A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the eLearning Guild online presentation of their 360 Report on Immersive Learning Simulations hosted by Steve Wexler and Mark Oehlert. The conversation was initially focused on defining just what ILS is. I was of the naive mindset that ILS = dragons and virtual worlds and high-end 3D graphics and enormous budgets. Something that will be out of range for most organizations, at least for now.
Mark tried to set me straight on this point. By "immersive", what we actually mean is "addictive." A game that you don't want to stop playing. This could be tetris or solitare. Low-end on the graphic scale, but addictive nonetheless.
Lots of us e-Learning designers have built plenty of games into courses: crossword puzzles; mini-jeopardy; drag and drop. I often find the use of these kinds of games to be somewhat gratuitous. Look, we made a game! Aren't we fun? Aren't we creative? The client asked for a game, and, boy, did we deliver.
I suppose these types of games may actually add to the learning experience by providing repetition of learning points, but to call these games immersive or addictive? Learning designers will have to get a lot more creative in order to take these kinds of games to the next level....perhaps Patrick Dunn can provide us with some pointers on that. Karl Kapp often links to good examples of educational games, although these are typically created for the K-12 environment.