Connect Learning to Prior Experiences

5Learning is like a game of Tetris: if you have time and the right building blocks, assembling a complete row is easy. But if you don’t, you’re left with gaps and an ever-growing tower of misconnected pieces. Game designers need to make it easy for players to build new knowledge. You can do this by layering information piece by piece and by using a visual language based on the audiences’ tastes and prior knowledge.

We used iconic biomedical representations of neurons, synapses, and neurotransmitters, which would all resonate with the psychiatrists. We also used the well-known lock-and-key metaphor for molecular interactions—also understood by this audience. Because players were able to visit other parts of the booth before playing the game, we ensured that the colors and shapes of our key molecules were similar to materials displayed in the booth so that the connections between the different media were clear.

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