Game Elements for Learning: Week 1

12 Jul


Another week down in GE4L and its been a good, solid week. I’m finding that there is a LOT of info/resources provided by our Game Masters and other participants, which is great but it does mean that I’m probably a bit selective in what I read. I really like how you can read as much as you want to or need to. However, a couple of key things that I took away from this week (both are quoted from the MOOC) which will be helpful in gamification design were:

The “Seven Core Concepts for Smart Gamification” which were outlined by Amy Jo Kim in a video clip:

  1. Know who’s playing – design for their social style
  2. Build Positive Emotions (PERMA) into your core activity loop
  3. Build a system that’s easy to learn and hard to master
  4. Design for Onboarding (Tutorial), Habit-Building (Grind), and Mastery (Elder Game)
  5. Use Progress Mechanics to “light the way” towards learning and mastery
  6. As players progress, unlock greater challenges and complexity
  7. Deliver intrinsic motivations like Power, Autonomy and Belonging

There was also The PERMA model, which are five essential elements that should be in place for us to experience lasting well-being. These are:

Positive Emotion (P)

For us to experience well-being, we need positive emotion in our lives. Any positive emotion like peace, gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity, or love falls into this category – and the message is that it’s really important to enjoy yourself in the here and now, just as long as the other elements of PERMA are in place.

Engagement (E)

When we’re truly engaged in a situation, task, or project, we experience a state of flow: time seems to stop, we lose our sense of self, and we concentrate intensely on the present. This feels really good! The more we experience this type of engagement, the more likely we are to experience well-being.

Positive Relationships (R)

As humans, we are “social beings,” and good relationships are core to our well-being. Time-and-again, we see that people who have meaningful, positive relationships with others are happier than those who do not. Relationships really do matter!

Meaning (M)

Meaning comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves. Whether this is a specific deity or religion, or a cause that helps humanity in some way, we all need meaning in our lives to have a sense of well-being.

Accomplishment/Achievement (A)

Many of us strive to better ourselves in some way, whether we’re seeking to master a skill, achieve a valuable goal, or win in some competitive event. As such, accomplishment is another important thing that contributes to our ability to flourish.

For me, both of these provide some good considerations when designing a gamified learning experience. They also highlight the complex and multifaceted nature applying gamification in a meaningful way.

Image from GE4L MOOC site


Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Gamification, MOOC


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “Game Elements for Learning: Week 1

  1. tanyalau

    July 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Hi Matt,
    interesting! It looks like the course you’re taking covers some different models to the one I did. I’m quite interested in how the mooc is actually structured…Are there resources provided with fairly minimal guidance on which ones you review? What do you *do* with the resources you consume? are there assignments? what types, and how are they assessed, if at all? I guess essentially, I’m keen to see how it differs from the one I did, as I’m assuming although the content is same/similar, the learning model and structure is different.

    • learningsnippets

      July 13, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      Hi Tanya,
      I’d probably describe the course as a buffet where there are lots of resources/articles/links on offer and you are free to explore them in as much detail as you want. Sharing of info between participants is also encouraged and seems to be an important part of the course. There isn’t any assignments as such yet, there are ‘challenges’ which could be contributing to a discussion forum or completing a small activity and you can earn points. You can also earn karma points if others nominate you as being helpful as you work your way through. At this stage, the first week was about becoming familiar with the platform, and the past week was more of an introduction to various perspectives of Gamification, maybe we will ‘level up’ over the next couple of weeks. How was your course structured?

      • tanyalau

        July 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        Hi there Matt,
        thanks for filling me in! I like how they’ve used some game mechanics in the course design, and that they’re awarding points for reputation and collaborative rather than competitive behaviours. Interesting that they haven’t attached (or revealed?) an end goal the points are contributing to – but I guess they effectively function as a form of status to motivate the desired behaviours…

        The one I did was (I think) pretty standard issue Coursera Mooc…about 2-4 recorded lectures (aprox 10 mins each) per week + quizzes & total of 3 peer assessed assignments with increasing weights and word limits. There were discussion forums which were voluntary to participate in. Quizzes contributed a small amount to your total score at the end too. There was a lot of content and the schedule was quite demanding: did feel like you were in a bit of a rat race at times. Because it was so massive (over 60k enrollments…but a much smaller proportion of active participants – about 12k I think) I did find the forums a bit difficult to navigate and didn’t really participate much in them. So it did feel a bit isolated as a learning experience. However…
        I still found it a very valuable intro to gamification: mainly because the content was excellent and Kevin Werbach (the lecturer) was very engaging & passionate about the subject. When they talk about the rise of the Mooc celebrity lecturer, they’re talking about this dude :p.

        The assignments were also reasonably challenging, getting you to apply the concepts to real worl scenarios. However, the fact they were peer assessed meant that there was a potentially large variation in the marking standard applied (even though there was a criteria to assess against, this type of process does make you realise how subjective it is!). Still, I found the whole peer assessment process an interesting experience (Following the assignment deadline, you would be randomly assigned 5 student assignments to mark – no names attached to the students or markers. Student’s score is an average of the total marks they are given). I had no issues with the process, but there did seem to be a few complaints from students in the forums of perceived unfair marking, and no or unhelpful feedback provided.

        Anyway….all in all, an interesting experience…I definitely get the impression that there is a lot more explicit student-student collaboration built into the design of the so called ‘cMoocs’ so still keen to try one of these….when I have the time to commit to it.

        Look forward to hearing about the rest of your Mooc experience!


      • learningsnippets

        July 15, 2013 at 6:16 am

        Hey Tanya
        Your xMOOC sounds like a much different experience especially with the peer assessment. But with so many students its a clever way to have them all marked. This one seems a lot less formal and gives a good taste of a MOOC experience.
        I’d like to give Coursera one a go at some point too, but like anything its finding the time to fit it in!


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