Chuen-Tsai Sun

Institute of Computer Science and Engineering
National Chiao Tung University


Chuen-Tsai Sun is a Professor in Department of Computer Science, National Chiao Tung University. He received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering (1979) and his M.A. degree in history (1984), both from National Taiwan University, Taiwan. He received his Ph.D. degree in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992. From 1991 to 1992 he was with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, where he participated in research projects on fuzzy neural networks. Since 1992 he has been with National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan. He is currently engaged in research and teaching in the areas of digital games, digital learning, and simulation-based social studies. He is also in charge of the Fengcheng community university in Hsinchu city, Taiwan.

Tel: +886-3-5731972
Department of Computer Science, National Chiao Tung University
1001 Ta Hsueh Road, Hsinchu, Taiwan.


What and How Do Players Learn in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs)?


In contrast to console games in which players explore game worlds and solve problems on their own, MMOG, with a primary characteristic as being social games, constantly engage players to interact with each other in their virtual worlds, providing complex social contexts for learning. For example, while interacting with multiple online players, a player may simultaneously play multiple characters, serveing a different gaming or learning purpose by each.

Based on previous observations and analyses, I will discuss, in this talk, MMOG gamers' behaviors with the goal of providing a better understanding of MMOG affordances for learning and, hopefully, shedding light on ways of giving proper learning assistance to players without interfering with their "magic circle" of play.

My discussion of learning in gaming will touch on the following questions:
How do players explore game worlds in a collaborative manner? How do they construct and share knowledge and help each other learn in various ways? How do they create and negotiate new rules for play? What are their motivations to do so?

For example, while game theorists have analyzed player types and development stages, I would emphasize that these types and stages are intertwined, not only among different players, but also among multiple characters played by a single player at the same time. Also, designer should recognize a MMOG player's agency in a collective manner. Players, despite being individually influenced by game design, co-evolve with that design and game operation as a whole, making their game world dynamic to the point that it exceeds game designer expectations-a point to be considered when designing a game with learning in mind.