On its surface, gamification si simply the use of game mechanics to make learning and instruction more fun. It seems “fake” artificial or like a shortcut. It’s not. Underneath the surface is the idea of engagement, story, autonomy, and meaning. Games give experience meaning, they provide a set of boundaries within a “safe” environment to explore, think and “try things out.” Games Provide motivation to succeed and reduce the sting of failure.
-From the Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl M. Kapp.
Despite the many grammatical flaws in the quotation, the central point remains valid. Gamification reflects a fundamental change in how people are understanding their environments. We no longer tolerate unstructured environments, instead we demand a goal, and tools to approach that goal. Gamification is about making the process of achieving that goal useful.
Gamification is all about giving people a goal, and the tools to proceed towards that goal. When it is abused we see credit card companies getting people to pursue points, when it is used judiciously we see people coming to love the adventure of learning.
She was recently interviewed by CNN about the power of games to create positive change in people. Here is some of what she said:
“Because heaps of scientific evidence over the past few years – from an extremely diverse group of investigators, such as Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life, the U.S Army’s Mental Health Assessment Team, Michigan State University’s Department of Psychologyand Massachusetts General Hospital - have shown that games can increase our mental, emotional and social resilience.
Games can make us more resilient in the face of tough challenges, better able to learn from mistakes, more likely to cooperate with others on difficult problems and more creative in coming up with new solutions. They can alleviate depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. New research from Stanford University just this month even shows, through fMRI imagery of the brain, exactly how games boost our motivation and self-efficacy at the neurological level. Games build up our belief that we can take positive steps to affect the outcome of our lives – and game help us be more motivated to take those steps and not give up.”
See more of her interview here.]]>
Read the full article here.
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This sort of crowd sourced game based activity is a perfect example of how re-framing activities as games can transform oppressive obstacles into engaging challenges.
Nature News,Published online: 22 January 2012; | doi:10.1038/nature.2012.9872]]>