Nicole and I just returned from an excellent training/conference in Orlando. One speaker who really resonated with both of us was Karl Kapp and his presentation “Game Elements for Learning, Engagement and Fun” (we even purchased several copies of his books to share with faculty at iTeach). We’ll let you know when they arrive on campus and you can check one out. Gamification isn’t just the newest buzzword.
Now, don’t get me wrong, neither of us are particularly thrilled about mixing games and education. Neither of us were sitting between sessions playing Angry Birds on our phone. That said, Karl Kapp’s research really did make us believers in the sense that there are better ways to look at your course, to make it appealing, to incorporate some of the elements from addictive games and figure out how your students might engage with your content more effectively if we learn from these popular gaming activities.
Here is an article that he wrote in 2013 that links some gaming elements to educational strategies. I think, if you take a look, you won’t find this too far off the mark.
Additionally, during his Orlando presentation he took a close look at learning objectives. He told us basically, “Games start with action. Instructional designers and online courses start with learning objectives.” Hmmnm, from our student’s perspective, that doesn’t sound nearly as interesting, does it?
Instead of listing learning objectives for a course bullet by bullet, point by point, ASK A QUESTION. That’s right. Ask an intriguing question. Grab the interest of your student right away by presenting a scenario or choice — do they know the answer? No? Enter the learning module and find out. Or, ask a series of questions letting the student know that if they continue, they will find the answers. You want the learner primed to learn, excited to move on.
His take home message in the article is pretty compelling: The debate should not be whether games teach; instead, the debate should be how we leverage the best elements of games to create the best instruction for learners.
What do you think?