Topic of the Month: Gamification

A central assumption that underlies the use of games in education is that they motivate the learner. The idea of games as a “fun” activity pervades thinking about games in education, and perhaps paradoxically also underlies some of the resistances to their use in educational contexts. Other elements involved in games are also understood to be beneficial and these underlie the notion of gamification, in which “elements” of games are applied to other activities, which are framed as initially non game-like and then transformed by the “gamification” process. Frequently what takes place is an overlay onto the original activity of some element of competition, a points system for example. This is often only partially effective and frequently the gamification of the system is itself “gamed” by the user. These superficial approaches to the use of games to transform activity may not reflect fully what is actually occurring in gameplay. “We don’t play the game of the game, we play it to hack it” (Recent comment by 13 year old). Play is an important part of the equation, and deeper approaches to gamification can involve more complex transformations of the context and activity. This ToM will explore different understandings of gamification and discuss examples of gamification and the degree to which they are effective both at achieving short term objectives and in terms of the deeper transformations taking place.

  • Absolutely true and not only for students. I find my self "hacking" gamification attempts for instance of "To do" apps that rewards users for creating tasks and accomplishing them. And "gamified" travel sites... Isn't this part of the gamification process? trying to find the best strategy to get the highest score even if it doesn't follow the official rules?

  • Just the other day I came across an app that counts the amount of my daily steps and awards me for taking more of them each day. I find this app motivating for walking more, but I realised that it also stimulates me to take my mobile phone everywhere with me, though this might not be the best idea. For example, I usually don't take my phone with me to the class, but I realised that my "daily activity" drops on these days because of that, therefore I found a way how to trick the app to record that I did the extra steps.

    Another app that I use is actually a gamification of learning a new language. It rewards me for coming back to the app each day and do a certain amount of studying. I find it interesting and a good stimulus to learn more. But as Carlos said before, also I tried to hack this app, because there are days when I am too busy to study, but haven't found it yet.

    I find the apps that motivate me to move more or learn and compete with myself in doing so really fun. They have transformed my lifestyle at least a bit for the better and I feel bad if I try to hack them, because I know I am cheating myself by doing so. Perhaps this is what we want to achieve with gamification: to through using the game motivate people to learn certain things in more fun and responsible way, so they know that if they are looking for the heck, they are actually cheating themselves and not the teacher.

Sign in and join this group to reply.