Coursera Reflections on Gamification

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Information about Coursera Reflections on Gamification

Published on March 3, 2014

Author: anitadeciannibrown



A reflection of the Coursera Gamification course.

Coursera Reflections on Gamification Erik Chocianowski Anita DeCianni-Brown

At the beginning…  Learning about Gamification is a new experience but one that comes with some obvious associations…clearly game related.  Learning how games and their elements could have a novel approach when it comes to applications in the areas outside of video games seemed very interesting.

The Platform  Coursera is a useful platform and the way the class is structured follows the ideology of the material that is being presented. The material is engaging and is appropriate for all levels of involvement.  The layout is very simple and assessment is based on quizzes based on video lectures, written assignments and a final exam.

Gamification  The idea of gamification is very alluring, especially when considering reluctant learners and strategies to encourage the involvement of “users” in a particular system.  The course does a good job of breaking down the different elements of games, gives easily relatable examples and starts the in an optimistic way when Professor Werbach states from a book “I am a Game Designer.” The idea that we are all capable of making games is an important concept to remember whenever one starts to design learning programs with these elements.

Elements Examined  This screenshot of a game points out the different aspects of the game and in the lecture, Professor Werbach describes how even something that appears to be trivial is added for an intended purpose. In a discussion about a progress bar, Werbach stated the popular networking site LinkedIn saw more completed profiles by just adding a progress bar. That is a prime example of a gamification principle being used for another intended purpose.

What Makes Games Engaging • How does a designer and/or instructor make things that we have to do – fun? • Fun is not limited to entertainment or recreation. It can also include something we enjoy at work.

Winning Goofing Off Problemsolving Exploring Customization What things are fun? Role Playing Sharing Imagination Chilling Teamwork Recognition Surprise Triumphing Collecting

What are ways people can be motivated?  What motivates?  What kind of motivation?  Is it enough? The motivation in gaming may not have any intrinsic value, but still has an engaging or motivational value to some. Motivation in a broad spectrum may be difficult to pinpoint because so many different things motivate individuals.

Developing a User Experience  Think differently  Think of users and different ways to motivate them  Think about the nature of the task at hand gets us thinking creatively about how to deploy motivation in a systematic way.

Areas of Interest  Of all the things encountered so far, favorite sections included the interviews with Ethan Mollick and Bing Gordon, two well-versed individuals that have been within the field or have preaching about the field of gamification for several years now.  Ethan Mollick worked on developing games for the military to create a better cultural understanding and Bing Gordon of KleinerPerkings, Cuafield and Byers is a Silicon Valley inhabitant with past ties to video game maker Electronic Arts.

Ethan Mollick Interview Highlights  Mollick pushed home the importance of not only the importance of gamification and its impact it has today with many hours devoted to playing video games and the established links between gaming and psychology and sociology but advocates for more research and sharing best practices and failures for learning.

Mollick Continued  He felt concerned because of the potential for morality issues. Games he says, are the difference between “work someone thinks they do to the work they are doing”(Mollick, 2014). While gamification leverages the inherent appeal of games, “graphics, leaderboards and avatars,” it can also be coercive, and there may be problems between reward systems that are virtual and real.  In the interview, Mollick conveyed his feeling of optimism in general for the field of gamification and states that the ability to make work appear more interesting without changing the underlying effects is a sentiment that can be appreciated when developing curricula of the future.

Bing Gordon Interview  Some of the important aspects that Gordon brings to light in terms of gamification is the immediate feedback that games provide and the fact that they are quantified. He also goes on to discuss the success that games have in creating collaboration of strangers and the ability those have to learn social norms while playing games. He says that “things working in the best games are the best principles”(Gordon, 2014). He continues to say that there are some misconceptions in games that some think that the primary objective is winning competition. Gordon states that cooperation trumps competition and too much competition may in fact lead to demotivation.  He stated that high score ranking is something that is only successful for those that are 90% on the way to success.

Bing Gordon Interview Continued  Gordon began closing the interview by discussing the pressure that gamification is going to put on the school system and brought up the interesting point that grading is in fact a way of gamification for the education system.

Gamification in Education  Muntean’s theoretical analysis of gamification is that it can be used as a tool to increase engagement in e-learning platforms (Muntean, 2011).Gamificationmechanics can be used to motivate and trigger desired behaviors on students.  Silva proposesgamificationelements, focusing specifically on social game mechanisms. These can be included in e-learning courses to potentially increase motivation and engagement. Silva suggests customization, community interaction or leaderboards as proposed mechanisms.  The gamifiedapproach might include the following modules:  Introduction to the computer, the operating system, networks and communication.  Word processor  Spreadsheets  Presentation software  Databases

Gamification in Education Creating gamification systems that increases student motivation, one needs to focus on the fundamental elements that make videogames appealing to their players. The authors cite Lee and Hammer (2011), that games are motivating because of their impact on the cognitive, emotional and social areas of players; and so, gamification in education should also focus on those three areas.  In the cognitive area, a game provides a complex system of rules along with series of tasks that guide players through a process to master those rules. Games try to assure that players always know what to do next, and that they have the necessary knowledge to do it. When the learning process is customizable, task sequences are usually non-linear, and players have a certain degree of freedom to choose which tasks to accomplish depending on skill and personal preferences.  The impact on the emotional area works mainly around the concept of success and failure. Players complete tasks and are expected to have positive emotions because of overcoming difficulties. Games reward players, giving them immediate recognition, in the form of points, trophies or other items. Players can also experience anxieties, but they should not be meant to become frustrations with the games.  The interaction of multiple players have an impact in the social area of games. Videogames offer a wide range of multiplayer interaction mechanisms which make it possible for players to cooperate helping each other towards a common goal, to compete trying to impair other players or to perform better than them, or just to interact socially by talking, flirting, trading or gifting for example. All these kinds of interaction let players build different in-game identities taking meaningful roles and obtaining recognition from other players (Lee &Hoadley, 2007).

In conclusion…  This course has a lot to offer and the information presented makes you want to learn more about systems that Professor Werbach discusses in the course. There will surely be more going back, watching videos over again and delving further into examples discussed. The great thing about this course’s multimedia component and flexibility across platforms is the ease in which doing these things are. Surely the journey has just begun.

Work Cited  "Bing Gordon Interview." Interview by Kevin Werbach. Coursera. University of Pennsylvannia, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2014. <>.  “Ethan Mollick Interview with Prof. Werbach." Interview by Kevin Werbach. Coursera. University of Pennsylvannia, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2014. <>.  nguez, A., Saenz-de-Navarrete, J., deMarcos, L., ndez-Sanz, L., s, C., & iz, J. (2013) Gamifyinglearning experiences: Practical implications and outcomes. Computers &Education. 63. p. 380–392.

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