This study attempted to shed light on when/why common gamification techniques (points, levels, leaderboards) harm intrinsic motivation, as measured by the intrinsic motivation inventory (IMI). They found that, for this image-tagging task, intrinsic motivation was not harmed and the number of tags increased with all three interventions. They conclude that these techniques could be useful for some tasks. There are limitations, which the authors acknowledge. In this situation leaderboards, etc don’t mean anything here, they don’t create stress, in other situations they might well.
Suzi watched FOTE12: Nicola Whitton ‘What is the Future of Digital Games and Learning’. This was an interesting short talk, covering interesting examples:
- Marketplace – business simulation giving students immediate feedback
- The great history conundrum – puzzle card game (presentation slides about the game)
- Staying the course – starting at uni game from MMU
Whitton argues that a key idea from games that’s overlooked is play. She talks about the idea of creating a “magic circle” – a safe space to practice, have fun, and make mistakes. Her suggestions for considering gamification include: implement some mystery, do something unexpected, be playful, and create a safe space to make mistakes.
Chris read about the Reading Game from Macquarie. This is basically exactly the same as Peerwise, and appears to be defunct – probably because Peerwise has cornered the market. So, I then talked about my recent experiences of Peerwise. We’ve just used it with our first years, with mixed results because they didn’t engage as much as I would have liked, and many people only did the minimum required for credit. However, Peerwise contains a scoring system that rewards students for various kinds of participation, and some people have reported that using this to introduce an element of competition can motivate students to participate. So next year, rather than asking students to do a certain amount of work for credit, they will be asked to achieve a certain score. Watch this space….
Mike looked at Evoke, an online multiplayer game with grand ambitions to help people ‘change the world’ by collectively addressing problems. Element see relevant to HE and Bristol Futures in particular, whilst parts of the approach would (I suspect) alienate some potential participants.. The idea of coming up with ‘Evokations’ (grand challenges people can respond to) has been used successfully elsewhere. The use of mentors to facilitate, prizes to incentivise seem sound. Evole had a time-based (weekly) structure with people being drip fed the stages, which reminded me of the Twelve days of Twitter course. The thing that might be off-putting to some is the suggestion that people take on superhero-like persona. The point scoring part looked complicated, but may have worked to motivate some.
Roger read Lameras (2015) Essential Features of Serious Games Design in Higher Education . This paper provides some useful scaffolding for teachers thinking about using games or gamification techniques. Particularly useful were:
- the game design planner, which provides some prompts for teachers considering using games, eg around learning outcomes, feedback, and the teacher’s role, as well as which types and characteristics of games might be most appropriate in the context, eg types of player choice and challenge, nature of any collaboration or competition, and rules
- The mapping of learning attributes to game attributes, eg ways in which games can support information transmission, collaboration, and discussion . Key game attributes include rules, goals, choices, tasks, challenges, competition, collaboration, and feedback, which are evidenced in game features such as missions, puzzles, scoring, progress indicators, leaderboards, branching tasks, gaining / losing lives and team activities
It is evident from reading the paper that there is a strong overlap between game design and good learning design in general, for example in the importance of feedback, challenge, choice and social learning.