#SUNYCIT: Developing Game Based Learning for Student Engagement: MCC’s Journey from Process to Product

#SUNYCIT: Developing Game Based Learning for Student Engagement: MCC's Journey from Process to Product

Andrea Gilbert and Larry Dugan from Monroe Community College (MCC) shared their lessons learned on building a game based learning program for students. The games focused on study skills and financial aid. The program they used for development is called MuzzyLane.

Game-Based Learning Mission

MCC set out to create a set of games to help students develop study skills and finance skills.


To build this set of games, they put together a six-person team involving an Instructional Designer, a Project Manager, two Subject Matter Experts, a Multimedia Technician, and a Librarian.


While the game was the end product, they also wanted to solve some other problems. They wanted to be able to document and replicate the process. The game and process had to be scalable. They also wanted to be able to measure the effects on learning.


In order to build the game, they had to do some preliminary work. The team first had to establish and define their team roles. They had to learn how to use the MuzzyLane application as well as learn about gaming concepts. To figure out the type of game they wanted to create, they tested out exemplary games. They also had to design a game template from which to build their game modules.

Game Theory

While exploring game theory, the MCC team focused on four primary areas:

  • Goals: What was the success terms?
  • Rules: What parameters were put in place?
  • Obstacles: What challenges were put in place? Does the game become more challenging as experience builds?
  • Support and Feedback: Were there opportunities to fail? If so, what were the support and feedback mechanisms?

The team leveraged the most and least preferred gamification techniques, such as:

  • progressing to different levels
  • earning points or score
  • providing real-time feedback
  • showing progress bars

The MCC team pointed out other game considerations. These considerations focused on integrating games with an LMS like Blackboard. Leveling could be accomplished with an adaptive release. Also, badges could be awarded with Blackboard’s achievement feature.


Accessibility is a consideration that must always be considered. Gilbert pointed out that common accessibility strategies could be used with MuzzyLane such as captioned videos, alt text for images, and transcriptions.

The Game

Gilbert and Dugan gave a quick demonstration of their game. Their study skills game was broken into 7 missions. Here are examples of those modules:


When building their game modules, they used many resources. Here are some of those resources:

Lessons Learned

Dugan and Gilbert shared a number of lessons learned from the experience.

  • They found the MuzzyLane authoring tool to be easy to use with exceptional feedback and support from the MuzzyLane team.
  • Project management was challenging and time-consuming.
  • The project took much longer than initially expected.
  • Ensure that you have clear objectives from the outset.
  • Take time to develop clear team roles and responsibilities.
  • Continuously get feedback through surveys and focus groups.
  • Dial in your scoring and feedback mechanism early.

Additional Resources

The team shared a number of other resources to help make the journey easier.

This was a very informative presentation. I certainly picked up a number of new ideas. If you are interested in learning more about game-based learning, please drop by the TEI Synergy Center to visit with me.

Additional Reading

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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