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How Researchers Can Work With An Educational Video Game Studio

As a mission-based for-profit company, we’re fortunate to have built strong relationships with several academic institutions working at the forefront of cutting-edge game-based learning research. Here at Filament our teams follow this research with great interest, oftentimes allowing the discoveries to reshape our own methodologies and approaches when warranted. Here are a few of our latest roundups that you can review for a quick summary of the research we are reading:

In fact, we are looking forward to launching a new program later this year to further connect our practice to the research conducted by leading game-based learning scholars. More on that soon!

Every so often we get the chance to be a part of a grant team, usually to create a game or simulation for the express purpose of research. These are well-loved projects in our studio as our teams get the opportunity to work hands-on with subject-matter experts who are deeply entrenched in the art and science of game-based learning, creating innovative experiences that realize the full potential of the medium. Over our long tenure in the learning games space we’ve had the chance to work on groundbreaking research projects in collaboration with institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyVanderbilt University, the University of Wisconsin–MadisonRowan University, the University of California Santa Barbara, and Teachers College, Columbia University.

As a researcher in game-based learning, you have a few options to use in your research, each with pros and cons. I’ve outlined them below:

1. Use an existing game.

Some researchers are able to use an existing game for their research. By far the simplest approach, this option allows you to spend your budget on actual research rather than diverting dollars to development. The disadvantage of this approach is the challenge of finding the perfect game that is engineered to test out your hypothesis and adequately collect the data that you need for your research. In speaking to researchers, this rarely happens – generally there needs to be additional development completed on the game or compromises made in the research approach.

2. Fund students for development.

Some researchers are able to fund students to develop the game they need for research. This means the researcher can have a custom game developed to suit their needs. Some universities are equipped with robust programs that employ students to develop games, with the cost of these resources being far lower than hiring a professional studio. Other universities that don’t have such programs are sometimes still able to hire individual students to create games. While this is an economical approach, we’ve heard from some researchers who have gone down this path that the level of talent and commitment to their project can widely vary. In addition, the researcher then becomes the manager of a game team which may or may not be in line with their primary skillset.

3. Hire a professional educational video game studio.

Some researchers are able to build allocation into their budget to hire a professional educational video game studio like Filament Games. The advantage to working with us is that you have access to a professional team of game-based learning experts who have years of experience designing and developing learning games on a fixed budget and timeline. Furthermore, you now have an experienced partner who is a resource to bounce ideas off of and offer guidance in the production process. The drawback is that this is likely your most expensive option – however this ensures that you will be working alongside a mature partner equipped with the skills and experience needed to develop the optimal game for your research needs.

If you are thinking of applying to an educational research grant and you are considering partnering with us, let’s chat. We make efficacious and engaging learning games for any age group and on a multitude of devices (PC, mobile phone, tablet, custom hardware, VR and AR). At no cost to you, we can develop a game pitch and concept art for your proposal and allow you to include our experience and qualifications to augment your application.


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