I was looking for some resources on Gamification and found a talk by Sabastian Deterding who presented a fasinating and thought provoking Google Talk called “Meaningful Play: Getting Gamification Right”
He makes a few excellent points about Gamification:
1) Having a make-believe story wrapped around an experience and adding rules and challenges makes an experience more interesting.
2) Setting goals and having feedback.
3) Having a free, safe play space and shared toy objects that can be engaged within the environment. Where someone can “toy around.”
Sounds like some of the things instructional designers do, we use case studies and examples to wrap experiences, we add rules and we create challenges to engage the learner. We set goals and provide feedback on progress and we create a safe environment to practice skills.
Check out his talk for yourself.
He also points out three items that are missing from current “gamification” attempts. These three items are:
1) Meaning–connecting to the learner in a meaningful fashion, to the learner’s passions, interests and goals.
2) Mastery–crafting an experience in such a way that the user gets the sense of progressing and accomplishment, of achieving something of value.
3) Autonomy–sense of freedom, a sense of being left alone to accomplish goals. (sandbox area to explore). A sense of being able to curiously explore opportunity.
Wow, these sound a lot like principles from theories we study in the design of instruction. For meaning, look to the ARCS Model of Motivation especially the Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction elements. Sounds like what he is talking about in describing meaning.
For Mastery, see the basic foundation of instructional design. The belief that if we craft a learning experience well enough, the learners will gain mastery of the content, material or ideas we are hoping to convey. This is mastery learning.
Finally, when he talks about autonomy, I am thinking Constructivism which argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas.
And put this all together and it is eerily similar to Malcolm Knowles’ Andragogy.
Sounds to me like instructional designers and learning and development professionals should “own” Gamification. We’ve been putting these elements together for years.