|Do you remember these hours and hours that maybe you, your colleges or friends spent voluntarily on playing World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Farmwille or playing footbal or weekly poker events? Do you realize how deeply engaged they were, when playing their preffered game? Would it not be great if our adult learners could be as engaged as the World of Warcraft players, or as concentrated as a players of chess?
In these days, we often hear about the buzzing concept of gamification. Gamification describes, what are the elements, mechanics and principles behind games that make us so engaged and how to apply these to non-game context. The basic purpose is to make our real-life tasks more engaging.
Learning as fun
Imagine a student, who is devoured by solving mathematical exercise. Or a group of managers, who happily participate on training of soft-skills. Imagine that all of them consider their activities as FUN.
Respect habits, goals and behavior
But how can we foster such feelings in a non-game environments? As Ralph Koster suggests, fun can and should be designed – we need to carefully and expressly design systems, which would respect the target group habits, goals, behavior and likeable personalities and use these data as a starting point for each gamified design with one core aim: unlock the fun. So the answer may be: provide the users meaningful choices, support them by game components, mechanics and dynamics (e.g. avatars, badges, quests, challenges, compettition, cooperation, progression, ) and tailor these elements on to our course curriculum, or training program.
When we look on an arbitrary educational field we can see that there are many elements listed above hidden in the structure of course.
In further education, we often see drop-outs and low motivated participants. One of the possible causes is that they are, from the very beginning, externally motivated. They foster their behavior by external factors as salary raise or law regulation. As a result, the inner motivation, the self determination for doing the task, is restricted.
As the behavioral economist Dan Ariely suggested, when we are facing tasks that require cognitive activity, the ratio of success in them is directly connected to our inner motivation. With gamified design, we may be able to influence the learners’ initial motivation, (which could be based on external factors) and help them to become more engaged in the learning by fostering their inner motivation.
When thinking about getting their courses gamified, managers of education should keep this in mind. In further education field, we have our absolvent’s profile for course, and working with input information about participants and our target group, which allows gamificators to deploy adequate tools and aproaches..
Lifelong learning must take the chance
To wrap it up, I tried to point out that gamification can be a valuable tool for further / lifelong education.
For more information about gamification: http://www.eFOURlearning.com
First published by Oliver Simko