Why the Avatar system works- Pedagodgy

Making it like a game

The Avatar system is part of a new trend in education often called “gamification .”    The basic principle is that games do a much better job of creating engagement and “flow” than traditionally structured interactions.   We all play games, and often we would rather play a game than do our work.  The avatar system takes advantage of this by making your student’s work more game like.     Students experience extrinsic rewards for the game activity which gradually become intrinsic when they associate positive experiences with the academic game play.

Games aim to create a state referred to in positive psychology as “flow.”  Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.”  When we are “flowing” we are at our most creative, and we are accomplishing the most.  The major determinative factors of flow are motivation and challenge.  Our avatar system is designed to bring flow  to your student’s scholarship by adjusting the rewards and challenge matrix.

A Safe Place

The Avatar’s themselves become a sort of psychological shield.  The student can more easily address their own academic strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and concerns by attributing them to the avatar.  This creates a safe environment within which they can discuss what is holding them back .

Also, this creates a situation of positive, rather than negative stress.  Positive stress results from activities which offer rewards, not risk. Since the avatars can only advance, never lose experience, the student feels no sense of risk when engaging in activities.  This gives them emotional permission to test their limits, and it is only when we test the limits of our knowledge that we learn.

Possibly most importantly the avatar system encourages students to connect set their own goals.  They set themselves a task and then proceed towards achieving that goal.  This process strongly reinforces the idea that they can shape their own destiny, establish their own goals, and achieve those goals.

All Gaming is Learning

Why do people enjoy games?  The simple answer is that in the process of a game we observe a set of circumstances, and explore the results of applying a set of actions to those circumstances.  When this process occurs through testing in real world environments with real consequences it is called education.  When it is decoupled from the real world environment and the consequences are only relevant in a fictionalized reward system we call it a game.  Our brains however, do not distinguish between these types of activities.  We learn through games.  It is statistically likely that your child is playing a game right now.  What do you think that they are learning from it?  Our system is designed to make their game experience  productive in the real world.

By creating a customized set of challenges tailored to the interests of the student we create an environment where the student sees how their academic knowledge is linked to their personal goals.

Productive Gaming is being implemented in a wide variety of areas

Whether it neurologists training the physical brains of people with ADHD and epilepsy, or Fold it discovering new useful proteins through game based activities, or even Free Rice whose game fights world hunger while improving vocabulary, game based learning is rapidly emerging as the most effective method of education.  Our system gives you a chance to have a personalized learning game delivered to your student.

For an excellent book on the subject we recommend Reality Is Broken by Jane Mcgonigal


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Richard Bach