Tag Archives: Experience points

The gamification of education and gaining experience points

13 Jan

Recently, a co-op student that I work alongside described a university course that he attends where the professor had turned the course itself into a game. If you attend class, you gain experience points. The more points you gain, the higher level you reach. These points/levels would at the end of the course be translated into a grade.

For me, this approach added a new wrinkle to the debate about the gamification of education.

The original idea of “gamification” saw educators/instructional designers applying the concept of game design to actual learning. This had clear learning benefits, from developing problem solving skills to improving learner engagement.

But I would suggest that turning the architecture of learning, i.e. a course, into a game offers something new.

A recent blog post by Nick Simons at Saffron Interactive explores this “something new” further. Nick writes, “gamification doesn’t simply mean designing and implementing serious games for changing behaviour and/or improving performance.” Instead he suggests that there are “many more, and possibly better, opportunities to use ‘game design techniques and mechanics’ for workplace learning than that.”

One of these opportunities, I would argue, is turning a course into a game. When I asked my co-worker whether his professor had explained why he had turned his course into the game, my co-worker said the professor had witnessed a decrease in student motivation and attendance as the course progressed. To combat the decline, the course itself became a game. Perhaps this professor is onto something!