Preface: Why this eBook?

Games and Canvas are both interactive mediaThroughout my Curriculum & Instruction doctorate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in coursework and research projects investigating effective methods of teaching and learning, I struggled to find a way to encapsulate the lessons learned. Research in the Learning Sciences is clear that active learning is the way to go, but what does that really mean?

In my graduate work there and ever since, I’ve never found a resource that so succinctly explains and demonstrates how good learning principles can be applied as well as James Paul Gee does in these 13 principles. The problem, for some, is that he shows how they appear through the learning in good video games. For many, any mention of video games is a non-starter.

My goal in this eBook is to more closely tie these principles to learning activities that can be done in a blended (face-to-face and online) classroom. Each chapter in this presently-evolving eBook will attempt to first explain one of Gee’s principles, and then offer examples of aligned blended learning activities.

Please interact in this ebook with your own teaching in mind. Consider, whenever possible, how the activities in your class can be enhanced — even a little — with a boost in one or more of these thirteen ways. This is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It’s doubtful that you’ll ever find an activity that excels in all 13 principles, but if you can incorporate something from each of the three overall themes, you’ll be on your way to a more engaging and effective course:

  1. Empower Learners
  2. Use Good Problems
  3. Reveal Systems

Even if you choose not to go through this ebook, I encourage you to take 23 minutes and view the video playlist of Gee explaining the principles.

Thanks for reading!

John Martin


P.S. Welcome to the Good Learning Principles ebook!

This is different than a standard book or PDF in that this ebook will use Hp5, Google Docs, and Google Forms for additional interactivity. As you go through the ebook you will encounter a variety of responsive knowledge checks and prompts to reflect on what you’re seeing and reading.

If you’d like to know more about the UNIZIN-hosted Pressbooks system used to create this ebook, check out the Active Teaching Labs from November 8, 2016 and April 1, 2016. Creating H5P content can be both simple and confusing. Visit the H5P online tutorial page for step-by-step instructions.

For example:


13 Principles of Good Learning in Games — Applied to Teaching Copyright © by not copyrighted here. All Rights Reserved.

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