Darn Clark! And here I was going to spring this same post. Anyway, since you already spilled it, I want to follow and extend a bit.
What Clark posted was a little re-cap of part of the keynote that Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata delivered to a packed house at this year's Game Developers Conference. I'll say that I was in the audience that packed the San Jose Civic Auditorium (we were actually 2-3 deep standing around the top and some were left outside - the capacity is slightly over 3,000). Let me just say - the dude was ON! Forget the problems of english not being a first language - Iwata was engaging, funny, personable and darned interesting.
Clark, in his post, points to a section of Iwata's speech in which he (Iwata) lays out the "Four I's" that Nintendo uses as game development standards. They are:
"First, is it truly innovative - something different from what has come before? Second, is it intuitive? Do the control of the game and the direction of gameplay seem natural? Third, is it inviting? Do you want to spend time in this world? And finally, how does it measure up in terms of interface? Can the player connect in new ways?"
Here is what I want. Quick - someone start talking to me about how these are not valid design considerations for learning. Start telling me about how what we do is serious and this stuff is just frivolous, meaningless - dare I say the "F" word? Fun? Tell me about constraints. Tell me how learning is different from gaming. Tell me about how so much of our thinking about learning is calcified and how we as an industry seem to have lost the ability to think within frameworks such as this. Someone tell me how putting the "next" button in the lower right-hand corner (oohhh maybe with rounded edges instead of square ones) is inviting, intuitive, innovative or considers the user as a requirements generator in the design of the interface at all!
I swear I think I know what it is - and the news is both good and bad. The good news is that's its not really our fault - phew - as instructional designers, we were just born like this. Like color blindness or being tone deaf- our handicap doesn't prevent us from functioning in the world - just from perceiving it clearly. The bad news is that its genetic - this goes to our core and it reveals the shocking fact that gaming and instructional design (note: I did NOT say learning) come from two distinct evolutionary branches.
Gaming comes from play and art and music - from a creative place. Where does instructional design come from? There are a few probable fathers but chief amongst them is World War 2. The real drivers were the need for effeciency and effectiveness. Not exactly the most forgiving or indulgent of parents. So now we come to present day and shocker!...processes derived from a need to have a conscript military force rapidly trained in set patterns...are breaking down in the face of generational and technological changes that were never anticipated or dreamt of at the dawn of ISD (at least not by instructional designers).
So we have a practice, a set of ways of knowing what to do, that are radically unable to keep pace (and its getting worse) and all we can seem to talk about is how to generate templates faster. We need to be talking about gene therapy; about some radical treatments that can save the best values of ISD and yet jettison - in some wholesale fashion - the outdated and outmoded ways of thinking about humans and how they learn (but that's really not what we think about is it?).
What is the answer? I don't know. I know enough to listen though when a man speaks who has a set of design principles flexible enough to produce both Super Mario Kart and Brain Age. Let's stretch people...left leg...on three....