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Education Games

Professor Cliff Lampe Talks About Gamification in Academia (Video) 123

Posted by Roblimo
from the slogging-through-the-trenches-of-higher-education dept.
Professor Lampe is using gamification in his 200-student lecture classes to make them more interesting. He says big-class lectures can often be as boring for the professor as they are for the students. A little bit of game-type action can spice things up and make classes more interesting. Near the end of the video he points out that gamification is becoming popular for employee training in private enterprise, so why not use the concept in universities and other educational institutions?

Cliff Lampe: Hello. My name is Cliff Lampe. I am an Assistant Professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan. And what I do is, I teach classes including an undergraduate program. We have a program in informatics, which is kind of the use of information to accomplish a variety of tasks that’s, sort of, related to big data and things like that. And I am currently teaching a class called Introduction Information, which is our big 200-person undergraduate-seminar intro into the specialization.

Robert Rozeboom: And what is special about this class you are teaching?

Cliff Lampe: I’m not sure it’s special, but what we’ve done is we have gamified the class. And this is a trend in higher education that’s been quite a big deal lately, and there have been lot of people thinking about the pros and cons of gamification in the classroom.

I mean, gamification I think is one of those terms that has the danger of making you, kind of, automatically gag. It seems like a marketing term for what nerds have done for a long time, but it’s worth thinking about like, how can we use principles of games to change the structure and conduct of a university class. Because the structure of a university class really makes no sense, whatsoever. It’s based off this kind of like 19th century agrarian model, if not from this medieval Oxford model.

So, we know that it doesn’t really support a lot of learning objectives. We know that having kids sit and be lectured at for three hours a week isn’t particularly effective. So, from an individual professor’s point, there is that too much you can do to change that. And gamification offers at least a couple of levers to be able to play around with that structure somewhat.

Robert Rozeboom: So, how does that work specifically in your class, like what do you do?

Cliff Lampe: Well, so there’s a lot of people who think about – so what I do is, early in the semester I thought about like what are the actual principles of games that could be useful in a class like this. And some of it’s what I think of as whitewashing with gamification. You know, in your syllabus and in the class you have a little bit of time where you just use D&D-like language, right. Like luckily I have been playing D&D since I could roll dice, and know quite a bit about the game. So you build in some talk about wizards and dragons and blah, blah, blah.

I think the more compelling stuff from a teaching perspective is building in choice. I think a key aspect that ties games together is the ability to kind of choose your path through the game, and so we’ve tried to do that through making more flexible assignments, through having achievements and leveling of assignments. So you can like write for instance reports, but you have to level off to be able to write certain types of reports, you can just skip doing entire types of assignments. Like if you don’t like taking tests, you can just skip those tests and do artistic things instead. So, building in that choice is a huge element of the game stuff.

The other is, of course, rapid feedback. Most games provide you really rapid feedback and most college classes don’t provide you very rapid feedback. So we have mechanisms built in where we can give you rapid feedback.

And then also for the games that I enjoy at least, there is a lot of group process, so all the students participate in guilds and they do guild quests, and recently we had LARP Day. For those of you who are not quite nerdy enough to know, LARP is Live Action Role Play.

Robert Rozeboom: I’m pretty sure everyone knows.

Cliff Lampe: Everyone knows that.

Robert Rozeboom: At Slashdot they do.

Cliff Lampe: So just in case some of you accidently came to Slashdot and don't know what LARPing is. And so the kids and I all dressed up in my TAs, all dressed up in outfits, not necessarily LARP related, it was give them a break, some of these guys were sociology students, so I let them pick their Halloween costumes too. And we kind of did a cosplay kind of thing and we had LARP-style games through the class, where they had to stand up and challenge each other, and there was a week of games that the guilds participated in and competed against each other in, so

Robert Rozeboom: So how do the kids respond to that -- or I guess students?

Cliff Lampe: Yeah, the young adults, the students have mixed reactions. I think all of them like breaking the typical model of a large lecture course, right. I think everybody is for anything that kind of breaks up being talked at for three hours a week. Some of them have I think a little further to go in terms of really embracing the nerdy gamified aspects of the course. So, like especially – and it’s somewhat by major. The computer science students have no problem, hardly, but the sociology students who also participate in the Greek fraternal system and things like that, they play games. They were raised in modern society, so they play games, and they watch movies, so they get it. It’s just not as close to their heart as it is for some other students.

Robert Rozeboom: So, what’s the response from the university?

Cliff Lampe: Yeah, it’s actually been really positive. I was a little worried since I’m new at the university that they would be like, “What the hell?” but the vice president for communications for the university was really positive and participated in LARP Day.

Robert Rozeboom: Oh, really.

Cliff Lampe: The social media director..

Robert Rozeboom: What did he dress as?

Cliff Lampe: She did not dress up.

Robert Rozeboom: Oh, she.

Cliff Lampe: Yeah, but she did judge one of the LARP competitions. Yeah, we tried to get her to, we actually sent her some options. We could send her for like a warrior princess or something, but it turns out, you can't do that, you know, with executives at a major university.

Robert Rozeboom: No Xena cosplay for your boss?

Cliff Lampe: No, no, nothing like that, but we had like the social media director from my college and the social media director for the university participate as well. So the university has actually been pretty supportive and the syllabus for the course has a lot of, kind of, gamified language in it and really pointed out. And they’ve really been kind of showing that model around of ways of trying to innovate within kind of this really rigid structure of university classes.

Robert Rozeboom: So, this is the second year you've done that or?

Cliff Lampe: I’ve tried something similar back when I was at Michigan State University, but that was more whitewashing, right. Just calling assignments “quests” and just calling grades “XP” isn’t enough, I think, to make it a really compelling experience. So the sharing went much deeper by having the flexible assignments and the choices about what to do and the stronger kind of guild participation elements and things like that.

The problem with doing all those things is that it’s really hard work for the TAs, especially giving rapid feedback and having such a wide array of assignments, creates kind of a much more complex structure. And so we have one TA whose whole job it is just to make sure everything's working right. We call her the grades master and she just goes through and just makes sure everything is, kind of, like all right, people get what's going on, they have their assignments, they know like what their quests they’re participating in. And we made the young adults go through and do a quest log at the beginning of the semester to pick, kind of, which thing they might be likely to participate in, and we let them drop a set of quests if it wasn’t working out for them and things like that, so they had some more choice there too.

Robert Rozeboom: So if you haven't done it that many times, you probably don’t have a lot of data, but how effective do you think it is so far?

Cliff Lampe: It’s been really effective in a couple of ways. I mean as a professor one of the only feedback mechanisms I usually get is the teacher evaluations at the end of the course. And usually when I do gamified stuff in class, the students like it because it’s a little more playful, so that evaluation goes up. But pedagogically, how much does that actually affect their learning, it's hard to say. It's really hard to measure that in any circumstance, right, for any type of class of course. But I do hear back from the students years after the first time I gamified a course that they really remember that experience and because they remember the experience, they remember the course content better than they do other classes they've taken years after they've taken that course. So, if I can kind of add a little even shock value into their experience of a course, that seems to help retention of the material in the course, which serves the pedagogical value. But it's really hard to measure those outcomes.

Robert Rozeboom: So what made you decide to do this?

Cliff Lampe: I think the main thing was these large classes can actually be as boring for professors as they are for students in a lot of ways. I don’t know if I’m betraying university secrets by saying that, but you get up and you do your song and dance for an hour-and-a-half and then you get rolled back into your closet in your tweed vest and your pipe until you are pulled out again next week. It's not a very satisfying experience.

And so I thought with this one, it might have more interaction with students, more ability to, kind of, see what types of output they could create in more interesting ways. That part has worked out. So, in the past I’ve done a lot of like exams and reports. This time they've done two achievements that are very different. One is achievements of the explorer where they actually have to go out and do a bunch of cool stuff, including one of them is what we call colonize social media, and they go out and they participate. And they’re doing these really cool things including like stuff with Instagram and stuff with Pinterest and they’re really going out and working with Reddit and on one guy is doing Slashdot and a bunch of the students are really kind of pushing the boundaries of participating in online activities through this course. And many of them have said, it's like what are their best assignments all year, just because it's persistent, it takes place over a long period of time, plus it feels more relevant to what they actually do during the course of a day.

And then another set of quests we do is related to artistic talent. So a lot of students, for instance, created information visualizations and information graphics instead of making a report. So, it turns in a one-page thing which is an information graphic. But they were so much more compelling and so much more interesting than 90% of the student papers I've ever read, which are themselves 90% bullshit. So, you know, I've got 10% of 10% interesting stuff from student papers than that. I think it’s a better experience for both the student and for me as a professor.

Robert Rozeboom: So, gamification is sort of the word du jour in business right now and everything. But I think that there's no doubt that tricking people in some way to stay on your webpage or to make, like, Xerox uses gamification in their management training to make it more fun. I think that stuff is probably going to be here to stay even though the word is sold out now. Do you think that – as you said earlier that education can – I've said there are some horribly long and boring classes, do you think that

Cliff Lampe: I’ve given some horribly long and boring classes.

Robert Rozeboom: Do you think that will actually catch on because

Cliff Lampe: I mean like anything in university, this is going to be slow. I think business will adopt it much more quickly than universities will. I mean, for God’s sake, we still are based off an agrarian calendar so that our students can go home and work on the farms during the summer, right? Structural change is slow in the university system. But I think it will be inevitable just because at the end of the day, universities are a service organization like many others. And we have to be responsive to some extent to changes in how our students experience life. And they are experiencing, even if we don't call it gamification, they’re experiencing kind of these elements of gamified systems so much more on a daily basis in all sorts of organizations that it's going to become necessary for universities to play ball.

So, you hear about kind of these elements of gamification occurring like in health insurance companies, so that people will lead more healthy lifestyles or in workplaces. And we've had these elements for a long time, right? Incentive systems, bonuses, rewards for merit, all of these things are the same basic elements that are in gamification. But now, I think actually, calling them gamification, even though it sounds like kind of crappy marketing slang, actually adds a level of integration to how we think about these things. That does allow us to kind of play with incentives and motivations a little bit more.

So, I think it will be slow coming into the universities, but hopefully, people will adopt it more because has been a really positive experience in terms of me interacting with the students and them feeling like they have control over their learning outcomes. And when they feel like they have control over their learning outcomes, they’re much more invested in what they learn and how they approach it.

Robert Rozeboom: Anything else you want to add?

Cliff Lampe: For The Horde!

Robert Rozeboom: Horde! All right.

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Professor Cliff Lampe Talks About Gamification in Academia (Video)

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:20PM (#42246045)

    Is it just me, or is gamification incredibly condescending?

    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:44PM (#42246271)

      On the contrary, comrade, gamification is scientifically correct, as proven by Lenin and Stalin themselves [kmjn.org]! With its spirit roused by brotherly competition, there is no end to what the proletariat may joyfully achieve in its struggle to build socialism!

    • by Hatta (162192) on Monday December 10, 2012 @05:24PM (#42246639) Journal

      It's not just you. From The Simpsons season 3:

      Principle Skinner: Oh, licking envelopes can be fun! All you have to do is make a game of it.
      Bart: What kind of game?
      Principle Skinner: Well, for example, you could see how many you could lick in an hour, then try to break that record.
      Bart: Sounds like a pretty crappy game to me.
      Principle Skinner: Yes, well... Get started.

      If the Simpsons were making fun of your idea 20 years ago, you might not want to build a career on it.

      • by jxander (2605655)

        All you've demonstrated is that bad examples of gamification are bad. And that Simpsons can engineer a bad example of something.

        Check out the Penny-Arcade link below (I was going to post it, but saw it down there, and don't want to steal the credit)

        • Check out the Penny-Arcade link below (I was going to post it, but saw it down there, and don't want to steal the credit)

          You could have posted the link to that other post to help others find the link without stealing the credit.

    • by robsku (1381635)

      It's you - get out of the social games that tell you games are for little children.

  • As a future teacher I'm already working on a gamification system for my future classroom. I was inspired after watching this awesome edition of Extra Credits on PATV http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/gamifying-education [penny-arcade.com] which is definitely worth watching.
    • by fermion (181285)
      There are certain steps in which games are very useful in education. However, most of the time, assessment is the key. That is, how are you going to continually assess students to make sure the class is learning, and not just following patterns or playing a game. Then are they going to be able to transfer the knowledge to a summative assessment, genuine or question and answers, to show that learning that has gone on. Finally, in most cases some standard test is going to have to completed. Perhaps it i
      • "how are you going to continually assess students to make sure the class is learning, and not just following patterns or playing a game."

        What do you know about learning? "Those who can't, teach." Teachers try to validate themselves by requiring students to pay attention to them, or else!

        I prefer Socrates's method: teach for free, and don't give exams. If you end up in a state of aporia [wikipedia.org], that's okay. As Confucius says in The Analects, Book II Chapter XVII: "Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you k

        • by fermion (181285) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:01PM (#42247847) Homepage Journal
          Certainly the socratic method and socratic circles [amazon.com] can be a highly effective method to teaching many subjects. In fact, the classic lecture is exactly this. It models the method, and then encourages the student to go out and have dialogues, with students for example, taking on the roles of Simplicio, Salviati, and Sagredo. While this method is useful for philosophical discussions, it has fallen out favor for evidence based discussion as it inherently introduces personality into the discussion.

          And it is not really relevant here as we are specifically talking about engagement and grading. It does not matter if students are paying attention to a teacher or box. The key is that student engagement is the issue. Likewise, it does not matter whether grade are added up, or awarded based on tests, or level completed. What matter is that students are graded based on the content and skills they can demonstrate, not how they can manipulate the system to earn points.

          This is where the games come it. They can hold the attention of the student. But a game is something that is an adversarial process, where information is held back, and must be unlocked by completed often unrelated tasks. The experience of the student in that a game is often separated from the knowledge and skill is exactly what causes it be difficult to use. For instance, I once used a game that was developed by people who were very smart and very familiar with teaching, learning, children, and assessment. Points were added and levels gained as the student when through the process. Some motivated students did very well. But many students just played the game to win, that is simply figured out what the game rules were, played by those rules, and then exited without significant learning.

          Which is why simply saying that counting up, that rewarding the class for success, that being positive and engaging student self esteeem, is not sufficient and has not been sufficient since these things were in wide use 50 years ago, 100 years ago, I mean maybe even 10000 years ago. And what we are talking about is not educating a elite, but educating everyone. And to do that a wide array of methods must be used, not just the favorite or the one currently in fashion.

        • "how are you going to continually assess students to make sure the class is learning, and not just following patterns or playing a game."

          What do you know about learning? "Those who can't, teach." Teachers try to validate themselves by requiring students to pay attention to them, or else!

          And those who can't teach criticise those who can. I'm an English professor in a European university and the reason I want my students to pay attention to me is that I really don't want to have to fail students at the end of the year. I'm trying to teach them useful things, and I've got to select what to teach based on a broad variety in levels (the ones into online games are pretty capable, but many of the others have next-to-no ability) so that I can test them all to see if they are capable of surviving

        • Instead of obsessing over whether a student is learning or not, and spending time trying to evaluate others, just concentrate on transferring knowledge; if you want to give assignments, ask the students to figure out something you don't know how to do yet. Work with the students to further knowledge, instead of acting as their adversary and withholding knowledge "with the closed fist of the teacher who keeps some things back".

          Congratulations, you have just reinvented the wheel.

          The classic lecture system is an extremely resource efficient means of "transferring knowledge", because it has an attractive one-to-many broadcasting model. However it has proven deficiencies in the full concepts actually landing into mental schemas that yield usable skills. That is why competent teachers think about "whether a student is learning or not".

          This is not a new discussion among professional educators. It goes back, oh, some 150 years, when

      • by jxander (2605655)

        You apparently didn't watch the video. One of the biggest points, and easiest to pull off with minimal cash money ... simply count scores UP instead of DOWN.

        That's part of what makes video games fun/addictive. You see a goal, and every step you make works towards that goal.

        • You apparently didn't watch the video. One of the biggest points, and easiest to pull off with minimal cash money ... simply count scores UP instead of DOWN.

          That's part of what makes video games fun/addictive. You see a goal, and every step you make works towards that goal.

          Positive/additive marking as opposed to negative/subtractive marking is not a new idea -- it has been proposed many times before. In fact, it is the core principle behind most language aptitude rating now. This is not what gamification is about.

          It is one element of gamification, and as with all educational philosophies, one or two good points are held up to champion the entire philosophy.

          The key defining factor in gamification isn't the additive marking, though: the key factor is the "achievements" -- tha

          • And even the achievement thing isn't that new either. I'm sure most of you will have heard of the scouts or the girl guides. "Merit badges" as the US calls them (they're just "badges" or "scout/guide badges" as far as I was concerned as a kid growing up in Scotland) motivate kids by giving them proof of their achievements... and that's where the games got the idea from.

            But there's a big difference between scout badges and game achievements: the scout badges all are proof that a particular useful skill has

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:22PM (#42246067)

    why not use the concept in universities and other educational institutions?

    Because flunking people who don't care about learning is preferable to pandering to them?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes this. This time a thousand. This gamification concept is completely asinine. If you are going to a university but you can't be bothered enough to pay attention and actually engage yourself in your own education, even if the material is dull, then just save us all a lot of trouble and stay home. No one is forcing you to go to college.

      And to think of the complete arrogance, that you have this amazing opportunity, a once in a lifetime chance to educate yourself about the world, a chance that people arou
      • by omnichad (1198475) on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:58PM (#42246405) Homepage

        I'm not sure if I agree. Part of a topic being engaging or not is having it be presented in a way that shows its importance. My favorite class in high school was a history class where the teacher used role-playing to show just why certain decisions were made. Even if it was done for the wrong reasons I think it could still have a positive effect. Even as someone who would pay attention anyway, having an entire class engaged presents far more perspectives than being the only interested student.

      • by Sepodati (746220)

        So... if we all can't learn the same way that you do, we're wrong?

      • by Pentium100 (1240090) on Monday December 10, 2012 @05:15PM (#42246571)

        Except that some parts of this are because of human psychology. I remember one professor saying that you need to lecture no more than 15 minutes at a time, then tell a joke or something otherwise everyone will fall asleep (or just will not learn anything, even though they tried to pay attention to what is being said). Yes, sometimes, the topic is so interesting you can listen for the 1.5 hours, but most of the time you will forget 99% of what was said after the first 15-30 minutes.

        As for

        If you are going to a university but you can't be bothered enough to pay attention and actually engage yourself in your own education, even if the material is dull, then just save us all a lot of trouble and stay home.

        this can be used to justify not having any lectures at all. Anyone sufficiently motivated should just read the relevant books and learn, the professors just needs to give the list of the books to read and then grade the exam/papers.

        Why are you opposed to things that make life easier? I mean if gamifying education leads to better educated people, why not do it? If using a wheelbarrow makes it easier/faster to transport snow/dirt/etc short distances, why not use it?

        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:49PM (#42247763)

          Why are you opposed to things that make life easier? I mean if gamifying education leads to better educated people, why not do it? If using a wheelbarrow makes it easier/faster to transport snow/dirt/etc short distances, why not use it?

          I've been thinking about this sort of question in the bigger picture. What set me down the path was the political observation that as a party republicans are anti-gay except for individuals like Cheney who have a gay child, the party is also pro-torture except for individuals who have actually been tortured like McCain. So I've been trying to figure out if there is a rule that explains such things instead of just trying to score political points.

          What I've come up with is this: People like to create their own "personal" rules for how members of society should behave - generally these rules are simple, even natural, to follow for the person who makes them up. Gay marriage is an easy one - straight people have no interest in getting gay married. It is a rule that is natural for them to follow so they have little understanding of what it is like to be on the other side of that rule. A more trivial example came from the husband of a good friend of mine - he forbid their pre-teen daughter from chewing gum. Not for any health reasons, simply because he thought people who chewed gum looked stupid. Of course he didn't like to chew gum himself so he saw no value in it and came up with this rule that didn't cost him anything.

          I see the same thing here - chances are the OP is someone for whom traditional educational methods worked pretty well. That makes it easy for him to endorse the current system - it worked for him, it should work for anyone. Anyone for whom it doesn't work must be defective, lazy, wants something for nothing, etc.

          Looking back over my life, I can see how I've made up a bunch of similar rules about both trivial and important things. Those rules haven't really helped me, they just gave me a reason to look down on other people who didn't deserve it. In some cases even to dismiss their humanity. In the long run all it did was make me miss opportunities that were right in front of me. So now I try to question my own assumptions about how people should act, and when they aren't directly hurting anyone I make a conscious effort to accept them rather than disparage them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not to defend gamification, but I think you overly-simplified the issue of engagement in the classroom by making it a student-issue. Even for the most engrossing subjects, if you have a poor teacher it is not unreasonable to expect even exceptional students to become disengaged. I for one love math and statistics, but when had a 1/10 online rated professor teach the subject, I never paid any attention in class whatsoever, opting instead to teach myself afterwards directly from the book. Had the teacher been

        • Not to defend gamification, but I think you overly-simplified the issue of engagement in the classroom by making it a student-issue. Even for the most engrossing subjects, if you have a poor teacher it is not unreasonable to expect even exceptional students to become disengaged.

          While I don't agree with you about gamification (I'm in the "assinine" camp and I've explained my reasons elsewhere in this thread), you're bang on here.

          I've studied as an undergrad in 3 different universities, taking courses from 8 different departments in total. My first university is recognised as one of the best in the world -- Edinburgh. And I can tell you, the difference wasn't just down to the students (although I'm sure it helped that they could cream off the best and brightest). No, the place is

          • by EvanED (569694)

            I pointed out the differences between these universities and Edinburgh. The response? Edinburgh can do that because they're one of the best universities in the world. No; Edinburgh is one of the best universities in the world because they do this.

            I think you're largely right, but I also suspect it's a bit of a self-reinforcing cycle. Edinburgh is good, so it attracts (1) good students, (2) good teachers, (3) money to pay the tutors; these three things help it remain good. A mediocre school attracts (1) more

            • I think you're largely right, but I also suspect it's a bit of a self-reinforcing cycle. Edinburgh is good, so it attracts (1) good students, (2) good teachers, (3) money to pay the tutors; these three things help it remain good. A mediocre school attracts (1) more mediocre teachers, (2) more mediocre students, (3) less money; all of which help it stay mediocre.

              Oh definitely -- I certainly wouldn't deny that. My point is simply that there's no point chasing a cure for the problems in higher education: we've already got one, if people were just willing to use it. Money may be a problem, but when it comes to tutorial sets, there's a hard upper limit, so even good universities like Edinburgh don't get any more money for their tutorials (cos fees are fixed by law in Scotland).

      • by jxander (2605655)

        You're right ... every lecture should be delivered in the most droll monotone available. We need to get a hundred Ben Stein clones up in our colleges and universities. That way only people who REALLY want to be there will an education. Also, no chairs. Or pencils. Laptops and other electronics are right out. If you want to take notes, stab it into your flesh. No one is forcing you to go to college, right? If you can't stand for 8 hours while bleeding, drop out immediately and make room for someone w

        • by pthisis (27352)

          You're right ... every lecture should be delivered in the most droll monotone available. We need to get a hundred Ben Stein clones up in our colleges and universities.

          I think you have that backwards. Gamification is an attempt to make lectures and learning more droll*, an adjective that the post you were responding too seemed against. And monotones are rarely droll, though Ben Stein's is a notable exception. Having someone as smart and funny as he is up there teaching seems like a pretty good approach.

          *

    • by EvanED (569694)

      Because flunking people who don't care about learning is preferable to pandering to them?

      And, of course, constantly flunking someone is the best way to get them to care.

      • by SirGarlon (845873)
        If it's even possible to flunk someone "constantly," you're doing it wrong.
        • by EvanED (569694)

          I assumed you were being a little hyperbolic and followed suit.

          You do realize that there are C and D students too, right? And my statement applies to them as well...

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      why not use the concept in universities and other educational institutions?

      Because flunking people who don't care about learning is preferable to pandering to them?

      Why stop at gamification?
      I mean... playing computer games is so 2000-ish. Let the twittification start...
      (on top of being modern, this comes with the advantage of flunking even more people without an inner call for the topic)

      *ducks*

  • by rsborg (111459) on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:23PM (#42246073) Homepage

    Has there been any efficacy studies with respect to the workplace gamification of employee training? Not just efficacy in the employee being "trained" with the content, but actual outcomes based on the employee absorption of the training? I know that in some workplaces where I've been, being given time for training is considered a "perk" and the lower-performing (and perversely the ultra-effective) folks don't to go.

    The real issue is that unlike a game, your status is a pale reflection of reality - many people in real life are very "stats oriented" while others view measurement of stats about their progress as limiting and depressing, and not reflective of their true worth (to the organization, as a person, etc). At one point, I vacillate between one extreme and another.

    "I am not a number... I am a free man" sayeth the Prisoner.

    Perhaps we should integrate this training into project and management methodologies such that training really reflects what you've actually done, and then try to "improve" absorption of the training by gamification.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      I have to think that with the level of engagement being higher - if you in any way make use of an idea before committing it to memory rather than try to just memorize it rotely, you have a much better chance of retaining that information. I haven't seen any studies, though.

  • Fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:23PM (#42246083) Journal

    It's no longer fun once someone forces you to do it. Then it just becomes insulting. Doubly so if you already know what they're trying to convey and will be penalized for poor performance at the game despite mastery of the material.

    • by vlm (69642)

      It's no longer fun once someone forces you to do it. Then it just becomes insulting

      Speaking of the company christmas party and team building activities... This lack of effectiveness guarantees promotion of gamification

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Look, Hatta, we've already been over this: the pieces of flair aren't mandatory. They're self-expression. You want to express yourself, don't you?

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      It's no longer fun once someone forces you to do it.

      Seems to me if you are paying to learn (University), you're the one forcing you.

  • Boring? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday December 10, 2012 @04:37PM (#42246211)
    Honestly, if I'm paying $500 - $1000 *per lecture*, I'm going to sit and pay attention no matter how boring the material or the professor is. I realize that some professors or subjects are dull beyond comprehension, but you're actually *paying* to be there so sit up and listen. Get a good night's rest, read the material before coming to class, engage yourself in the discussion (or if there is no discussion, engage yourself in an internal discussion with questions).... no need to dress up like cartoon characters to make the class interesting like we're teaching 3rd graders with uncontrollable ADD. This is college. These are (ostensibly) adults. Give me a break.
    • +100.

      I'm as geeky as anyone here, trust me - but this crap is just wasting time, and not something I'm going to spend $80K+ for. If I'm paying for a college degree, I don't want some stupid kindergarten dress-up class.

      And BTW, if you are really so undisciplined and trite as to need to be entertained at every turn, you don't need to be enrolled in a higher learning institution. Assembly line, etc ought to suit you just fine.
      • by Sepodati (746220)

        I don't think it's as black and white as everyone _needing_ to be entertained. It's just a method. University isn't going to turn into a skill tree where you choose a class and can't graduate until you reach level 65 and defeat the team of evil mascots...

        • University isn't going to turn into a skill tree where you choose a class and can't graduate until you reach level 65 and defeat the team of evil mascots...

          Actually, aside from the evil mascots, it already is this. Replace "skill tree" with "majors" and "level 65" with "600 credits" and you're there.

        • I don't think it's as black and white as everyone _needing_ to be entertained. It's just a method.

          Ok, my comment was probably a bit harsh - the point stands, though. The discipline it takes to sit through a class that isn't fun and entertaining, and learn material that is useful but dry, is the discipline that will make you stand out from the crowd.

          • by robsku (1381635)

            I don't think it's as black and white as everyone _needing_ to be entertained. It's just a method.

            Ok, my comment was probably a bit harsh - the point stands, though. The discipline it takes to sit through a class that isn't fun and entertaining, and learn material that is useful but dry, is the discipline that will make you stand out from the crowd.

            I have ADHD (I'm not kid either, though I'd probably had better success in school if they had known about ADD/ADHD in the 80's Finland) and I'd rather stand out from the crowd with something else, like being a good programmer that I am.

            • Being a good programmer takes discipline, no? It's a lot of work to get really good at what you do. That kind of dedication takes a lot of discipline.
      • by robsku (1381635)

        And BTW, if you are really so undisciplined and trite as to need to be entertained at every turn, you don't need to be enrolled in a higher learning institution. Assembly line, etc ought to suit you just fine.

        My father worked a simple job at factory. He, like I, had ADHD. Thanks.

    • wow, go in some place like France or Cuba or whatever place that gets it right, then you'll rather be paying $500-$1000 *per year*, if that.

    • by aaandre (526056)

      The fact that education is expensive does not mean its quality is high. Boring and un-engaging lectures will put a student to sleep regardless of how much they pay and whether or not they believe they "should" be awake. Putting responsibility on students in this situation is asking them to react in a non-natural way to the circumstances.

      Lecture-based education is inefficient and broken by design.

      "Gamifying" unnecessarily boring material does not make it better and tries to address the wrong issue.

      Ideally co

    • by robsku (1381635)

      Honestly, if I'm paying $500 - $1000 *per lecture*, I'm going to sit and pay attention no matter how boring the material or the professor is.

      You can. I have an ADHD, I can't. Yes, I get stimulants, when I eat them they help, but they are not the perfect solution for all,for me they just help, they don't fix the whole problem.

      Doesn't mean I'm not a brilliant student at right environment - and ending up at McDonalds would be waste of my possibilities for society too.

      no need to dress up like cartoon characters to make the class interesting like we're teaching 3rd graders with uncontrollable ADD. This is college. These are (ostensibly) adults. Give me a break.

      There is something called adult ADD/ADHD. Most common misunderstanding is that ADD is only about kids - actually kids usually have ADHD more often than ADD, and ADHD kids will often lo

  • If you add "gamification" to adult websites you'd have the perfect setup, hit all the pleasure centers. Hmm maybe I should revisit adding rewards to my own website and get some more naked women involved. I initially played with a reward system and decided that I didn't want to force "participation for points", maybe it will help if done as game/reward! - HEX
  • I've never read so many "get off my lawn" posts about a topic. It's a technique. Not everyone has to use it. I know... it's different. And that scares you, but it will be okay.

    I don't know that this would be a method I'd enjoy or not, but if it helps people actually learn a topic instead of memorizing answers, then I'm all for it.

  • Funnily enough came across this article about the benefits and disadvatages of gamification about a month ago.
    http://www.newstatesman.com/sci-tech/2012/11/gamification-does-it-make-business-more-fun-or-it-just-exploitationware [newstatesman.com]

    Apparently too much gamification can be a bad thing, as we'll become immune to it. But on a small scale can be an effective tool.
  • That would be SO fun! Wizards, dark magic, 12-sided dice, and even LARPing ... uh ... what was the class about again?

  • by Jiro (131519)

    There is a reason why "gaming the system" is a negative term. The skills to play the game are never quite the same as the skills to do the job.

  • is that this isn't such a bad thing.

    looking at many responses so far, they could be interpreted as:

    1) students now are immature, undisciplined
    2) study should not be fun, study/learning should be hard work

    why? because it was for you?

    Rote memorization, an un-engaging speaker, dry material, are things that don't help learning.

    why not leverage the brain's natural inclination to seize on the interesting thing? Maybe these kids, young adults, whatever go in with the best intentions, they are serious-minded, and t

  • by RCC42 (1457439) on Monday December 10, 2012 @05:29PM (#42246711)

    Okay two main problems with the audio:

    The interviewer breathes loudly into the microphone while the interviewee is talking. It's kind of gross.

    Secondly, when the two different scenes are mixed together (interview and in-class video) the speaking in one distracts from the other.

  • Had a friend taking some programming classes at a local community college. Helped him with the class and his programming at work afterward. In the class, they both semesters writing some dice game. It was a waste of time. Totally de-emphasized the most important elementary concepts. Afterwards I had to teach him everything they should have covered in class.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    One of the Best classes I have ever taken. Students now have an incentive to learn, study, come to class, and do well. This class is enthralling in every aspect possible. I recommend that everyone take it, Lampe and the GSI's are great.

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Monday December 10, 2012 @05:49PM (#42246883) Homepage Journal

    Compare a course where you would retain 30% of the content with a course where you would retain 70% of the same content: which would you choose?

    Everyone whining about "pandering to the unmotivated" is missing the point: the current class/lecture model started over a thousand years ago and is not optimized for learning. In this century we now know much more about the neurological underpinnings of how people learn, so it makes sense that we should try to optimize the process.

    College (or an online course, or work-related training) should be as effective as possible. Some lecturers have this figured out, but most don't.

    Stanford is considered a hard school not because the material is difficult, but because it's presented in a way that's hard to learn. Only the brightest and most motivated students can thrive in that situation, which helps to build the "best and brightest" reputation. The reputation comes not from quality of education, but difficulty of education.

    (Check out the online videos for Probabilistic Graphical Models [coursera.org] by Dr. Daphne Koller at Stanford. Alternately, check out her book on the subject [amazon.com]. The book is largely unreadable, and the videos are dreadfully obtuse. Her class at Stanford is well known as a weeder.)

    One great aspect of the ongoing MOOC revolution is that everyone is competing on an open field. Instructors using more effective techniques will be perceived as better teachers while the "old-school, cannot change, it's always worked for me" crowd will be left in the dust.

    Gamification is a technique for more effective teaching.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, but I have to disagree with this. As someone who attends a liberal arts college, I hear all the time about how awesome it is that we have good instructors who present the material clearly and unpretentiously.

      The truth of the matter is that my courses cover significantly less material that the courses taken by my friends at Stanford and MIT. It's no wonder that our instruction is "better" -- our instructors are spending the same amount of time on roughly half the content!

      Furthermore, this approach t

    • You are right with your point that, "when a more effective teaching method can be used, it should be used."

      But I think you are missing a point of college: it is half-way between pandering and the real world. In the real world, no one holds your hand. You need to be able to teach yourself things if you want to thrive in the real world. No one is going to give you a game to teach you in the real world.

      A professor is not a teacher, he is a person with knowledge. He will impart that knowledge for you to ab
    • by aaandre (526056)

      So... Stanford: our education is so shitty that only the brightest and most committed retain anything!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      (Check out the online videos for Probabilistic Graphical Models [coursera.org] by Dr. Daphne Koller at Stanford. Alternately, check out her book on the subject [amazon.com]. The book is largely unreadable, and the videos are dreadfully obtuse. Her class at Stanford is well known as a weeder.)

      I'll have you know that I at least, as a Ph.D. in a related field, have no problem what-so-ever with any of those lectures. They are terse and succinct, describing only the necessary details of probabilistic graphical models to an audience already familiar with both probabilistic models and graph theory.

    • by robsku (1381635)

      Stanford is considered a hard school not because the material is difficult, but because it's presented in a way that's hard to learn. Only the brightest and most motivated students can thrive in that situation, which helps to build the "best and brightest" reputation. The reputation comes not from quality of education, but difficulty of education.

      It will also eliminate anyone with severe ADHD without strong stimulant medication (and some despite the medication) no matter how bright and motivated they are.

  • "why not use the concept in universities and other educational institutions?"

    At first glance I read that as, "why not use that to corrupt universities and other educational institutions?"

  • by Sebastopol (189276) on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:24PM (#42247123) Homepage

    We can have a scoring system where they ask questions about the lectures afterwards and award a lettered badge...

    we should call them ...

    EXAMS! /facepalm

    I only had one boring lecturer in my 4 year BS/EE, I -loved- lecture, especially physics, thermo, AI, and mechanics.

    Whine whine whine.

  • by degeneratemonkey (1405019) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:45PM (#42248155)
    I have been working in this industry for nearly a decade, and as far as I can tell, the entire concept is complete bullshit.

    It's basically a circle-jerk for hacks who fancy themselves as revolutionary designers or educators. The reality is that there are no substantive results to speak of with regard to an improved learning experience. Nobody has managed to (legitimately) quantify the efficacy of game-based learning in any convincing way.

    Still, I will keep going for my slice of the hype-pie before it all disappears.
    • Educational games are bull right now. But how predators learn to hunt as babies is gaming. It can be done.
  • Anyone over 10 who uses that word seriously is a fucking moron.
  • What is a Game? In my book:
    (I) a well defined Goal
    (II) a set of Strategies which each player may choose from
    (III) Rules for translating the Strategies into a Score (measuring progress to the Goal).

    It seems to me that any education system with grades is - in a sense - Gamified. We have been tallying points for centuries. The only difference is to what extent the Rules are clearly defined.

    It is however, in my experience some of the most valuable lessons I have learned are:
    (I) the Rules in Lif
  • Go and sort out the stereo separation on future vids, will you? I appreciate you've dedicated one mic to the interviewer and one to the interviewee, and then fed them into the left and right channels, but for those of us who watch videos with headphones on, it's really distracting to have one guy in your right ear and the other in your left. A mix-down to mono would do the trick quite nicely. Thanks.

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