Interesting blog post (this is me saying you should read it). Really ties into a couple of basic principles. 1. who, what, when, where, why and 2. Activity Loops: Engagement loops (motivation, action, feedback) or Progression loops (onboarding, challenge, rest- repeat a few times with increasing challenge slowly leading up to a boss fight). Badges are good example of an engagement loop. 3rd principle this post ties into is go social. People want to share what they do with their time. It connects us.
You are doing good business now. The idea behind gamification is that you want your business to be even better. This means utilizing the best of your current practice to motivate existing customers to recognize your brand, participate, and spend more.
A well designed customer gamification program identifies and enables power social media users to become social media brand ambassadors. Using the best practices in the industry, gamification can be turned to a powerful social customer acquisition and activation mechanism.
1. Define the gamification target. Your target determines everything. Understanding the habits of your target will make or break your gamification program.
2. Measure statistics about target. How often does your average customer engage now? What are the statistics divided by type of activity, divided by customer age, location, device usage, product usage?
3. Build gamification achievements based on statistics. Abstract how measurable statistics change over time throughout the customer lifecycle…
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Motivating students to achieve, learn, retain. It’s what instructors and instructional designers want. The question continues to be how to do it best, your newest buzz word- what’s “best practice”? Gamification is another buzz word being throw around in various sectors from corporate business to education, with claims to increase interaction, sales or engagement by supposed triple number percentages. Gamification is the process of applying game elements to ordinary activities to affect a desired change. A best practice, possibly. Get ready for a news flash: education is already gamified.
But, Education Is (Poorly) Gamified
Is education is already gamified? Some say yes it is, yet poorly. We say poorly because students aren’t effectively engaged and compete poorly on a global scale. Let’s address some game design elements currently used in education:
- Course objectives are goals for attainment.
- Students earn points for completing tasks (assignments=quests).
- Students collaborate in groups (guilds).
- Students get feedback through grades.
- Students level up based on points, moving from C-> B -> A. Students level up through grade years as well.
- Grades K-12 have honor rolls while universities have the Dean’s List in the way of leader boards.
- The ultimate badge/certification is a diploma.
The imperative is to address these game elements, as well as others, in order to make them more effective towards the course objectives. Game design is everywhere, as Elizabeth Sampat argues. Gamification is one tool for learning in education, not a solution or magic formula. It depends on the design, the mechanics. Good Design = Good Gaming.
Get Practice in Game Design
Before you begin to apply game elements to your lessons, you may want to get into the “trenches” first. Playing well-designed games is a great way to start to get experience in gamification and game design. Find games that have a “stickiness” factor- the addictive qualities or that desire to make you want to keep playing. Ask yourself why you keep playing? What makes you think about the game when you are not playing? What game elements are used and what continues to motivate you? What frustrates you, though not enough to make you want to give up? These are the elements you should captivate and employ to increase collaboration and engagement in your courses.
Check out 16 principles of good game design by James Gee for more details how to apply game elements to education. My favorite is “pleasantly frustrated,” whereas I continue for the past 249+ days to try to beat level 147 in Candy Crush with the sound turned off (because it is annoying), without contributing any money to it’s company, King.
Examples of Applying Game Elements to Education
1) BOSS LEVEL
Applying game elements to education is especially effective when you teach the players how to build their own game. This Edutopia article describes how students create their own boss level assignment to overcome. The phrase “boss level” refers to the culminating challenge in a video game where players use all the skills they have to solve the problem. Students apply what they have learned during the semester to create a challenging task, a Rube Goldberg machine (a machine designed to accomplish a simple task in a complex way, usually through chain reaction)- transitioning the learner to leader. This approach provides prime opportunity for a student-centered learning environment.
Professor Lampe from University of Michigan teaching informatics shares how he gamified his class lectures here through- *gasp* a video. Prof. Lampe has received testimonies from his former students noting they have a better recollection of the class experience and the course content compared to others classes. Study is still ongoing to quantify the result of the gamification of his course.
3) THE QUEST
Steven Johnson from Temple University introduced The Quest to his MIS3538 Social Media Innovation course. He used self-paced learning and self-selected activities that progressively got more difficulty providing feedback through points, badges, ranking through a leader board and recognition for leveling up. Read more about it.
Hopefully this has your brain gears churning away of how to apply gamification principles to engage students. Don’t forget to leave us a comment especially if you think Candy Crush’s music is weird or if you have used gamification in your course. Until next time, keep on gaming!
- Are video games the key to engaging students in STEM education? (smartbrief.com)
- MQ: Gamification in Education (kendyreece.wordpress.com)