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June 15, 2017

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Have we forgotten that games are fun? (And so is learning!) PT 1.

May 31, 2017

As a lot of you know from reading my articles, I like to keep up the attack on what we understand of gamification. This campaign of mine started in 2016 at the Learning Technologies conference and continued with great support in 2017.

 

Today I wanted to write about why people play games, perhaps this can help us to create more engaging e-learning.

 

Why People Play Games

 

Immersyve’s complex needs-satisfaction metrics narrow down to three basic categories. The first of these needs is a need for competence – that is a desire to seek out control or to feel mastery over a situation. People like to feel successful, and we like to feel like we’re growing and progressing in our knowledge and accomplishments.

 

Our second psychological need is autonomy: the desire to feel independent or have a certain amount of control over our actions.

 

The final psychological human need is relatedness. We like to feel like we matter to others, and we like to feel like we are making a significant contribution to society.

Looking at those three points there you can see the value and I'm sure see the links to how we go about creating learning. All of those points can be covered off as part of the analysis of the course however we miss the crucial point about games, they're fun.

“Almost all educational games suck,” says Iowa State University professor Douglas A. Gentile, who has spent his career researching how video games affect children. It's hard to disagree with him, too often educational games focused purely on the content they're trying to delivery and not enough focus on the elements surrounding that content.

 

So how do we change? Well, that's the hard part and it can't be covered in one post. So I'll make a start with the first point in this one.

 

Don't be afraid to move away from the workplace.

 

What I mean by this is that a lot of courses are written from an internal perspective EG. you work at a supermarket, the course is about someone who works at a supermarket. The learner should relate to the course regardless of the setting, it may take you a little more time to consciously make the links but the ability to set the learner free in a different world or setting is immediately more fun. A good example of this is a customer service course I completed, instead of having the learner in the business completing scenarios from a server perspective I instead allowed them to visit other businesses and put them on the receiving end of bad customer service. This gave the learner a sense of autonomy and ability to feel the emotion from the poor customer service they received. Doing this enabled the learners to engage with why it was so important in their current role to not adopt the same behaviours.

 

I'm going to end PT 1 here for now and come back with PT 2 containing more points in a couple of days. This post is really to start opening up the conversation about how we change the way learning games are delivered. I have a lot more information and examples to share and I look forward to doing so. For now keep in mind the psychological reasons people play games and think about the way your courses currently shape up, do they enable the learner to achieve those goals?

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