay by focusing on the interrelationships among games’ systems of mechanics, relevant situations external to the game, and players’ mental models. Formalizing model matching theory in this way provides researchers a unified explanation for game-based learning, game performance, and related gameplay outcomes while also providing a theory-based direction for advancing the study of games more broadly. The propositions explicated in this article are intended to serve as the primary tenets of model matching theory. Considerations for how these propositions may be tested in future games studies research are discussed.

  • Games & Learning Syllabus

    In Spring 2018, I taught Games & Learning, a combined upper-level undergraduate/graduate course with a boardgame design final project.

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  • WIP: Agent-based model of entertainment media uses and gratifications

    In this agent-based model, agents (squares) assess their current need for social interaction and choose to either (a) consume media independently or (b) interact with their neighbors. Behavior and emergent outcomes depend on tunable model parameters.

    3 visualization modes: agents' current social need (displayed above), moving average of agents' social need, and consistency of agents' choice of media versus social interaction.

  • WIP: Player networks

    11 years, 4090 players, 18983 plays – download an explainer (read-only pptx w/ embedded audio)