Gamification: Improve Active Participation and Retention

Published by Mrs. AD on

(Photo credit: UX Planet)

There is a change coming to the world of education. Memorization and bulk knowledge are no longer sought after in the job market. The focus is shifting towards cooperation, communication, and the ability to find information on the fly; knowing how to learn will be more important than what you have learned in the past. Enter Gamification. Everyone is familiar with some type of game, be it a board game, video game, or something as simple as Bingo. Games are synonymous with fun, no matter your age. Gamification takes this mentality of gaming into education by applying the skills to learning. Playing a game involves critical thinking, planning ahead, and sometimes a group effort to achieve a certain outcome. These are all assets employers value in todays job market, so naturally any learning that would foster these skills in the student offer a life long benefit.

What exactly is Gamification? Glad you asked! Gartner defines Gamification as: the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals (Burke). Specifically, Gamification is the implementation of gaming elements into instructional design to help better engage the learner with the material and make learning fun. Generally, this method is used on an individual achievement basis rather than on competition between students as you find in traditional gaming scenarios.

(Photo credit: header Facebook group Game-based Learning, Gamification, and Games in Education)

Gamification is a rather new technique in terms of education. It has seen mainstream success in corporate training environments but I wanted to know more about how it is utilized in K-12 systems. I searched the internet for groups that promote the use of Gamification and found there are many well-established communities.

A quick Google search for “Gamification Network” quickly produced the Gamification Research Network (http://gamification-research.org/). The pages tagline reads “News, discussion and resources on the use of game design in non-game contexts.” This is a single person driven blog about all forms of Gamification, not only in the use of education. Unfortunately, while it looks like the author, Sebastian Deterding, had a great run steady content from 2011-2017, there were only 2 posts written in 2018, the last being from October of that year (and this post centering around Steve Bannon being the keynote speaker of a small academic conference). I would not recommend adding this to your list of blogs to follow as it seems to have fizzled out (on a low note at that). The reason I included it at all is that it is a prime example of how the top searches from Google can turn out to be disappointing. It did however lead me to the next organization on my list: CHI PLAY.

CHI Play is an international, interdisciplinary conference held annually focusing on high-quality research on games and HCI (Human-Computer Interaction). It is also part of the ACM SIG conferences, which I have attended in the past with regard to animation and visual effects. While the website is mostly dedicated to the facilitation of scholarly submissions for this years convention, it does have a plethora of content from previous years, including keynote speakers, scholarly reports, and connections to all of the participating organizations. This year’s conference will be held October 22-25 in Barcelona, Spain, which would be so lovely to attend if only I was not student teaching at this time.

Facebook had several great groups for discussion on the topic. I joined three of them: Game-based learning, Gamification, and Games in Education (https://www.facebook.com/groups/learningwithgames/about/); GAMIFICATION (https://www.facebook.com/groups/gamification4all/); and Gamification of Learning and Instruction (https://www.facebook.com/gamificationLI/?ref=timeline_chaining). GAMIFICATION is definitely the best moderated of the sites with over 3,863 members and 27 posts within the last 30 days, however, they are a closed group and have yet to accept my membership so I cannot attest to the quality of the interactions at this time. Gamification of Learning and Instruction is set up as an organization page around the book of the same name, not a membership, so there is no need to pass a moderator to access their content. Even though it is not technically a community the author posts a lot of great content and there is a good deal or participation from the 4,300+ followers.

Twitter was not as productive on the Gamification front. Hashtags like #gamification and Scott Herbert’s #gamemyclass are great resources for more information on Gamification. (Note: Scott Herbert did a great TED Talk on Gamification in the classroom, watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOssYTimQwM). Most of the twitter accounts on Gamification are for businesses that market themselves as gamifiers of content. Considering I am looking to create my own games for education I did not find their (mostly product driven) discussions helpful, with the exception of one. Gamification+ (https://twitter.com/gamifiplus), definitely the twitter feed for a business, retweets a lot of content from other users, publications, YouTube videos, and many other sources that went beyond product advertising and into a networked space. Because of this, they have earned my follow.

Sources:
Burke, B. (2014). G-A-M-I-F-Y: How Gamification Motivates People to do Extraordinary Things. Gartner, Inc. New York, NY.

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3 Comments

oprol evorter · June 15, 2019 at 10:06 am

Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

ExoRank · February 2, 2020 at 8:16 am

Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂

AffiliateLabz · February 16, 2020 at 1:48 am

Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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