The SCOOT 10% Rule: Game Design and Learning

Polson, Debra & Morgan, Colleen (2010) The 10% rule. Maximising learning through collaborative game design. In Arnedillo Sanchez, Inmaculada & Isaías, Pedro (Eds.) Proceedings of IADIS International Conference Mobile Learning 2010, IADIS Press, Porto, Portugal, pp. 197-204.

The 10% Rule: The likelihood that any ‘player’ of a game appreciates only 10% of the collective knowledge required to ‘make’ the game.


This paper presents a retrospective view of a game design practice that recently switched from the development of complex learning games to the development of simple authoring tools for students to design their own learning games for each other. We introduce how our ‘10% Rule’, a premise that only 10% of what is learnt during a game design process is ultimately appreciated by the player, became a major contributor to the evolving practice. We use this rule primarily as an analytical and illustrative tool to discuss the learning involved in designing and playing learning games rather than as a scientifically and empirically proven rule. The 10% rule was promoted by our experience as designers and allows us to explore the often overlooked and valuable learning processes involved in designing learning games and mobile games in particular. This discussion highlights that in designing mobile learning games, students are not only reflecting on their own learning processes through setting up structures for others to enquire and investigate, they are also engaging in high-levels of independent inquiry and critical analysis in authentic learning settings. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the importance of these types of learning processes and skills of enquiry in 21st Century learning.

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