Team Training – a perfect fit for Co-Op Play

So we’ve made some projections of what the future might hold for e-Learning. This is a posting on what we can do today to implement some game-play features into eLearning, specifically focusing on ‘cooperative play’ or co-op. The military has actually been using co-op ‘play’ for years, but now we’re at a place where we can perhaps take this technique out of the multi-million dollar simulator and onto the web.


Video-based Co-Op – where it began

Years ago, I worked on a project for the Army, where special forces teams practiced resolving hostage situations using a full video-based simulation. The environment included video sequences where the “bad guys” would emerge from doorways or from behind crates in a warehouse environment. I think there was a James Bond film that was something like this (Life imitates Art.) When the mission starts, the team has to take cover, separate and shoot at the virtual “bad guys” in a team environment. The computer system tracked the shots fired to assess how well the team performed.


Co-Op in the game world

In the game world, co-op play enables players on a team to cooperatively compete for a common goal, which makes this type of gameplay a perfect fit for immersive game-based learning. A good example of the power of co-op gameplay is Valve’s Half-Life series; in the two-player co-op mode, players must decipher puzzles and problems while a split-screen allows them to be in two different areas of the game world at once. The two players cannot advance or learn anything new in the game unless the two of them work together.

Imagine this in the context of e-Learning. Groups of learners or students could log into the same game world or environment, and their mutual cooperation determines their success. One set of players could be assigned a certain task and a time in which to complete it, while another set has to solve a puzzle to gain more information or unlock a vital area. Thus, by doing and learning together, the group as a whole can increase its knowledge and skills.

As e-Learning continues to evolve, co-op gameplay will almost certainly grow more popular, particularly as developers create game worlds which can host thousands or even millions of players, such as the wildly popular World of Warcraft. Next post, I’ll talk a little about how to use the concept of Clans or Guilds in learning.

If you’d like to learn about game based learning from Digitec Interactive, visit our eLearning page.

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