Gamification Report | Episode 23: Serious Educational Games, Best Practices, and more!


David Chandross: Hello, folks. Welcome back to the gamification report. Today we’re going to take a deeper look again
at how we implement the literature that we’ve seen about gamification and some of our best
practices that are emerging as we work in the field. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about
what make a game good, and that’s an interesting question. It’s a subjective question, but if we talk
about these based on different votes that happen, there are different ways that people
vote, and we’ll talk about these different dimensions. There’s video sales. There’s voting. There’s customer use, etc. We can see that there’s these two-player games. These are all card games. And we can see this game called Carcassonne
really, really high level, 130 votes it got in one basic poll, and then Pandemic, a very,
very powerful game. Some of you might be familiar with Pandemic. It’s a game where you’re trying to stop the
spread of an illness, and you can imagine how you can use that in higher education. Then Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Agricola, Castles
of Burgundy, etc. You can do ranking charts to give us an idea
of what constitutes a good game, and, again, this game design thinking that we know from
the literature is that you don’t have to really build games in your classroom. We can scientifically justify game play features
in terms of their effect. I shared the quote from Leonard Nackey, who
was at the University of Waterloo, who is probably one of the top game researchers in
the world right now. This is the idea of challenge of skills, and
I think you get the idea that we’re painting an emotional landscape when we’re producing
educational games or any kind of video game, but we’re focused here on the idea of high
challenge and high skills as goals. We can move people through these different
emotional states. For example, if we have games of very high
challenge but demand very low level of skill that is used to solve them, then we have a
high-alert focus. If we have really, really low skills that
we’ve prepared people for as they’ve entered the game, imagine a game where you had to
build a motorcycle and it’s your first day of school and you’ve never even ridden a motorcycle
and you’ve got a game where you’ve got to design a new motorcycle engine. Well, that’s going to really have high level
of challenge but a very low level of skill. You’re going to be in a state of anxiety the
during the time. In fact, if we really up the challenge and
we give you super low – maybe me – who knows nothing about motorcycle engines,
I’d be in a state of worry and stress and distraction. That’s the emotional portrait, and it’s amazing
how often in higher education we’re actually moving students into this space and we don’t
really know it. They don’t have the requisite skills to tackle
the kind of challenges we give them. I remember when I tried to study calculus
at university and I’d really been pretty off the wall in high school math. I mean I really didn’t study a lot. I thought I could jump into calculus and try
to make a go of it using whatever gumption had got me through biochemistry, and I lived
in this state of worry and stress and distraction. I eventually reached the point of apathy,
and I actually withdrew from the course, stopped taking it. Eventually, I picked up statistics years later,
which is what I needed, but you can actually have students move into states of worry, apathy,
and anxiety by having very high level of challenge with low skills. If we provide people with opportunities to
increase their skills with challenge, then we can start to enter. Now, here’s a case where your skill level’s
very high but your challenge is very low, so this is where you get into apathy and boredom. As you can see, as you move into higher and
higher level skills, we get into relaxation and confidence. As we start to increase the challenge, we
start to move into these green zones and this is Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of flow. This is how you can think about your learning
and, as a result, think about your serious educational design. What kind of states would you want to engender
in the viewer? Do we want relaxed states, aroused states,
control, or flow states? These are interesting ways to look. Game thinking arises out of these gamification
models, which have to do with mechanics, measurement, reward, and behavior. There’s a lot of inputs into something like
this. Then this feeds into personality type. I don’t want to take us through all the parts
of this schedule, but the gamification models involve a lot more discussion when we try
to put rubber to the road than thinking about whether we just want to make rewards or the
mechanics good and the rules good. We want to think about how do we measure the
game itself? What kind of measures are we going to use
to look at how you advance in the game, and what kind of behaviors we want to introduce
in the game, and what kind of rewards we want to provide? Just looking at this very simply, recognition
is a very powerful reward. If there’s some way that students can participate
in a game-like activity in the classroom in which each week you would talk about the people
that had achieved the most or would be able to do some kind of personal note through an
email server to say, “Really good work on the game,” then they have that recognition. But it might be achievements in the game they
want, or they might want valuables or other kinds of value creation or enjoyment in the
game. Again, there’s different behaviors that you’d
want. Do you want competency, engagement, competition,
cooperation, etc? When you build a gamification model, you try
to think of all these dimensions together to design holistically. We learn a lot about by looking at top games
that are out there in terms of the video game market. The best-selling video game of all time is
Wii Sports, which sold 82 million copies. Very interesting. Right after that came Mario Brothers, Mario
Cart, Sports Resort, Pokémon, Tetris, etc. We can see that we can measure what works
in games by looking at how many people buy them. It’s obvious something about Wii sports is
very addicting. People like to be fit, and if they can make
a game of being fit, I mean let’s just look at that. I bet you, you weren’t expecting that, were
you, these top value video games in sells from platforms. In terms of cost of production, let’s just
see. Before we move ahead, that we can see the
game Destiny will cost 500 million to produce, Grand Theft Auto, 265 million, Call of Duty,
200 million, etc. We know these are what are called mega games
that cost a lot of money to produce. Obviously, in the area of serious educational
games, we don’t have these kinds of budgets, but what we can do is look at the mechanics
that work well in those specific games and then try to build games that give the players
some of those emotional experiences based on the previous slide where we look at trying
to build challenge and skill grids and dynamics. When we look at mobile gaming, and again,
we design a lot of our games for the mobile space now for learning. It’s really moving ahead. Mobile game revenues in 2015 were 29 billion. By 2018 to 45 billion, and the software market
overall is showing movement towards mobile. We can see that mobile is really the way to
build out these games because it’s an explosive market and mobile games are played in interesting
places. In one study, we found that most of them are
played on the toilet or in bed and other mobile games could be played on a plane, driving,
or commuting. Basically, browser-based games and mobile
games can be played in any location, which means you’re learning in higher education
can take place in the church or in a plane or driving or in bed. We can actually move learning different locations
using mobile. We don’t have to have it statically in the
classroom or sitting in front of a computer workstation. We try to get a picture to conclude today’s
presentation of what players seem to want in games. This looks at the best-selling video games
of all times, and we can see, by far, Tetris beats everybody. Minecraft is right under it. Any of you with kids know that Minecraft is
amazing. Kids are doing building, they’re becoming
architects, they’re learning about economy by playing games. Right under this is Grand Theft Auto V. Grand
Theft Auto is an open world game, so we know this is why we talk a lot about open worlds. We know people like to have alternate realities
to play in. Under this, we see Wii Sports, which we’ve
talked about before. People love to get into shape. And then way back down we begin to look at
things like Overwatch and Elder Scrolls and Mario Cart and Pokémon. If we look at the actual selling, people really
like the idea of teasing their brain. They like the idea of building. They love the idea of fitness, and they love
open worlds. These are the kind of ideas we’re going to
import into our gamification design that build off it. This is something we can watch on what a cyber
athlete is, but this is Hansel Kim, who is a cyber athlete. These are all different links that we’ve left. I think we want to take a little break now
for some origami, tea ceremony, or Chi Kung, and thank you for watching with us today and
learning a little bit about what kinds of games are really effective in learning and
how we can take examples from the video game industry and try to build these into effective
learning systems. We’ll see you next week. This is David Chandross in the Centre for
Teaching and Learning at Humber College.

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