Friday, March 7, 2014

Gamification Series Part 2: What is Gamification?

Gamification is the incorporation of game mechanics, dynamics, and frameworks to promote desired behaviors.
In other words, gamification is the process of creating game elements for non-game situations and environments.   In our case, this is the classroom (or blended) learning environment. 

To clarify, this does not imply that you have your class play an existing game.  There is nothing wrong with that as actual games can prove incredibly powerful and motivating learning tools.  Having students play a game on iCivics or engage in Minecraft worlds is not, however, gamification.  This would fall under the category of “Game-Based Learning,” another concept exploding with potential.   

Instead, gamification implies transforming your class INTO a game.  If you are not a “gamer” (which I myself am not, despite my “Millennial” designation), you may be wondering what game mechanics actually are?  

Here are a few of of the game elements typically leveraged in gamified learning environments.  

Key Elements to Gamification

Immediate Feedback & Reinforcers

Progress Tracking & Mastery  (XP, Badges, Leaderboards, Competition)

Increasing Difficulty (Leveling System)

Low Risk of Failure (Unlimited Retakes)

Storyline / Narrative  

Student Choice

All of these elements will be explored in greater detail in later posts.  I will also explain how each of these elements have been incorporated into our gamified world history course.  If interested in learning more about these in the meantime, check out Alice Keeler’s awesome post: Gamification in the Classroom - Getting Started

Next Post:  Why Gamify

Complete Gamification Series

Part 1: Introduction
Part 15: The Next Level