While it has become quite faddish in education circles and keenly taken on by business (think loyalty programmes for one) which has prompted something of a backlash (you’re doing it wrong), there are still a lot of elements of gamification (adding gaming elements to enhance immersion and engagement) that can play a valuable role in education.
It’s worth noting at this point that there are some very real concerns about the abuse of gamification to control behaviour, particularly in a consumerist business oriented kind of way. While I recognise the potential power of gamification, I can’t help feeling that business will take a simplistic, short term view and try to wrench as much money out of the process as quickly as possible and in a short period of time, the majority of consumers will wise up to this as just another marketing tool. This will then leave better, deeper gamification available to educators.
From an educational standpoint, I find it interesting that gamification seems to be a far more Behaviourist type approach to learn (stimulus and reward) and imagine that it won’t be long before the Constructivist orthodoxy starts to crash down upon it.
This week looked at game mechanics, victory conditions, badges and multiplayer classrooms – the nuts and bolts stuff that we can use to rejig our courses.
The Pew Research Center has some great research about perceptions of gamification
TechCrunch provides a great insight into the process of game design by showcase the SCVNGR playdeck, their detailed listing of the varied game mechanics that can be employed in designing games. Terminology can get a little jargonny but it’s a good jumping off point.
Badges – which we’ve looked at/questioned here before in the context of BLAP (badges, levels, achievements, points) – are kind of a big deal in the concept of gamification at the moment and while there are still some legitimate questions about their value, they are very well explained in this Educause paper.
My personal feeling – there seems to be something wrong with the idea of doing things just to get things (rather than for the learning) but they can provide a sense of progress and recognition of work done that is inarguably motivating.
Finally, Debbie Hemley puts together a solid list – if somewhat randomly structured – of elements of gamification in marketing here –
Update – Interestingly, as I hit Post, I had this pop up on the side of my browser. Can’t say that I’d seen it before but it is a game element in itself. Not that I particularly care whether I reach 625 posts – or why this should be considered a significant number but I can’t help but wonder what happens when I reach the star at the end of the progress bar.