If I recall correctly, the first couple of cycles in this course seemed to explore the definition of gamification, discuss the benefits of video game play, and introduce us to the world of affinity spaces. For me, these topics were new or a little over my head. Defining gamification seemed to get too far in the weeds and, despite the scholarship that went into those arguments, I still feel like the definition should be simple. As for video games, I’m not really a practitioner although I do agree with the learning application that accompanies video game play. And affinity spaces were a new concept – but not that new anymore.
I can say, though, that I have enjoyed diving into the subsequent topics much more. I generally try to choose an article to critique based on the current cycle’s readings and the past few cycles have provided some very compelling topics. Particularly, I have enjoyed jumping into the game application in learning settings. I have often personally defined analysis as the breaking down of something into its smallest parts and asking questions. The topics, hypothesis discussions, and scholarly readings have opened my ideas to the intricacies designing educational game play. Not only are there different types of learners but there are different types of players, each with their own values and motivators.
Interestingly enough, the most recent course activities changed my preconceptions about learning in the classroom versus learning through games. Some of the authors we’ve read really criticized the formal education system today as a means of strengthening their arguments for games and/in learning. At first I thought some of the criticism was a little harsh and, although I did love every minute of my schooling, I always sort of felt like it was a necessary format – and there was no getting around it. Now, I admit I was wrong. Teachers don’t have to lecture, they can guide. I know in my job I can recite the same trainings over and over again but the employee won’t truly understand until they connect the dots themselves. An example of this was the article by Darvasi. In his game for his class, students would come to him for guidance or advise on their experiments. When that happened he would guide them to the answer but the discovery belonged to the student. Teachers can be guides.
Hypothesis continues to be a truly valuable tool for actively digesting readings and facilitating relevant peer discussion at the same time. The insights and comments that others share not only offers unique perspectives into the subject matter but they help define key terms and concepts. This is truly college reading at its best.
Question: We have discussed how games can be games can be used for learning but can they be used for assessment?
Answer: Yes! One may not realize but many games today already provide assessment of a learner through achievements or other metrics. Think about the last game app you played. In how many different ways did you score points? I recently read an article on regarding assessment through achievement by scholars from the University of Texas Dallas (find my scholarly critique here). Today’s multiple choice or True/False test don’t fully capture the aptitude of the learner. By modeling our assessments after game play achievements, we can start to explore compelling and engaging ways to assess the knowledge and skill of our learners.
I want to put my new found knowledge into practice and see how games and learning can be incorporated into corporate training. Let’s go!