Objective Power

by Michael Wolfe

Michael's current job is as an Engineer for General Dynamics. He is an avid swimmer and enjoys travelling to far-away places.

Instructional Objective The learner shall be able to classify the given objective by matching the objective to its corresponding performance and content.

Learners/Context The learners are students currently enrolled in Educational Technology 544 or anyone needing reinforcement of Merrill's Component Display Theory (CDT).

This card game would be used by the student after the class discussions and related readings regarding CDT have been completed. Several sets of the card game would be managed by the Instructional Media Lab and available for all Ed Tec students. It is intended to be used outside of class for practice and/or remediation purposes.

Rationale The material to be learned is structurally an easy one to master. As seen below, it can be thought of as a 3 x 5 matrix with 14 unique classifications of objectives.

              Fact          Concept       Procedure     Rule          Principle     
     Use      ////////////                                                          

A card game is useful for this type of instruction for several reasons. The amount of material to be learned is discrete and well-defined, the required learning of classifying objectives lends itself well to a card game and having a card game introduces a unique way of learning this material.

Rules The game is played in the following manner:

1. Separate the Objective, Performance and Content cards. Choose one deck of the Objective cards and lay the other two decks aside. Place the first two Performance cards face up one below the other. Place the remaining cards face up to the left forming the Performance stock. Do the same for the Content cards by placing the first two to the right of the Performance cards. Place these remaining cards face up to the right of the Content cards forming the Content stock. The four cards in the center form the tableau. Your setup should look like the one below:

2. Shuffle the Objective cards and turn them face up two at a time in front of you, forming the discard pile. After reading the objective written on the card, decide on the performance and content of the objective and try to match these attributes of this objective with the performance and content cards in the tableau. Any one of the two performance cards in the tableau may be used with any one of the two content cards in the tableau. For example, in the figure above there are four possible performance/content combinations; find/fact, find/rule, use/fact and use/rule.

3. If a match is found, remove the Objective card from the discard pile and its matching Performance and Content cards from the tableau and place all three cards in a separate pile. As each match is found and removed from the game, keep the cards separated from previous matches. Place the top Performance and Content card from their respective stocks and place them in the empty slots of the tableau. The topmost card in the discard pile may be used to match with the new tableau. Continue going through the Objective cards two at a time repeating as necessary until either no more matches are found or the solitaire is won by matching all objectives with their performance and content.

4. To determine if your classifications are correct, match the objective number and the color of the Objective deck being used with the colored numbers shown on each of the Performance and Content cards that you've chosen for the objective. For example, as shown in the sample cards above, in order to verify for objective "2" of the green deck that it matches with its performance and content, the Performance and Content cards should show a green colored "2".

In the unusual case where no matches can be found when there is only one combination of performance/content shown in the tableau, place the top card from each of the card stocks and place them above the topmost cards in the tableau. All six cards may now be used in the game. If a match is found, continue play with the remaining four cards as long as.they comprise more than one performance/content combination.

Card Design

Deck Design There are three types of cards used in the game:

1. Objective cards-To give the learner more practice, there would be three decks of Objective cards each containing all 14 performance/content components. The decks are color-coded to distinguish them from each of the other decks.

Face up, written on each of the fourteen cards, is one objective corresponding to each of the classifications shown in the matrix on page 1. Face down shows the number of the objective for that deck. This number has no meaning other than as a means for the player to check how well they've performed. (See rule #4)

2. Performance cards-There are fourteen of these cards divided into the three behaviors of CDT; five cards each of the "find" and "remember" performances and four cards of the "use" performance.

Face up, the card shows the name of the performance; face down the card shows a mix of color-coded numbers. (See Rule #4)

3. Content cards-There are also fourteen of these cards divided into the five content areas of CDT; three cards each of the "concept", "procedure", "rule" and "principle" content and two cards of the "fact" content.

Face up, the card shows the name of the content; face down the card shows a similar mix of color-coded numbers. (See Rule #4)

Design Process The first design consideration was deciding on the type of structure to use for this instructional problem. At first, a two-handed game to be played in EDTEC 544 was considered to help facilitate the exchange of ideas between the players. This was ruled out due to the compacted schedule of the class. A solitaire structure fits nicely with the needs of the individual student and doesn't impede class time. This structure would also require fewer decks to produce thus lowering production costs.

Another hurdle to overcome was addressing the issue of how a student would know whether he/she was correct in their matching abilities without resorting to a separate answer key. Obviously the solution was to incorporate the key onto the card itself without also being obvious to the player while engaged in the game.

I thought about having more than one objective for a particular classification and leaving others out but trial runs showed that players didn't keep track of what classifications of objectives had already been matched. Having one objective for each classification also eliminates the need to have more than one deck of Performance and Content cards.