When I heard the word Bartle’s Taxonomy from our design team for the first time, I was keen and curious to know what is it as the word sounded too scientific to me.
While we all enjoy playing games, it was the first time that I peeked into the arena of e-learning game design and from there on it has been an amazing journey to understand the Bartle’s Taxonomy and the different types of players and how to choose the right e-learning game design accordingly.
So how does Bartle Taxonomy matter to me? Am I a game designer?
No, but I love games as you all do. And here at XLPro e-learning we have our amazing creators or game developers, whom I call as the gamicians (game+magicians) who have contributed their knowledge and thoughts to this blog.
So let us start our journey here…From this point, we are really serious about the stuff of designing e-learning games (pun intended)…
The concept of Bartle’s Taxonomy was brought forward by the one and only Richard Bartle,(British writer, professor, and game researcher. He is best known for being the co-creator of Multi-User Dungeon). It was his deep research which included interviewing and understanding the different players that gave us an idea about what the players wanted from the game. The results did surprise him as each set of players had their own response, which was different than that of other players. Thus his final findings categorised players into four different categories:
They are the category of the players who prefer to gain points, reach higher levels and earn the maximum awards. Achievers also like to show off the pride in achieving something and they take the sense of pride when others learner categories are behind them.
They value themselves as always an elite class and looks at the Socializers to praise them.
While designing e-learning game for the achievers, ensure that there are challenges and achievements that can continually hook the learners and ensure that it is difficult to achieve the goal but not impossible so that the players(achievers) stay hooked to the game.
Games like puzzles and little complex scenario can be used for the achiever game type.
For example, we developed an e-learning game Formula One Car Race. This game type can be very effectively used to match the style of achievers. This e-learning game challenges the learners to play and win the Formula One Car Race, where the learner assumes the role of a Formula One Car Race champion and has to reach the number one spot by leaving other motorists behind. The game is designed in a manner, where the learner can see through the car dashboard at the other motorists ahead of him. The game also includes a timer and a leaderboard. With every correct answer, the learner moves a spot ahead.
They use the game for discovery and try to go beyond what the game allows, such as exploring unknown areas that other users have not already found. Their motive is to use the tool to explore more.For them, the scores, points etc are not of greater importance. Games which are based on travel themes or a virtual tour around the office are the true inspiration for the explorers.
We have a new e-learning game developed on the hot topic ‘Information security’ which continues to sell in good numbers. The game builds on the natural tendency of the explorers style of players from the Bartle Taxonomy.The game includes the different levels that allow the explorers to use the game for discovery. The trick here was to include the element of surprise in the e-learning game that motivates the learner and makes them feel a sense of satisfaction and achievement.
The game can be customized on request and tweaked to include more elements of exploration like allowing a free virtual tour of the department to find out the possible info security breach, like a USB drive that is carelessly kept unattended on the table.
They use the game as a platform for meeting players to talk about the game and ensure that the other players are having a good time too. They love such games where they get the opportunity to interact more.
In my opinion, socialisers play a big role in ensuring the success of your e-learning game. They love to interact about the game outside the e-learning game environment with the peer learners. They are seen as taking the role of mentors, motivating the newbies and other learners or as moderators controlling the forums and chats that discusses the e-learning game. I recommend including multiplayer games for the socialisers.
Here at XLPro e-learning, we have a ready game template Secret Mission that can be customized to accommodate the socialisers. The game template can be build upon to different levels allowing the learners to interact with each other by including a chat option or by promoting a forum or dicussion group etc.
They like to provoke, they enjoy the thrill of winning the dominance over the others and enjoy their superiority through the game. They even interfere with the play experience of other players.
Killers mostly like the game type of ‘fighting and shooting games’ whereas a player the killers are able to fight with their opponents and win the dominance.
From our popular e-learning game templates, we have an amazing game called Zap -The Alien that suits or matches the style of the Killers from the Bartle Taxonomy. The game allows the learners to shoot down the invading alien spaceships by answering the questions correctly thus motivating the key traits of the killer game player type.
The learner is also rewarded with points and we have also included the other game elements like leaderboards. By implementing leaderboard and other elements to induce the competition, allows the killer game players type to enjoy being the winner and defeating others. But I recommend controlling the winning moments of the killer game type as their taste of success can bring an imbalance to the other type of game players.
Hence to conclude, I feel that while there are the four different categories of game players types according to Bartle’s Taxonomy, it is not necessary that an individual player is only having the trait of an exclusive type of game player. For example, a Killer game player type can also have the traits of an achiever or explorer but at a reduced level. Hence while designing the e-learning game it becomes important to completely understand the learners and chose the right e-learning game design.