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Active Learning Multiplayer Scenario Game-Based Learning: A Deep Explanation of this Guide

An explanation of this guide in four easy steps.....

Why the need for a gathering of Active Learning Scenario Game Resources

1: The Active, Experiential, Problem-Based Learning Concepts

In this new era of student-centered learning the “traditional” chalk and talk lecture format of old – the so called “sage on the sage” – is being increasingly replaced with the “guide on the side” concept in which the instructor acts as facilitator and guide and the student takes a more active role in their own learning.  This new pedagogy concept is described variously as active learning, engaged learning, experiential learning, problem-based learning and game-based learning (GBL).  

2: Nuance of the Concepts

Each of these concepts have their own particular nuanced meanings (which are examined in this guide) depending upon who is defining it.  Indeed, the subtle differences in the literature are such that it is difficult to clearly distinguish between them at times. Active learning is experiential learning is engaged learning is problem-based learning. Some texts use the terms almost interchangeably. 

But the concepts do have a central them in common - the idea that learning should not be a passive event for the student.  Students should engage with and interact with the material.   Instead of being “told or even “shown”, they need to actively engage with and “experience” the subject.

3: Learning Scenarios & Impresarios

Indeed, this move toward a more engaged student role has allowed the instructor to up his/her game to be a more effective facilitator of the student’s learning experience.  In his book “Teaching as the Art of Staging: a scenario-based college pedagogy in action” college professor Anthony Weston has coined the term "impresario with a scenario."  Whereas "guide on the side" indicates a teacher who takes themselves off the center of the stage and "guides" students in knowledge acquisition, a scenario impresario plays a more active role in insuring their student's engagement and experiential learning. They do this by “staging” learning scenarios.

Such learning scenarios are immersive gaming interactions with systems, and as such are game-based learning.   The literature (analog and digital) for learning about and applying the concepts and systems integral to this game-based pedagogy is vast, and this guide is an attempt to gather and organize these resources.

4: Layout of this Guide

In order to reduce the number of main heading tabs,I have divided the concepts into several main page headings and then assigned, as necessary, concepts to sub-tabs under some headings.  

Thus, for example, as indicated in the boxes below, each of the general active learning pedagogical concepts has been assigned its own sub-tab under the main heading pedagogical concepts and each of the type of games has been assigned a sub-tab under the main heading game/scenario concepts.  Main headings that contain sub-tabs have ALL CAPS. Other main headings subsume related and supportive concepts.

Pedagogical Concepts

  • Active Learning
  • Experiential Learning
  • Problem-Based Learning

Game / Scenario Concepts

  • Escape Rooms
  • Megagames
  • Alternate Reality Gaming

Regarding the replacement of "immersive" in the guide title

In the original incarnation this guide was entitled "Active Learning Immersive Games for Learning." I have replaced the term “immersive” with the term “multiplayer” in the title for this guide.  I used “immersive” in the traditional sense as defined by Merriam-Webster -providing, involving, or characterized by deep absorption or immersion in something - such as an activity or a real or artificial environment.  I see the immersive quality as an emergent characteristic of the synergy of scenario, player-interaction, and experience, which is a hallmark of scenario games.


But, an unspoken,critical driver of this synergy is multiplayer interaction. This characteristic I think needs emphasis because it is the qualification that makes for dynamic classroom learning and distinguishes scenario games from most serious games and simulation training games, which tend to be single player/single screen. I think immersive learning naturally flows from good multiplayer interaction.


Besides the fact that merely adding the term “multiplayer” to my title would make it even more unwieldy than it already is, the term “immersive” has come to be closely associated with virtual reality (VR) in education and training in the field of immersive learning. Though the term means generally the same thing in both digital and non-digital environments, the former is realized via high-end technology and the later usually by physical props and the imagination of participants (think Escape Room). With the prevalence of virtual reality (VR), the overwhelming perception of "immersion" involves virtual goggles and 3-D generated worlds. Thus, though I think one can have an "immersive" experience without high-end technology, I am willing to concede this term to the digital environment.  I trust it shall add clarification on both ends of the analog/digital spectrum.


--- April 7, 2023


Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Immersive. In dictionary. Retrieved April 7, 2023, from

Please note  these tactical distinctions are my own based on my current interpretation of the concepts as they appear most often in the literature.  My interpretations of headings and sub-headings of the concepts may vary at times from those found in the literature. I am certainly open to correction and reinterpretation from my colleagues in the field.