Lifelong Learning Centre

Gamification and gamifying (higher) education

Posted on Monday, 09 February 2015 at 10am
by Beccy Stirrup. See more of my posts here.
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I am the LLC’s Blended Learning Co-ordinator and Programme Leader for Creative Writing. With titles like these it may come as no surprise to you that I have an interest in creative approaches to education.

For the past few years I have found the subject of gamification to be particularly exciting, and as I’ve been given the opportunity to talk about it at the World Unite Festival next week I thought it might be interesting to blog about it as well.

Gamification is essentially the use of game mechanics in everyday situations to try and make these more engaging. A good example can be found in Chore Wars, a free site that enables you to re-imagine household tasks, making the completion of them competitive. It doesn’t sound like much but not only can it make cleaning a lot more fun, it can encourage those chore-dodgers to roll up their sleeves and put on the marigolds.

You see, games are incredibly successful at being highly immersive and engaging voluntary activities. If you’ve ever played Angry Birds – or even solitaire – then you know what I mean. Games do this by making us work hard. If you spend some time thinking about what we actually do when playing games, you’ll start to notice that a key feature is difficulty. Games are not easy, they are challenging. We could even say that games are fun because they are challenging.

Gamified education, then, does not ask less of the learner – if anything it asks more. I have first-hand experience of this in my teaching, and this is what I’ll be talking about at the World Unite Festival on Wednesday 11th February (5.00-6.00 p.m. in Room 5, Leeds University Union). So, if you would like to hear more then please do come along – it would be lovely to meet you.

Or, if you can’t make it, then feel free to get in touch for a chat!

Categories: Learning