Friday, May 11

Gamify to Amplify the Learning Experience!

 "Gamification is using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to
engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve problems."
 - Karl Kapp

From the book: 
...Just READ IT!

Also, check out this cool interactive Evolution of Learning graphic (yes, it is infused in my graphic above), although I don't endorse its opinion, which to me is kind of misleading. Why? Because great learning experiences depends as much on the educator (and learner) as on the mode chosen for learning. In other words, a great lecture can be an insanely awesome mind stimulating and inspiring trigger for (lifelong) learning, too. What really matters is what goes on in the head (or mind) of the learner as we try to inspire awesome learning experiences, and that does not necessarily depend on the mode chosen to facilitate this process.

However, your chances to facilitate insanely awesome learning experiences can be amplified by using a variety of learning and teaching tools, and Gamification is certainly one to have in your arsenal or learning toolbox. 

Karl Kapp, thanks for inviting me again to share some thoughts and ideas on your blog book tours (First one: Learning in 3D). No doubt The Gamification of Learning and Instruction book is also insanely awesome.

Besides the book itself, you should explore the Gamification Facebook Page, join the conversation on Twitter (#gamLi hashtag), and of course check out all the book reviews and reflections by the invited learning professionals in the Gamification blog book tour.

Interestingly, we were extremely fortunate to have Karl Kapp give an online talk on our IMU Webinar Series recently (21/03/2012).... Easily the best learning webinar series on the planet :)

CLICK HERE to access the webinar details and recording.

This is Blog book tour STOP 20, which means that 19 learning professionals before me have actually shared their reviews and feedback on the book. And that makes me wonder what can I really contribute to this conversation without babbling or repeating what others have said in my own words. Nope, that does not inspire me to participate in this conversation! However, here is a great presentation by the awesome Karl Kapp on Gamification in learning design and delivery. Game over!

You must have something to say about the book? Okay, I do! 

If you are looking for a book that covers A-Z from understanding to implementing gamification of learning, this is easily the best book I have ever come across. It fuses theory, research, practice and provides some really juicy examples of how gamification is being applied, and importantly he writes in  a language that is understandable beyond the world of instructional designers and hard core gamers.

Also, I love the way that Karl Kapp has converted learning outcomes (using military orders) into chapter questions. All instructional designers, subject matter experts and  writers should know that most human beings since Adam and Eve are more likely to be stimulated to think from questions rather than orders (which might stimulate action, but not necessarily thinking), and that also applies to instructional design.

Thanks Karl for making it happen in your book! Though, there are many ways to inspire students to explore and achieve the learning outcomes, and this is one good example on how it can be done.

Finally, what I really like about this and all other great books that I have read over the years, is that they inspire me to rethink the way I do things, connect ideas, and explore new possibilities. Actually, I have been (like probably you, too!) practicing many aspects of Gamification in life and work ever since 'Donkey Kong' was released without realizing it, or using this word to illustrate it.

So, let's look at some examples.

I have a big problem when I am bored, because I easily literally fall asleep when I am in that state. This also very much applies when I learn, especially when I read journal articles and boring academic books (and courseware). However, when I am in this state of boredom, I sometimes challenge myself with time specific goals. 

For example, suddenly I will challenge myself that I must complete a a reflective blog post (250 - 500 words) within an 1 hour, and that will re-energize my sleeping neurons and empower me to work much faster than if I would not have set such goals. 

So, how do I punish myself when I fail my self-imposed deadlines? Actually, I don't need punitive measures to drive me, so why bother with such things for personal learning and sharing...right? 

How do I reward myself? I celebrate it in my distorted imaginative mind by winning The Nobel Prize in Literature, and I have won it every year since 2007 (LOL)! Actually, by being able to push myself and making those self-imposed targets is a reward in itself empowering temporary satisfaction, joy and happiness. Also, I might buy some junk food to celebrate the occasion!

Sharing is the essence of great learning and connecting with great minds.

There is nothing worse than lecturing a class to sleep without even trying to inspire them to think and learn. Now, ever since I came across John Medina's 10 Minute Rule, I have continuously explored different ways to engage the mind.   Although, engagification would be a better way to categorize it than gamification, I still think it is within the realm of gamificaton.

For example, during my talk at the Learning Innovation Talks earlier this year, I wanted participants to understand Twitter #hashtags, and get them to tweet during my talk (using a particular #hashtag). To encourage more participation, I told them that the winner would receive a Norwegian chocolate bar (Stratos) with juicy air bubbles. 

And as a result, quite a few participated in this challenge, and guess who won (most tweets using the #hashtag)? Nope, none of the participants won! Instead, the winner was believe it or not the Announcer (MC). I asked him later for his reason to participate, and he replied that he really wanted that Norwegian chocolate, and in the end he got it. You are probably wondering which Twitter app I used to map out the winner visually with one click. Archivist!

Alright, I could go on talking about the Gamification of exercise, family life and wife (and seriously put you to sleep!). Oops, perhaps not Gamification of wife (please share some tricks!!!)! But, I am currently in Saudi Arabia (as I write), and will be on my way home from Saudi Arabia on 11 May (my blog tour post date) after conducting two 2-day workshops on Facebook and Twitter at the National Center for E-Learning and Distance Learning (NCeL) in Riyadh. So, I am kind of rushing for time, as I need to do some shopping, too. I hope you understand.

Luckily we can schedule posts on Blogger, and this particular post should be posted while I am 30,000+ feet up in the air without any Internet access. So, I might not be very interactive on the 11 May even after returning, as I am looking forward to a break after a pretty hectic period. But, hopefully this post can spark a few ideas and discussions.

To sum up, Karl Kapp's Gamification of Learning and Instruction book is a must read for anyone wanting to learn more on how to gamify to amplify learning experiences :)


Anonymous said...

Excellent Article as usual Mr Zaid
but with games we need to change the Assessment methods :) = change Educational system :)


Karl Kapp said...


Thanks so much for being a stop on the Gamification Blog Book tour. And "congratulations" on wining the Nobel Prize for literature so many times:)

I really enjoyed how you put together the graphic at the beginning of your post.

I agree that engagement is such an important part of learning and to your first statement about engaging lectures, I agree. I think a skilled lecturer can engage the audience through mental pictures, vivid imagery and thought provoking ideas.

Good designers of instruction have been using gamification techniques for engaging their learners. The idea behind the work was to make some of those ideas more visible to all designers and presenters of content so they can make their instruction more engaging and interesting.

Gamification is a good way of thinking about designing instruction and in getting people to think in the lens of a game designer and not necessarily an instructional designer and, ideally, to meld the two.

Again, thanks for being a great stop on the tour!!

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Enas,

We don't necessarily need to change to our assessment if we add a bit gamification to the learning environment. Though, if gamification and games become a large part of the learning environment and experience, then yes changing the way we assess becomes paramount.

However, in general are we really assessing what we claim to be assessing?

Today, much of the programme/course assessment I come across is basically testing whether students are good photocopy machines, and hardly really challenge them to think (beyond!!!!)... So, yes we need to revamp the current assessment methods (in many Universities) to reflect and measure real (authentic) learning and learning outcomes (as much as possible) :)

Seriously, we have no choice, if we want to be relevant beyond 2020 :(

Thanks again for your reflections :)

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Karl Kapp,


It is always fun to engage in learning discussions with you :)

So, the pleasure is 95% mine :)

Best of luck on the rest of tour!

Warm regards!

Frankie Kam said...

Hi Zaid. Just to let you know, I'm still developing my Moodle Wall..erm...WonderWall I call it. Anyway, if I may just contribute a little bit on Gamification with a Moodle-Wall slant. Here's my post on the subject:
Frankie Kam

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Frankie Kam,

Thanks for sharing this new feature to your WonderWall. I have tweeted about it, too :) Hopefully, people will recognize your great efforts to the Moodle and learning communities around the world :)

All the best & Happy New Year!