I've been thinking about games and learning, and can't help but wonder if patterns aren't an important part of it all.
My last couple of posts were long and dry, but I attempted to look at how games might be related to problems, and specifically Jonassen's 9 problems types. The more I think about it, the more I think the more popular games fall in the middle of Jonassen's problems. They aren't the logarithmic or story problems, neither are they the design and dilemma problems. They are the rule-using problems, decision making problems, troubleshooting problems, and the diagnosis-solution problems.
And it seems to me that these kind of problems are replete with patterns. This relates to the whole idea of 'learning is fun'. Some kind of learning is fun, a lot of fun. And in my mind, I think the fun learning is all about quickly recognizing patterns, predicting patterns, manipulating those patterns in hopes of achieving an end, and finally, mastery of patterns to completely obliterate your opponent.
Anyway, these are just 'initial' thoughts. I was playing Civilization the other night (when I should have been doing homework or sleeping), and I just couldn't turn the game off. I had made some choices that I thought would pay off, and I kept hitting the 'end turn', anxious to see if my predictions would turn out. I was manipulation about 7 different patterns and wanted to see the outcome.
Anyway, I'll have to think about this some more. I probably need to play some more Civilization to completely immerse myself in the thought process.