HOME: Prisoners' Dilemma Layered Simulation Prototype

Executive Summary

Note:  Kay McLennan's Prisoners' Dilemma [Game Theory] learning simulation
was a finalist (3rd place) in the U. S. Army's 2012 Federal Virtual Challenge 
(formerly the Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge) 
in the"Engaging Learning: Concept Building" category
(see http://fvwc.army.mil)

The overarching training goal is to use learner feedback to stage engaging and effective virtual simulations.  The specific training goal is to facilitate learning outcomes related to different applications of [mathematics-based] game theory and strategy.  Specific game theory applications include the economics of cooperation and other disciplines. 


Using student ratings of different virtual world learning simulations and activities -- on interactivity, engagement (or fun), and contribution to course concept understanding -- a new multi-layer virtual world learning simulation was envisioned [based on the most highly rated elements].  In turn, the Open Simulator-based Prisoners' Dilemma Layered Learning Simulation Prototype (and accompanying Game Theory & Strategy Lab) was developed and submitted for consideration in the 2012 FVWC contest.  The layers in the Prisoners' Dilemma Prototype include both real time and asynchronous learning activities, interactive components, self-practice, different resource materials, learner-relevant examples, and relevant historic figure life stories.


Looking specifically at student rankings of virtual learning activities, interactivity is an essential ingredient in engagement (or strongly correlated with engagement).  Still, engagement is NOT equally correlated with increased learning outcomes.  Interactivity is highly correlated with engagement in classroom learning, traditional online learning, and the different virtual world learning simulations but engagement is ONLY highly correlated with increased learning outcomes in virtual world and online learning activities.  Further, students ranked virtual simulations they can relate to and inspiring life stories from relevant historical figures as highly engaging.  Finally, as a surprising finding, students favorably ranked different resource simulations (including in-world slide shows and vocabulary flashcards).

 Prisoners' Dilemma Layered Simulation Prototype
@ tulaneSCS_03 149, 111, 23


The Prisoners' Dilemma Layered Learning Simulation Prototype entry is available for self-tours on the tulaneSCS_03 island (at 83, 84, 23) in the MOSES virtual world (see and http://fvwc.army.mil/moses/join-moses-today/ for more information on the MOSES virtual world grid).
After logging into MOSES and teleporting to the Game Theory & Strategy Lab (again, on the tulaneSCS_03 island), view the research findings display to see how different virtual world learning activities (and traditional online course learning activities and classroom instruction) were rated by students (on interactivity, engagement, and contribution to course learning outcomes) @ tulaneSCS_03 130, 110, 23.
Research Findings Display [in the Game Theory & Strategy Lab]
@ tulaneSCS_03 130, 110, 23
Next, tour the Prisoners' Dilemma Layered Simulation Prototype with the specific component parts including the following (see the video clip below for more instructions).
  • Prisoners' dilemma real time game (for two or more players) in either a single round or multiple rounds @ tulaneSCS_03 149, 111, 23.
  • Multiple slide show presentations and game theory vocabulary flash cards resources (for either asynchronous or real time access use) @ tulaneSCS_03 142, 94, 23.
  • "Leave a bot behind" asynchronous communications center for students (in the moot court jury box) @ tulaneSCS_03 138, 84, 23.
  • Links to more information about John Nash and his discovery of the Nash Equilibrium @ tulaneSCS_03 144, 83, 23, including a movie trailer for "A Beautiful Mind."
  • Self-test application (to test the student's understanding of the dominant strategy concept) @ tulaneSCS_03 149, 89, 23.
  • Additional examples of non dominant strategy games (including the snowdrift and chicken games) @ tulaneSCS_03 123, 87, 23 and @ tulaneSCS_03 118, 92, 23, respectively.
  • Interactive chicken game, where two or more students can play chicken by [digitally] driving a car off a cliff (or not driving off the cliff) @ tulaneSCS_03 98, 200, 22.  Notes on the Chicken Game:  Two versions of the chicken game have been made available (see the second video clip -- entitled "Chicken Game Vehicle Script Options" -- below).  To play the chicken game #1, click on a car on the cliff, select ride, and use the back arrow on your keyboard to drive forward.  Also, your avatar will be sitting backward when moving forward.  To rezz/reposition a new car on the cliff, click on the arrow button and select "Build."  To play the chicken game #2, click on one of the car dispensers on the ground level, open your inventory, select the 1957 T-Bird object, and click on "Wear."  Next, use your keyboard arrow keys to move the car and reposition the car for repeated tries.
  • Military strategy applications:  Guerrillas versus Police and Colonel Blotto @ tulaneSCS_03 114, 165, 23 and @ tulaneSCS_03 101, 152, 36, respectively.
  • Break-out discussion areas (on the first and second floors of the Game Theory & Strategy Lab building)@ tulaneSCS_03 143, 167, 23 and @ tulaneSCS_03 168, 142, 23.
  • Matrix concepts and probabilities mathematics review displays (on the third floor of the Game Theory & Strategy Lab building) starting @ tulaneSCS_03 124, 82, 49 and@ tulaneSCS_03 131, 175, 49, respectively.

Video Tour of the Prisoners' Dilemma Layered Simulation Prototype* 

Prisoners' Dilemma Layered Learning Simulation Prototype ‎‎by Kay McLennan

 * The movie trailer for "A Beautiful Mind" featured in the video clip above can be accessed "in-world" in several ways.  If an older (read:  non media-on-a-prim enabled) viewer is used, click on the movie camera icon (pictured below) -- to receive a note card with the link that can be viewed in an internal or external browser window.  
 @ tulaneSCS_03 142, 82, 23
Alternatively, or if a viewer with media-on-a-prim capability is used (read:  Imprudence 1.4.0 beta 2 or any type of V2 or V3 viewer), click on the movie camera icon in your viewer (either along the lower band on your viewer or in the upper right hand corner of your viewer) to use the "media on a prim" feature to watch the trailer in-world (see the media on a prim in-world alternative below).
 @ tulaneSCS_03 141, 80, 23

Video Tour of the Two Versions of the Chicken Game

Chicken Game Vehicle Script Options.mp4



[A free] Viewer** software download is needed to view and/or try out the Game Theory & Strategy Lab in its "in world" setting in the MOSES grid.  More specifically, the recommended viewer (Imprudence 1.4.0 beta 2 for both Windows and Mac) is available for download at http://wiki.kokuaviewer.org/wiki/Imprudence:Downloads
Note:  When using the Imprudence viewer, the MOSES grid information has to be added to the viewer Grid Manager.  More specifically, when the Imprudence viewer program is open, click on the "Grid Manager" button, click on "Add New Grid," and enter "MOSES" into the Grid Name text box and in the "Login URL" text box.  Next, click on get the "Get Grid Information" button and "Apply" and enter your MOSES avatar user name and password.
If you need a MOSES avatar, visit the account sign-up page at
**  The recommended viewer set-up (to enable the quick rezzing of all of the sculpted objects in the Game Theory & Strategy Lab) includes increasing the render load factor (or a change that will not impact the performance of your viewer).  To increase your viewer's render load factor: 
  • After you are logged into MOSES, hold down your CTRL + ALT keys and then press the "D" key (to activate the Advanced menu tab on a PC or hold down the CTRL + OPT keys and then press the "D" to activate the Advanced menu tab on a Mac);
  • Click on the Advanced menu (located in the upper left-hand portion of the viewer screen);
  • Click on "Debug Settings," type in "RenderVolumeLODFactor," change the value to 8.0, and hit the enter button on your keyboard.
Also, if you are asked to allow the media (from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS_d0Ayjw4o = a movie trailer from "A Beautiful Mind") to play, click on the "yes" button.


The hardware needed to access the MOSES Open simulator virtual world platform includes a [fairly high end] computer (and a high speed cable or DSL Internet connection).  Note:  For further information on the recommended hardware specifications, see the recommended information at http://secondlife.com/support/system-requirements/ (with the Second Life recommended specifications a useful proxy for the specifications needed to access an Open Simulator virtual world).
Also, a tour of the Prisoners' Dilemma Layered Simulation Prototype only requires the use of a built in speaker (to hear the audio from the "A Beautiful Mind" movie trailer).  Still, when using the Prisoners' Dilemma Layered Simulation Prototype in an instructional setting, students need noise reduction headsets to use the voice chat virtual world feature.
Game Theory Defined
@ tulaneSCS_03 108, 92, 23

More Details

Layered simulations provide a means for supporting the different learning style and/or scheduling preferences of students -- by offering both asynchronous and real time learning activities.  In addition, layered simulations provide the same benefits of an Open Simulator type virtual world and more -- see below.
  • With access to extensive in-world building tools, simulations can be easily and quickly developed or modified.
  • The ability to easily stage simulations that are either too costly or dangerous to stage in face-to-face settings.
  • Offering asynchronous activities supports both academically strong and academically weak students.  That is, academically strong students can take advantage of additional enrichment activities while academically weak students can spend longer periods of time on the available simulations and activities.
  • Taking advantage of the 24/7 aspect of asynchronous virtual world learning activities leads to more efficiencies in training.
  • Interactivity is highly correlated with engagement and when it comes to virtual world learning activities, engagement is highly correlated with increased learning outcomes.

Further, looking exclusively at students' views of level of engagement associated with different instructional delivery modes, students find virtual worlds learning simulations to be most engaging (4.4 on a 5.0 scale) followed by traditional online learning (4.1 on a 5.0 scale), with classroom learning considered to be the least engaging (3.5 on a 5.0 scale). Finally, students gravitate towards topics that they can related to (for example, gender dynamics in the workplace) and find inspiring life stories from relevant historical figures (for example, "Meet the Economist") to be highly engaging. 

Note:  See the sections of this site entitled "Student survey data" (parts one and two) to learn more about the student feedback collected and the limitations of the available student feedback. 

 Matrix Concepts and Probabilities Mathematics Review Displays
[on the 3rd floor in the Game Theory & Strategy Lab]
@ tulaneSCS_03 124, 82, 49 and@ tulaneSCS_03 131, 175, 49, respectively