Gamers invest countless hours in games and develop their problem-solving skills within the context of games. They perform extended practice, and develop personal qualities such as persistence, creativity, and resilience through extended play. Gamification attempts to harness the motivational power of games and apply it to real-world problems.
Can we view the school as a gamified experience? Schools already have several game-like elements. Students get points for completing assignments correctly and these points translate to “badges,” commonly known as grades. This currency is used as mechanism to reward students for desired behaviors or to punish for undesirable behaviors.
If they perform well, students “level up” at the end of every academic year. For some reason, the school has failed to engage the students and results in disengagement, learned helplessness and cheating. Students do not describe school experience as playful and the existence of game-like elements does not translate directly to engagement.
What circumstances game elements drive learning behaviour and motivate students to participate more deeply? What makes them even to change their self-concept as learners? It is not because we believe students get motivated by points, or we think badges will cause students to engage. Gamification should fix the problem that we are trying to fix, develop ways to evaluate whether those fixes work, and sustain those fixes over time and the final results effectively need to be worth the investment.
Let us start some experiments to find how the school creates disengagement and whether the disengagement happens at social and emotional levels.
- Read an optional library book on the topic being taught in class? Receive “Reading” points.
- Get perfect attendance and complete all homework on time for a month? Earn “On Target“ badge
- Get assigned as a “Lead Detective” role in science class? Work hard to ask the best questions.