Gamification workshop @ MootUK14 2

So before we’d even got started, it was clear from Twitter that this one was going to cause some waves. There’s not many edtech terms which create such an “interesting” response, but “gamification” is definitely a marmite one (although that’s probably unfair on marmite, as I expect more people hate it than love it).

Anyway, it was Gavin Hendrick who was taking the group through this session – and it started much the same way as a number of previous gamification sessions I have attended have, by defining what gamification is:

Attending this session very quickly brought back a reminder of the session which Ben Betts ran at the GOSH Learning Innovations Conference last year. On reflection, I guess that there’s only so much you can say about gamification, so it’s no real surprise that there were some strong, consistent messages. Having established a “definition” for what gamification is, we started to focus on the elements of gamification (avatars, badges, levels, points, progression, quests, resource collection and rewards) then why people choose to play games:

From here, Gavin started to focus on examples of gamification. The most simple one, which I’d never even thought of was loyalty cards (score points by using a service), and even bank accounts (you must keep at least £500 (500 points) in your account). In both of these cases, by achieving the requirement, the player is rewarded – which is a simple, yet effective example of gamification.

Having highlighted a number of good examples of gamification in the simplest format, Gavin then talked about his experiences of explaining gamification to teachers. In nearly all cases, the teacher would hear about what gamification is, then once they hear, they respond saying “that’s why I do already” – this is a major point to recognise – in most cases, gamification is actually what good teachers are already doing – just in a different context – it doesn’t require them to do anything new!

What was clear from all of these examples, and the concepts, is that gamification is something that anyone can do, using a number of different tools. A number of different examples of organisations who were using gamification were them provided by the audience, personally I liked this one:

From this point we started to look at how we could gamify a course our organisation already runs, using the Gamification Model Canvas. As I started to think about this, one of the first things which struck me was how easily you could gamify the Induction (or “on-boarding” – for those who like that term) process. To put this into it’s simplest concept:

  1. Players score points by completing quests (induction topics)
  2. Players are expected to score at least 50 points (for example) on their first day (complete at least 5 compliance subjects etc)
  3. Players are expected to reach level 3 within their first two weeks (to reach level 3 they must complete all compliance training)
  4. Rewards, such as access to an email account, or other systems, are unlocked along the way
  5. For players to reach the highest level, will involve supporting new starters…

The greatest part about this model, is that it would cost me nothing to implement – I just need to convince our Induction lead that it would be a good idea!

To wrap up the workshop, we all started to try putting some of this into practice. In these cases it was the use of the Restrict Access functionality to control access to activities within Moodle. We looked at using scores and completions to control the activities open to students, and talked about how things like forum activity could be used to lead to the user joining a group (which can have it’s own group badge) – then being in the group could be used as a restriction to control the access to an activity…..and so on! If you then pair this with a progress bar (so students can see their own progress visually) – then the basics for gamification are all in place:

I still have doubts on some of these aspects – I’m cynical about how well a percentage of the NHS staff in my organisation would buy into the concept – and I’d be concerned that if my “students” saw a progress bar showing that they had completed 1/30 activities – it would just demoralise and disconnect them – but that said – I’ll continue to keep considering the introduction of gamification into our courses.

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2 thoughts on “Gamification workshop @ MootUK14

  • Ben Reynolds

    I was citing Ian Bogost’s dislike of the “gamification” concept (closest, probably, to Gavin’s bank badge example) and my own dislike of the literal sound of the word. I like the concept when it isn’t owned by bank ogres, and I like the sound of “gamify,” which I heard from my table mates frequently.
    To be a bit blunt, part of the problem with whether “folks like the NHS staff in my organisation” would buy in, is as someone else said to me at break, and I’m summarizing, the employer responds, They don’t need all that, just give them the stuff and make them take the test. They pass, they’re good. Else they’re out.
    Which, I think, is the culture of hold over: it worked for me, so it should work for you,.without recognizing the difference between beating the donkey forward and letting it see its fellows off in the distance as somewhere to want to go. [No damn carrots.]

    • Nick Post author

      Ben – THANK YOU!!

      Your comment summarises the issue so well! Particularly within the NHS (I talk about my arena as it’s the one I’m faced with every day!) but far too frequently I face the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it’ attitude (in this case, “give them all the stuff and make them pass a test”) – and people think it works, so leave it alone – when actually – we could do it “better”!

      Thank you for commenting (and I’m aware of your stance on the term “gamification” – yours just happened to be the first tweet I fount which fitted what I needed!!)