So the final student-led seminar on New and Emerging Trends in Blended and Online Education is over and I’ve had a challenging but fun time getting involved. Looking around the seminar summary today there are more interesting insights to uncover, for example the video explanation by Karl Kapp (2014) where he begins by explaining that gamification only really emerged as a concept coined by Nick Pelling (a British-born computer programmer and inventor) in 2003 and that by 2013 it was considered to be an industry worth $421million but by 2018 it is envisaged that it will be worth $5.5billion – a growth of 67% over 5 years – not something to be ignored by education design professionals.
I have mixed feelings about gamification as my basic instinct is to shy away from something I personally consider to be the domain of a younger generation and what I originally considered to be a bit of a time-wasting hobby I used the term ‘thumb candy’ to describe. What this seminar has identified to me is the usefulness of gamification in a learning environment, not least because the generation we’re now encountering in HE has cut it’s teeth on learning effectively using this concept.
Of course I don’t claim to know all about gamification as a result of participating in the seminar but I do understand more about it. To be honest, what I’ve probably discovered most is that I need to learn a whole lot more about how to design games if I want to include them in my online learning provision. However, not to throw the baby out with the bath water, I can still link what I do know about designing towards desired learning outcomes. As Kapp (2014) suggests, “you can’t make winning ‘the game’ contingent on chance, you actually have to make it contingent on learning” and it’s the interactivity and the social element of gamification that can lead to great learning outcomes – something I’m definitely interested in learning more about and using in my BOE design.
Another subject around gamifcation that inspires quite a lot of debate is ‘badges’ and what I can now say from experience is that I did like getting my 2 badges from the seminar:
- My seminar participants badge
- The award of the Unit 4 Top Scorer’s Badge that signifies I achieved the highest score for the seminar’s gamified elements in Week 2
WOW! Look at me – winning the ‘game’!
I’ll be back with more on how this seminar links into my personal learning outcomes.