Gamification in MOOCs

This video about gamification sounds interesting.  How would gamification be applied in MOOCs (both xMOOCs and cMOOCs)?  Your views.

Smart gamification


Gamification – Is that the strategy that will lead you to the promised land?

Gamification: that involves applying game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. Gamification has been called one of the most important trends in technology by several industry experts.  Gamification is a strategy which has its precursors from the Soviet Union’s involvement of workers at work with games and experiments and USA’s various management approaches, with a sense of  childhood’s play, to weaken the split between work and play.   Such strategies have also been widely used in the design of multi-media games for entertainment, which engage the game players with “playfulness” and fun.

Gamification sounds novel to education, and has not been widely applied as yet.  However, if we treat education as a business entity, then why can’t education be gamified?

As cited in wikipedia “Business applications for gamification are just beginning to appear as well. RedCritter Tracker incorporates gamification elements such as badges, rewards, leaderboards and ribbons into project management.[10]

The magical bullet with gamification relates to:

1. Turning grade into fun – with game levels

2. Using agency in game – to provide choice

3. Leverage external motivators – with game, and Alternate Reality Game.

Integrate these games into classroom activities, tasks and projects, and you would have a class of students ready to share ideas, using games-design to approach problems, or to explore ways to solve real problems, or taking up an adventure.

I could imagine that within a few years, there would be a plethora of gamification in education and learning, when badges become the norm in recognizing those learners who have achieved certain levels of “capability” or competency in networked learning, or in building networks for collaboration and cooperation.

The Google document, wiki, Google Hangout, and Blog collaboration could also be part of this gamification, in search of new knowledge or adventure in emergent learning.  The recent x MOOCs could all be “badged” to recognize the learners too in their “levels” of involvement and engagement, though it is still too early to come up with a model that would gamify the whole x MOOC business of education.

It’s really up to your imagination to engage and involve both learners and educators in education in this exciting network of learning, and gamification could be an important strategy both for the institutions and educators to employ in getting the learners on board and be engaged, with fun.

If you are looking forward to the promised fun land, isn’t gamification the way to go?

Photos: Google image

How have you used gamification in your field of work, or education?

Postscript: An interesting post.







Impact of internet on our brains

What is the Internet Doing to our Brains?

Dr. Paul Howard Jones shared his views and findings in the video.

Is Google rewiring our brains?

Is it true that the more time we spend on internet, the less time we spend in real life socialising?

In the highlights of Recent Social Network Site Research

– SNS’s generally stimulate teenage social connectedness and psychological well-being

– It is about how the technology is used: Benefits if supporting existing friendships

Is the internet bad for us?

Paul compares technology of fire-making

– GOOD for warmth and toasting muffins

– BAD: if used carelessly – No panic headlines: “Fire may destroy us”

– we understand dangers and precautions.

It’s about how we use technology – when, how much, what for…

So, it is the affordance of technology that makes the difference, based on what and how technology is used in situations.

Would the use of internet lead people to do more or less physical exercise?  Research findings on this were divided – with some indicating that people exercised more whilst others indicating that people exercised less with the use of internet.

Are games (and internet games in particular) good teachers?

In Paul’s views games could be good teacher.

Action video games improve:

– Performance on many visuomotor tasks

– Switching of visual attention

– Suppression of distracting visual influences

– Inference of an action’s probable outcome

– Contrast sensitivity (primary factor limiting sight)

What are people doing on internet?

– Adults – pornography & illicit relationship

– Young people – gaming

This is an interesting finding.  I think it depends on what sort of games people are involved in.  There are World of Warcraft, educational games etc.

In the virtual World such as SecondLife, there are lots of people immersed in it, for socialising, communicating and sharing, education, or dating etc.  There are huge potential of the use SecondLife in Medical and Health Education, SecondLife in distance education.

Another reason why games could simulate learning is based on the premises that : We love uncertain rewards.  This is especially true for those of us who like to overcome the obstacles, and to achieve certain outcomes, like advancement of achievement levels and engagement and interaction with others to accomplish team, network, or community (or COPs) goals – that’s the reward that most of us like.  These may relate to the use of gamification to engage people (students in particular), so they would interact with the games, people and those involved in the system.

What else have you found, with internet and games in particular, on our brain?

To explore further:

How about the impact of internet on teaching and learning?  Your views….

#Change11 Gamification in Education

Is autonomy the name of the education game?
Here is a report on how gamification in education works.

Some experts call his approach an example of  “gamification”: use of game-like elements to increase student motivation or engagement.

“It is the use of game mechanics to make courses more engaging,” said Matt Kaplan, managing director at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan. “Students will have to think, ‘How do I learn in this class, or where should I spend my effort?’ And they have to do it very carefully,” he said. Since the course is self-regulated, students have to take responsibility in building the coursework. And they have to have explicit goals early on and then take steps to achieve those goals.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

I have created a number of posts on gamification in education here, here, here and here.
In a conversation with one of my best friends on MOOC, I wrote:
How many of the participants in MOOCs have ever thought about using Game Theory in facilitation, discourse and assessment (and grading)?  First, I am not sure if there are any education training programs having game theory as part of it. Second, the win – loss in games seem to be too dangerous in education, especially when it would become a behavioral approach towards learning, manipulating people in order to achieve the goals and outcomes.
Game Theory is used throughout business.  The recent edX, MITx, Udacity, Khan Academy, etc. all use Game Theory to a certain extent.  How? They all recruited lots of participants to join their “education revolution” and claimed glory because of that.  The Professors got their sponsorships, fame through promotion of their courses, their flipped classroom theory, their ground-breaking teaching etc.
So, why aren’t many others (in MOOCs) using such Game strategies to achieve similar Halls of Fames.  I am not saying that we should sacrifice education with commodification and monetization. What I think is, if one (or George, Stephen and others) wants to play the game of MOOC, then the application of Game Theory would help in understanding how we could achieve, using a hybrid of education/business model which is sustainable.
This similarly applies to Connectivism.  I think the principles behind Game Theory is also part of Connectivism, when applied in education and learning.
So, is Game Theory built on scientific grounds? Can Game Theory be used in online and distance education (as a business or personal learning)?
The closest to Game Theory that have been used in education is Learning Analytics, and in theory it is based on a scientific approach.  However, like Game Theory, there are still lots of ethical and privacy concerns.  Also, those sponsoring the project would try every means to influence the outcomes, so that only favorable ones would be published, and unfavorable ones would be dampened or never published.  That’s again a part of the Game – under Game Theory.
In summary, I reckon education and learning is a game, and now it’s a different game that we all need to adapt in order to play well.  Education Institutions could shape, respond, or adapt to the game as they play. This philosophy could equally be applicable to every educator and learner, as we are all part of the GAME, the Game of education and learning in this evolving and emergent world of education  and learning.


#Change11 Gamification

Though I am not a game fans, I found games quite interesting.

I have learnt a few skills merely by watching this video.  Besides, I have played many video games in the past, which required the collection of inventories, reading of instructions, and using a lot of tactics and strategies to “stay alive” in the game.

How does playing game relate to my learning?

In this Gamification :

“Gamification typically involves applying game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. A few simple examples are things like earning points and setting goals with Nike+ to motivate yourself to exercise more, and, the site where you can virtually DJ for your friends and random strangers — earning points based on your performance which allows you to unlock cool new avatars to show off your skills.

According to a 2011 Gartner Research Report it is estimated that by 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes.

Refer to this Gartner Research Post:

“Gamification describes the broad trend of employing game mechanics to non-game environments such as innovation, marketing, training, employee performance, health and social change,” said Brian Burke, an analyst at Gartner. “Enterprise architects, CIOs and IT planners must be aware of, and lead, the business trend of gamification, educate their business counterparts and collaborate in the evaluation of opportunities within the organization.”

For example, the U.K.’s Department for Work and Pensions created an innovation game called Idea Street to decentralize innovation and generate ideas from its 120,000 people across the organization. Idea Street is a social collaboration platform with the addition of game mechanics, including points, leader boards and a “buzz index.” Within the first 18 months, Idea Street had approximately 4,500 users and had generated 1,400 ideas, 63 of which had gone forward to implementation. Further examples include the U.S. military’s “America’s Army” video-game recruiting tool, and the World Bank-sponsored Evoke game which crowdsources ideas from players globally to solve social challenges.

The goals of gamification are to achieve higher levels of engagement, change behaviors and stimulate innovation. The opportunities for businesses are great – from having more engaged customers, to crowdsourcing innovation or improving employee performance. Gartner identified four principal means of driving engagement using gamification:

1. Accelerated feedback cycles. In the real world, feedback loops are slow (e.g., annual performance appraisals) with long periods between milestones. Gamification increases the velocity of feedback loops to maintain engagement.

2. Clear goals and rules of play. In the real world, where goals are fuzzy and rules selectively applied, gamification provides clear goals and well-defined rules of play to ensure players feel empowered to achieve goals.

3. A compelling narrative. While real-world activities are rarely compelling, gamification builds a narrative that engages players to participate and achieve the goals of the activity.

4. Tasks that are challenging but achievable. While there is no shortage of challenges in the real world, they tend to be large and long-term. Gamification provides many short-term, achievable goals to maintain engagement.

So, it sounds pretty promising by fusing games in learning and development, by encouraging engagement, conversation and feedback in an organisation, and in the networks or community.

Picture: from Google