Status and Learning in The Sims Community

Jeremy Dietmeier


Given the increasing pressure to attend top colleges, students are placed into a competitive education model even though research suggests that such direct competition causes students to feel anxious and teaches them not to enjoy learning (Squire, 2010). A viable alternative to this model is to create a learning community in the classroom, possibly through the use of online forums. These communities have been forming naturally online around video games with participants voluntarily coming together to learn. This paper looks at one such learning community that has risen around The Sims 3 at the forum site Mod the Sims. Through an analysis of explicit visual status markers, the behaviors or those with and without status, and the importance of status in this space, we begin to see the attributes of this learning community. After outlining the data collection methods, I present an analysis of selected data and the ways in which a learning community promotes education.