Richard Van Eck, Ph.D
While serving as an IDT faculty member at the U of M, Dr. Van Eck was also a member of the Institute for Intelligent Systems and the committee chair for the Center for Multimedia Arts in the FedEx Institute of Technology. He has published at length in the area of digital game-based learning (DGBL) and has numerous keynote and speaking engagements to his vita. In 2006 and 2007, Van Eck called for Institutional Support for faculty development and research in the area of DGBL and challenged instructional design scholars to focus on three key areas DGBL study: 1) Generating and Validating DGBL Theories and Models, 2) Generating Guidelines for Practice, and 3) Generating a Body of high-quality DGBL (Van Eck, 2007). As a result of Van Eck’s challenge and corresponding ten critical tasks, the body of research in DGBL has grown. Current research is focusing not just on how games work, but also how different types of games work. In addition, researchers are investigating questions about culture, age, gender, preferences, interaction, etc. in relation to DGBL.
Van Eck is a self described gamer, his first being Cave/Adventure in 1976. Van Eck also suggests that games are preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s workplace (Van Eck, ELI Spring, 2007). In my estimation, Van Eck is a significant figure in the fields of education, Instructional Design, and Digital Game-Based Learning. His research and theories are paving the way for the collaboration of instructional designers and game designers, and thereby perhaps changing the face of future instruction.