Thursday, 18 July 2013

Gamification in learning

I am currently on a MOOC called game elements for learning. One of the things I think those who want to gamify confuse is using a game for learning and using elements from games for learning.

A lot of the advanced material for the course is focussed on making games and using this as active learning. At work there is a collaboration between politics and computer science to build games to help students to understand political theory or actual events. There can be a lot of benefit from using simulations especially when doing the real thing would be dangerous, or for testing responses in a controlled environment.

All of this is good but it is very technology and development heavy. Without good infrastructure and support and with limited amounts of time this is going to be too much for many users who are struggling as it is with workloads and lack of funding.

The multiplayer classroom had a much more technology light approach. The key is the elements of the game that we can use without the technology. It is the mechanics that matter more than the actual implementation. It is too easy to focus on the surface and forget the underlying processes. Laurillard showed this with multimedia. Often the students get so obsessed with using the tool they do not process the material. The key thing about gamification is promoting the conversational framework between students and teachers. So using experience points and badges, making tests into monster battles, using the elements of games is something everyone can do and that doesn't take an expert programmer to achieve. These for me are the real game elements.

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