Monday, October 13, 2014

Gamification

Throughout most of the articles I have read, Gamification involves the interactive "application of game elements in non-gaming situations" (7 Things You Should Know About Gamification). This article in particular discusses the multiple dimensions of Gaming or Gamification as it has been utilized in workplaces and classrooms alike. Particularly, the use of games is used to motivate student behavior, foster interest, and create an "engaging dynamic".

Furthermore, and perhaps most relevant to what we have discussed throughout this course, Gamification "facilitates the formation of learning communities," and "has the potential to help build connections among members of the academic community, drawing in shy students, supporting collaboration, and engendering interest in course content that students might not have otherwise explored" (7 Things You Should Know About Gamification). This notion of establishing connections is one we have studied at length in terms of creating a global network through technology in the classroom. Additionally, as the article points out, the use of games involves both collaborative and individual effort which helps foster teamwork and effective strategy skills.

Within the classroom, interactive games can serve as a content-delivery mechanism. As discussed in the article 7 Things You Should Know About Games and Learning, there is a practice of "gameful learning" which increases engagement, enhances learning, and allows for an exploration of new models of education which may not be available within a standard classroom. Additionally, gamification is significant within the classroom as it allows students to "...acquire information and hone abilities while achieving interim goals that provide a clear sense of progress, rather than simply focusing on completing the course". Furthermore, students get hands-on experience work with tactics and strategies, allowing them to understand various processes, procedures, and the "value of alternative paths". In this sense, Gamification places real-life learning strategies within a make-believe, interactive environment where errors are not punished rather fostered for improvement.

The very framework of gaming allows for such benefits within an educational model. As discussed in Tom Chatfield's 7 Ways Games Reward the Brain, the neurological processes of competition, risk/reward, and uncertainty are the driving forces which allows gaming to be captivating and useful. Chatfield notes, "In the world today...it's very,very,very hard for people to learn if they cannot link consequences to actions". By creating an alternative environment where mistakes are made and rewards are implemented, students can experience first-hand the value in effective strategy skills, as well as the importance of collaboration and feedback whenever failing. Furthermore, the reward system found in most gaming activities, especially when rewards are uncertain, will yield the greatest excitement. As Chatfield describes, "If you can model things for people, if you can give things to people that they can manipulate and play with and where feedback comes, then they can learn a lesson, they can see, they can move on, they can understand".

Chatfield ends his talk on a discussion of engagement which is directly linked to educational purposes. Through gaming, Chatfield claims, we can observe "what makes people tick and work and play and engage on a grand scale in games". With this knowledge, we can externalize or "turn these things outwards" and utilize gaming practices in the classroom, influencing not only how students learn and interact, but influencing how instructors can teach in a transformative technological era.


1 comment:

  1. Nicely done. You have hit on several important features of gaming in education. I particularly like the quote you inserted from Chatfield, "If you can model things for people, if you can give things to people that they can manipulate and play with and where feedback comes, then they can learn a lesson, they can see, they can move on, they can understand".

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