It’s great to be able to welcome Priscilla Haring to Gamifeye today to share her views with us on the recent report published by Gartner about the tendency towards badly executed gamification strategy. This will be Gamifeye’s last post before Christmas, so enjoy!
Press release: Analysts Discuss Key Issues During Complimentary Webinar, “Gamification Trends and Strategies to Help Prepare for the Future” on November 28
In this press release many sensible things are stipulated: We are currently in the hype-phase of game powered change. Most people who want to be working with this great new thing grab hold of what is easiest to define and understand: points, badges and leaderboards; only to realize later that when you have a bull by the horns, you’d better know how to handle the bull. 80% of all gamification implemented at the hype-high will fail due to a lack of game-design, Gartner says and I believe it. But let us not confuse this upcoming mass failure as a failure of the concept of gamification. It is a failure of the application, due to a lack of understanding. To which the obvious solution is to get educated.
The report continues to state three business objectives that can be assisted through gamification: Changing behaviours, developing skills and enabling innovation. I would like to take a closer look at the ‘developing skills’ idea, which refers here to an immersive learning experience. Two categories are given (both sound more like serious gaming than gamification to me):
When mixing games with learning three paradigms might be applied as the mixing agent: Motivation paradigm, Reinforcement paradigm or the Blending paradigm. In the motivation paradigm the idea is to use the allure of gaming to pull students into the learning space; once you have them there and you have their full attention you can shift this attention to any educational content. The reinforcement paradigm uses the pleasure of entertainment as a promise, once the educational content has been processed you ‘unlock’ the fun part. Sadly, in both paradigms learning and the play are separated and in this chasm the objections to such approaches exist.
In the motivational paradigm the educational content is likely to be a disappointing experience after the enjoyment of the game. In the reinforcement paradigm the educational content runs a high risk of becoming an unpleasant task, undertaken only to arrive at the pleasurable part. Although it is true that the whole experience can be called ‘immersive’ or ‘engaging’ this engagement is reserved for the part that entertains us. The solution is as simple as it is complicated; blending entertainment with education. This means no division between learning and play but learning BY playing and vice versa. Here we reach the ‘no cookie cutter solution’ area. To use the very skill you are trying to teach as (one of) the driving game mechanic takes a creative approach. It takes a different approach every time.
What we CAN say is that this blending can be facilitated by heightening our sense of self-presence, spatial presence or social presence. Stay tuned for more about the concept of Presence in my next article…
P.S. Haring, Media psychologist and games researcher.
Image author: illuminated_photography
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