The following statement is written by David Smeaton for assignment 2.

When we play computer games we learn. Learning is acquired through repetitive gameplay, participating in online communities (Brown and Thomas 2011), and training in game based skills. Considering that gamers spend over 3 billion hours a week playing their favourite computer games ( 2012) – there’s a lot of practice, participation and learning occurring! The Triforce of Gamer Knowledge is a framework for understanding how we acquire knowledge and skills as a direct result of interaction with computer games.

The Triforce of Gamer Knowledge

Watch the video here -

The Triforce of Gamer Knowledge is a framework for understanding learning through games. It’s built around the concept that by interacting with games, gamers learn various skills and build a large knowledge (Ito 2010). The purpose of creating The Triforce of Gamer Knowledge is to show that learning already occurs through gameplay.

The framework is divided into three sections: In Game Knowledge, Beyond Game Knowledge, and Game Based Skills.

In Game Knowledge

When gamers are immersed in game based realities they practice actions such as fighting, trading, exploring and interacting with the game. Through this, the gamer acquires an encyclopaedia of knowledge about the game world (Brown and Thomas 2011). Players learn the game world’s history and geography. They learn basic economics and the value of in-game items. Gamers also learn technical data (hit points, weight, modifiers, magical enchantments) about weapons, creatures, and other items.

World of Warcraft (Blizzard 2013) is a good example of how games offer enormous amounts of world related knowledge. The World of Warcraft wiki (wowwiki 2013) has over 98,000 pages of information about every aspect of Azeroth, its geography, history and inhabitants. This wiki is compiled, edited and curated by the World of Warcraft user base.

World of Tanks (Wargaming 2013) is a military game based on real world tanks. Players learn about tanks, nations and technical data relating to guns (damage values, shell penetration, aiming time and reloading time). An expert World of Tanks player can recite thousands of pieces of intricate data related military vehicles and other game play elements. World of Tanks gamers also memorize the layout of more than 10 maps, studying and understanding strengths, weaknesses and strategic positions on each map.

Beyond Game Knowledge

Beyond Game Knowledge is the richest learning area within the Triforce. When gamers participate in online communities, they create original content and share ideas with other players (Brown and Thomas 2011). The fact that gamers create and share shows that gamers are a part of a collaborative culture (McGonigal 2011) and engage socially online (Ito 2010). Through the creation of content gamers learn a wide variety of skills including music, programming, image editing, drawing, craftwork, and YouTube videos.

When gamers make tutorials to explain a game’s elements, they often record videos and publish them on Youtube. The process of creating videos gives a gamer the opportunity to practice and learn narration, voice-overs, editing, and cinematography. Gamers also make logos, title screens, credits and other graphics. The act of repeatedly making videos improves a gamer’s ability to produce more professional and succinct videos – the result of which is that the video will get more views and receive more feedback.

Cosplay is another example of Beyond Game Knowledge. Cosplayers take virtual characters and items then transfer those items into the real world using crafting and tailoring skills. A cosplayer needs to research intricate details about a game-based character and their costume. The cosplayer needs to source all of the materials needed to reproduce that costume then make the costume – cutting, sewing and gluing the pieces together. The costume might also include accessories (swords and jewellery) that need to be bought or made. Finally, the cosplayer applies make-up, designs their hair and adds finishing touches such as contact lenses or prosthetics (such as pointy elf ears).

Game Based Skills

Game Based Skills are a way of understanding skill building that is acquired naturally through repeated game play or related activity. These skills are split into two main areas; In Game Skills and Beyond Game Skills.

> In Game Skills

In Game Skills are the abilities that a gamer practices and acquires directly through game play. Twitch skills (fast movement), actions per minute, touch-typing and problem solving skills are all abilities that a gamer develops during the game. Twitch skills allow a player to move more quickly, giving them a split-second advantage over other players. Touch typing skills allow a gamer to quickly communicate with other teammates to coordinate their efforts. Fast actions per minute is the use of keyboard macros to perform multiple tasks as quickly as possible, crucial to gaining an advantage in games such as StarCraft (Blizzard 2013).

> Beyond Game Skills

Beyond Game Skills is an extension of the learning acquired in Beyond Game Knowledge. When a gamer makes music or learns how to build a custom gaming computer, they practice related skills such as playing musical instruments or computer assembly.

A craft maker who creates game inspired jewellery practices metalwork and other jewellery making skills. A gamer that makes toys practices sewing, stitching and knitting skills. Cosplayers practice hairdressing and make-up skills.


As a part of developing The Triforce of Gamer Knowledge, I shared the resources with academics and teachers who have an interest in digital culture, serious games, and learning through gaming. The feedback I received was constructive and useful for further developing and improving the game-based learning framework.

C. Lankshear – Professor and Author

Lankshear’s feedback focused on purpose and context:

You have identified instances, but it is not clear to me how they apply to learning outside of games, hence it is important whether or not you are wanting to make connections to education in the everyday sense.

Lankshear raises the issue of relevance and whether learning within The Triforce of Gamer Knowledge can be transferred to other real world contexts.

This concern plays into an issue that I’ve discussed with Chris Bigum about the need to “validate” learning through games. Initially it’s more beneficial, I believe, to let game-based learning stand on its own merits. Also, adding connections to other educational areas would only serve to convolute the resource and Triforce framework.

Maybe you are wanting to use it as some kind of stimulus or starter resource for encouraging certain kinds of thinking, or thinking in particular area. As a summary statement with gorgeous visuals it is interesting and well produced.

Lankshear’s following comments reinforced my own thinking about the purpose of this resource – that it would be a way to introduce the idea of the potential gaming has as a learning resource and the learning which happens already that isn’t (for the most part) being acknowledged.

M Dezuanni – Academic and Teacher

Terrific video! You've certainly shown the rich ways in which gamers 'learn' as they play.

Dezuanni’s first comment was constructive praise of the resources, pointing out that the video shows very clearly how learning through games is ‘rich’ and valuable. This comment’s positive endorsement suggests that the video will be a useful resource for other academics, teachers and parents.

I guess one of the key things to think about when you construct a model like this is whether it accounts for all aspects of learning / knowledge in a complex way. An area I am particularly interested in is embodied knowledge - how do our bodies incorporate particular knowledge / skills as we play.

Dezuanni has suggested a very important consideration regarding the learning framework. He recommends adding ‘embodied knowledge’ as a learning area. Dezuanni believes that bodily knowledge such as anticipation, reaction time and situational awareness are skills that can be developed through gaming. He suggests that, mostly, this idea of bodily knowledge is worth investigating further. Dezuanni’s feedback is useful for validating an area of learning that I had considered but rejected. The reason for not including such skills is twofold: keeping the framework less convoluted; and avoiding skills that are less tangible and difficult to measure. However, the suggestion is significant and has given me something useful to look at when updating the resources.

Dezuanni and I have continued dialogue regarding this point and I may be able to find a way of incorporating bodily knowledge into The Triforce of Gamer Knowledge framework.

C Seymour – Primary School Teacher

Seymour’s feedback focused more on practical uses of the resource in a classroom setting.

… forums, wikis, cosplay etc are a great way of externalizing in-game knowledge. I agree that mods/skins are fantastic at not only teaching players about things like code, and letting the players feel included in the game's development as their creations get shared around by other players.

Seymour’s first point is agreeing that creative content produced through games provide great learning opportunities and could also useful in the classroom. He liked the idea of using these outcomes as ways of showing results to other teachers and parents. The fact that students have played games and produced tangible results, Seymour believes, validates gaming.

… a warped sense of history, justice, social awareness can be created.

A criticism Seymour raised was not of the framework itself but of the games that are played. In a follow up conversation, Seymour observed that the game World of Tanks advertises itself as a first person perspective strategy game based on real military vehicles. He notes that, actually, some of the vehicles (and numerous modules such as guns, radios and turrets) are not historically accurate. In fact, some tanks are completely fictional. This issue can be extended to games that use anti-heroes as the protagonist, potentially giving gamers a biased sense of justice and morality.

Seymour’s point is a useful observation. In relation to The Triforce of Gamer Knowledge, it could be noted that critical thinking and research skills become a valid Beyond Game Knowledge toolset for analysing in game content and determining the historical accuracy of game content or moral righteousness of characters. As such, it’s pertinent to include critical thinking, research and related skills to the Game Based Skills pillar of the Triforce.

… they are intrinsically fermenting micro global communities, niche villages with commonalities that bring people or all ages, religions, genders together.

Seymour’s last comment relates to a sense of community. He agrees that The Triforce of Gamer Knowledge could be used to show stronger development of community skills and awareness of other cultures and religions through interaction with global gamers. I too have directly observed cultural learning and sharing (as a side conversation) when gamers from different countries come together and discuss their favourite games. This is a point that will also be added to the framework in the future.

J. Gee – Professor and Author

Extremely well done. I am CCing [redacted] and [redacted] so they can take a look.

While positive, Gee’s comments were not constructive. However, I’ll take what I can get! *smile*


References (uncited) – Further Reading

Brown, J.S. (2005). New Learning Environments for the 21st Century. Paper presented at the Forum for the Future of Higher Educcation, Aspen, Colorado.

Brown, J.S., & Thomas, D. (2006). You Play World of Warcraft? You're Hired! Wired, 04(14), 2.

Brown, J.S., & Thomas, D. (2008). The Gamer Disposition. Harvard Business Review, February, 1.

Dyck, J., Pinelle, D., Brown, B., & Gutwin, C. Learning From Games: HCI Design Innovations in Entertainment Software.

Gee, J. (2008). Video Games and Embodiment. Games and Culture, 3(3-4), 10.

Ito, M. (2006). "Engineering Play: Children's software and the cultural politics of edutainment." Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education.

Ito, M., Horst, H., Bittani, M., Boyd, D., Herr-Stephenson, B., Lange, P.G., … Robinson, L. (2008). Living and Learning With New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project.

Juul, J. (2009). A Casual Revolution - Reinventing Video Games and Their Players. Massachusetts, USA: MIT Press.

Lange, P. G. (2010). Learning Real-Life Lessons From Online Games. Games and Culture, 6(1), 17-37.

McGonigal, J. (2010). Gaming Can Make a Better World. Paper presented at the Ted world.html

Nardi, B., Ly, S., & Harris, J. (2007). Learning Conversations in World of Warcraft.

Shaffer, D., Squire, K., Halverson, R., & Gee, J. (2005). Video Games and the Future of Learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 78(2), 9.

Wilber, D. (2010). Beyond New Literacies. Digital Culture and Education, 2(1), 6.

Wingrave, C. (2011). Minds of Chimera: Adapting MineCraft for a Creative Learning Platform. IEEE Learning Technology Newsletter, 12(4), 77.

Zichermann, G. (Producer). (2010). Fun Is The Future: Mastering Gamification. [Workshop Speech] Retrieved from

References (cited)

Blizzard (2013). "Blizzard." Retrieved 19 May 2013, from

Brown, J. S. and D. Thomas (2011). A New Culture Of Learning - Cultivating The Imagination For A World Of Constant Change. Lexington, USA, Createspace.

Dezuanni, M. (2013). TGK Feedback. D. Smeaton. (2012). "Gamification." Retrieved 22 September 2012, from

Gee, J. (2013). TGK Feedback. D. Smeaton.

Ito, M. (2006). "Engineering Play: Children's software and the cultural politics of edutainment." Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education.

Ito, M. (2010). Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out. Massachusetts, USA, MIT Press.

Lankshear, C. (2013). TGK Feedback. D. Smeaton.

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality Is Broken. New York, USA, Penguin Press.

Seymour, C. (2013). TGK Feedback. D. Smeaton.

Wargaming (2013). "Wargaming." Retrieved 19 May 2013, from

wowwiki (2013). "World of Warcraft Wiki." Retrieved 11 April 2013, from