My perception of gamification before 2016. Taken by Joe Bovalino 17 April 2016.
It’s personally rewarding when I consider the concepts and theories one learns as academic life passes by. My study has been shuffling along for quite some time due to regular pauses along the way. Namely full-time work and raising a family – the usual stuff that comes with growing up and having responsibilities.
This year a new word appeared through my stop-start studies that I can’t seem to get out of my head – gamification. First brought to prominence by Nick Pelling in 2002, it took around 8 years for it to be embraced around the world (Kim 2015, p. 5), however it’s taken me less than 3 months to realise how it interconnects with so many aspects of my own life. Kim (2015, p. 5) sums it up best in that it transfers ‘some of the positive characteristics of a game to something that is not a game’. Positive. That is exactly what I have experienced thus far.
It comes as no surprise that the corporate world has embraced the concept. Do you ever go to the supermarket now without being asked to show your Rewards or Flyby card as the assistant scans your 12 pack of toilet paper? I can’t check my emails without being bombarded with updates on points earned for Qantas or Virgin accounts as if I jet-set around the country constantly. Seriously, I don’t think 2000 points is going to get me anywhere soon. Even my LinkedIn account attempts to pat me on the back when referring to me as an “All Star”. What on earth am I a star of? It’s all about loyalty and a positive experience and it subconsciously works for me. I feel as if I’m achieving something even though I’m not the type of person who enters competitions or cashes points in for free gifts. I’m the type of person who even forgets to use the discount fuel vouchers whenever I fill my car up.
This is what my gamified learning experience has felt like this year.
Applying a game-like element to Exploring Digital Media at Deakin this trimester has also been a rewarding experience. From its implementation, I understood there wouldn’t be a big prize at the end and this has never been the incentive for me to increase my online activity. For some strange reason I have discovered that the ‘Tiffit’ point system has challenged my own study habits. Checking a tally board as if I’m representing a country at Eurovision has subconsciously pressed me to engage in the readings, share articles of interest and communicate, encourage and support other students through the #ALC203 journey. Yes I have hash-tagged that a few times now. Ask me in a few years what the unit code was and I’m sure I’ll still remember it.
I have embraced this style of learning and I am encouraged by the fact that whilst gamification in education is in its infancy and needs to be studied further, it has the potential to develop into a style of learning for a particular type of student to embrace (Faiella and Ricciardi 2015). Sure, nothing works for everyone, however if it was to motivate or engage a specific learner then why not incorporate a form of it into the curriculum.
Hello Europe … and hello Gamification!
In true Eurovision style and in my worst Ukrainian accent, my 12 points goes to … gamification. For its ability to keep me motivated and engaged until the final weeks of this unit. I hope it appears somewhere else in my never-ending learning journey.
Kim, B 2015, ‘The popularity of gamification in the mobile and social era’, Library Technology Reports, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 5-9.
Faiella, F and Ricciardi, M 2015, ‘Gamification and learning: a review of issues and research’, Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 13-21.