How Game Dynamics (not gamification) Will Save Higher Education presented by Kevin Bell


– Good morning, everybody. Are we good? All right. Good morning, everybody. I hope you had a lovely evening last night and that you’ve been having a wonderful time here in New York City. We whipped up a really
beautiful day for you today. And today’s a half day,
so hopefully you’ll get to enjoy it this afternoon on your way home or wherever it is that you’re headed after the summit. A couple of announcements,
I guess, or just comments, I want to thank Nancy Motando, who’s sitting out there
at the registration desk. (applause) Nancy, we’re talking about you. (laughs) And everybody who helped
to put this together, including the coat staff
and the provost office and the global center and Consuelo who I just see there in the
doorway, for supporting and making everything possible. And I want to thank all
of you for attending and any of those, Lisa and
Christine Kroll, Lisa DeBuck and Christine Kroll, and Greg Catchman, all of you who are tuning in virtually. We miss you. But we’re really glad that you
can follow along virtually. And I want to just thank
you guys for being here and for participating and engaging. All of the faculty and the
people who are not here usually for whom this is
your first time, I really appreciate you attending
and I’m looking forward to continuing this
conversation beyond the end of the summit in our online communities that we have available for interaction and hope that you will
participate in some of the coat activities that we
have and that we offer. So today is the NUTN Board,
the National University Technology Network Board
has been here with us all week and is here with us today. This is the NUTN engagement day. So if you’re in NUTN
would you please raise your hand, one of the NUTN board members? Great, great. So we have featured
today some speakers from the NUTN Board and we also have planned for our final presentation
an interactive activity of networking between
us and the folks from the NUTN Board, and so
I’m very, very pleased to be able to bring NUTN to this event to demonstrate the networking
in NUTN with you in this real live way. And to help to illustrate
the benefits of membership in the National University
Technology Network. So if you have any
questions about NUTN, if you have any interest in
learning more about NUTN, please seek out one of the board members and exchange cards and talk to them. So did I cover everything,
did I miss anything? Okay, I think not. I think we will get us
started with the first speaker this morning and I’ll set him up for you. Kevin Bell is the Executive
Director for online curriculum development
and deployment at the College of Professional Studies
at Northeastern University. And I’m not going to
read his bio to you, but I can tell you that being
on the board and having had the opportunity to
interact and talk with him and then also at other
events, I am very, very excited to have him talk
with us about how gameful design, not gamification,
is going to save education. So Kevin, thank you very much for coming. Warm welcome for Kevin Bell. (applause) – So I’m going to play with
technology for a little piece. I’ve got a bit of a
cold, sorry about that. This should now be on. That’s good. I’ve worked out I can
stand in the middle and you can still hear me,
but then I can’t see any of the screen so you’ll
have to tell me what’s up. So I’ll try not to wander too much. So this is it, really. You need aluminum hats and goggles and you do that with all your students and that’s pretty much
where we’re at with that. Thank you for the
opportunity to talk today. I’m excited about this. I’m actually currently
teaching a workshop, so I ran slides by some of my
participants last week and they didn’t all run
from the room screaming or anything like that. I trimmed the PowerPoint. There’s actually a
couple of people who are unfortunate enough, I
think Alex is one of them, to have seen this presentation at OLC. So I thought I’ll have
to change something, otherwise she’ll completely
fall asleep as well I think the other guy
who said he’d seen it. So I’ll skim through
what I like about this. I mean, there’s a bit of theory. I’m British so I use words like waffle. There’s a bit of waffle in there. But probably the funnest
part is that there are case studies that I met during the course of my dissertation. I finished my doctorate at
the University of Pennsylvania a couple of years ago now,
and I kept in touch with these guys, and what was
fun was I started looking at just how to intrinsically
motivate students in online courses. So I thought the presentation
was great yesterday. She hit so many of the
areas that we were sort of seeing around instructor engagement and I could sort of circumvent
all of this by saying it doesn’t matter how
good the course is, as we heard yesterday, if the
instructor doesn’t show up, whether it’s online or face to face. It’s not a good experience. So I do tie a lot of this
back to faculty and it’s not just sort of the don’t
hate me and throw me from the room, I think it’s a
really valid point of what we’re trying to do. But the interesting thing
when I worked with the faculty who were featured
in the case studies was they approached things really differently. They all had a label of gamification. I actually don’t mind
Christy and Alex giving me a hard time as if I’m going
to pedantically throw them from the room. I don’t mind the term gamification. It’s a good umbrella term
and it does cover a lot of ways that people are
trying to intrinsically motivate students. And you’ll see when I get
to the four cases that the faculty approach this
in very different ways. They did things very
different from each other, but they all had kind of positive effects. They didn’t have huge sample
sizes, it wasn’t a longitudinal study, so I’m not going to
retire on the back of it. But there was enough there
to say this is interesting and we should keep looking at it. So I think gamification’s
fine as a broad umbrella, but as you’ll see in a second
when I dig in, there are different ways that people
are categorizing this. And the main reason that I
sort of avoid gamification now is it’s become a bit
like the M word, the MOOC word in terms of being
something that immediately half the room want to
run and scream and hide and the other half are
super, super excited and they ask when the World of
Warcraft version is coming out. And I use that as a term
meaning what you’ll see in this presentation are
hopefully not examples that immediately make you
switch off and say, well, this isn’t for me, I
don’t have that budget. All of the cases that I show
were either bootstrapped by the faculty member himself,
sorry, they are all males, or they had minimal tech
support of the kind that I think most of us would have access to. If we’ve got an LMS person
who’s pretty smart and can tweak a few things or
can write a few little code elements, then we could all do
what these people have done. And what I’ve said to the
class that I’m teaching this week is let’s napkin
sketch everything out. If you want to do a leaderboard,
hell, do it in Excel or do it in Word and throw it around. And then when you get
the good feedback and students say, okay, I like
this, I didn’t like that, then the bits they liked
that seemed to work are the ones that you could invest in. So I’m kind of against the
$50,000 up front simulation that you buy from a
vender and then it’s stuck and the students all
roll their eyes at it. And as I mentioned in the
slide deck, it’s that element of educational games
where they aren’t very educational and they’re not much fun. I think that’s where we
were 10 years ago and hopefully we’re getting
beyond that and starting to dig in a little more
to the reasons why things might work and might motivate students. My chair at Penn almost
killed me and said, if you’re doing intrinsic
motivation, particularly for underrepresented minorities
in online education, we’re going to be here for six years. And she wouldn’t let
me stay for six years. So I narrowed down and
I found the cases that were of most interest to me
were people who were coming at this G thing, the gamification thing. But it was more the sort of
mindset of what that meant. It meant they were kind
of trying stuff and they were having a bit of fun and
trying to engage students and this is key, they
weren’t afraid of failing. They weren’t afraid to try stuff. And one of my theories is
that they’re all sort of this, unfortunately
the same gender, sorry. They’re also about the same age. I think one of the slides
mentions just as a note, Space Invaders came out in 1978, So is that something
that you think, oh yeah, my dad told me about
that, or is that something you think, oh yeah, I remember that. If you’re the latter, then
you’re probably like me. You’re hitting that stage
in your career where you may be able to take a
chance or two without being busted for it. And what I found with my
practitioners, I looked around at one point and
thought, oh god, they’re all middle aged white men. And I’m like, look in the mirror. (laughter) So I did that and thought, why is that? And the reason was they’d
been exposed to stuff like Space Invaders and
the first, beyond Pong, it was Pong and Breakout,
and then they hit Space Invaders and
people said, wow, this is actually sort of cool stuff. Then 20 years went by
or 30 years or whatever and they had their first
faculty position or their first administrative
position and for the first 10 years you’re probably
terrified of doing anything that’s slightly off track
in case you get busted. And then they hit the
place that some of us are at now where you’ve got
a bit of credibility, not much, and you can maybe try something. And certainly my case is
that we’re at that sort of associate professor, professor chair. They’re at a place where
they felt, I can try stuff and I’m not worried about someone coming in my classroom and
saying, what are you doing? Why are you doing this? I’ve got enough credibility
that I can try some stuff, damn it, and if it works, great. And if it doesn’t, I’ll
try something else. So I use the G thing now
as almost the mindset of let’s just throw that
out there and see the reactions on the faces and
we’ll dig in a little bit as we go through. Okay, it’s 9:15, I can start now. Sorry. It’s OCD or something. So this is building a little
bit on Daniel’s presentation yesterday, which I think
most of us sat through. So I’m going to give you some assumptions. You can see the last
one I’ve already thrown that one out there. But my theory looking
at this, I did a normal, proper education in England. You may have noticed a bit of an accent. And then I came over to
the States for a year because my wife had discovered a master’s degree she fancied doing
in a place called Vermont. And I came over, she
was pregnant, I wasn’t. We met in Japan. I go to Japan and I’m
the only guy that comes back with a French
Canadian, that’s guaranteed. So we came back and Vermont
was the Switzerland, it was the compromised solution. It wasn’t England but it wasn’t Canada. And she was going to do her master’s in intercultural management, which was cool. A small college called SIT, the School for International Training. I was going to sit on top of a hill, study and be an earth father. Didn’t really work. I stumbled into a place
called the Marlboro College Graduate Center,
which was in Downtown Brattleboro next to the museum. And this kind of slightly
quirky college president at the main campus, main
with no E on the end, at Marlboro college, which
was a small, is a small, liberal arts college in
the middle of nowhere, had decided that this internet
thing was kind of cool and he decided to set up,
in a very Vermont tech-y building in downtown
Brattleboro where he launched hybrid programs that
were about a year long, master’s degrees. The minimum credits you
could get to get one was 30 credit, fast
paced, hybrid courses met once every two weeks and then was online. And I sort of stumbled into that. I’d been teaching English in Japan and I’d been trying stuff out. My parents are all teachers,
my brother’s a teacher, but I’d never had any teaching theory. So I did what I’m doing
now, sort of spoke to a crowd of 50 vaguely engaged people. Maybe. And had no idea what I was doing. But sort of learned, oh, if
I try this and do this and prep a little bit and that sort of thing. So I kind of stumbled
into an MAT and thought, oh yeah, this is the
reason why that bit works and that bit doesn’t work. So I got this MAT
teaching with technology. The grad school was
Marlboro College Graduate Center and the college
president was Paul LeBlanc, who couldn’t make it down yesterday. So I met him, I met him
once when he came off the tennis court and
walked into our classroom and another time at
graduation where he shook my hand and I thought that was kind of it. And then I went off and got
a Dotcom thing in Boston. And got asked to teach,
to adjunct for Marlboro. They were partnering
with Cambridge College and I got a chance to
keep my foot in the game, if you like, teaching. And loosely kept in touch
with the environment there. Fast forward a little bit more. Went back and became the director of the Graduate Center at Marlboro. And Paul had just gone to
Southern New Hampshire, so we missed each other
by about three months. But I inherited my
predecessor’s inbox and she had lots of emails back and forth with Paul and I saw a lot of things
that he would try and then he’d say, oh, I know
I had that great idea, but I’ve decided to pull it back. There was a faculty
member called Mark Francim who used to play basketball with a lot. And he said, oh, when I
saw Mark missing every three point shot he tried,
I realized I was putting too much stress on the faculty. So I thought, this guy seems
funny, seems interesting and kept loosely in touch. And ultimately I went
and worked at Southern New Hampshire. I was kind of Michelle
before Michelle was Michelle. She’s the evolution of what I did there. I was there from 2008 to 2012 when I oversaw the
online and continuing ed. Then she mentioned the start up group that kicked off the innovation
college for America. I was the academic lead at that. So it was a great
experience, a great time. And that’s how I’ve had
this connection with online slash hybrid. And wedding that to some
of the studies we did at Penn around policy and access. These were the conclusions
that I came up with that, again, is driving
quite a bit of this. We want to educate a lot more people. I’m putting these up as
assumptions almost for anyone to say, oh, hang
on, I disagree with that. So we want to educate a lot more people. These people are often
coming from differing backgrounds than our traditional students. We can’t build dorms and
things like that fast enough, certainly not lazy rivers
and things like that. So online’s got to have a role somehow. I’m concerned about, and
you heard that question that came up yesterday
that was the correct one to ask of Michelle. You have models like
College for America that we all thought, this is a good
idea, this is worth a try, but it’s trying to engage
the toughest audience to engage, probably. If it were College for America
for Mitt Romney’s kids, the rich, white kids, it
would probably be fine, it would work well ’cause
they’d be socializing and then they’d come and do some study. The target demo that we
were going for there, single parents working
three jobs, 5,000 reasons not to do this and maybe one to do it, which is I want to make my
life a little bit better. So if we can accept the
conclusion that online’s got a role to play, then
the other part of my thesis would be we’ve got to
try stuff to engage and motivate this audience. Because they have so many
reasons not to persist and we’ve got to try and wrap that up and give them some encouragement
when they’re in there. Okay, so I touched on this. The whole gamification
piece, the title, anyone, Monty Python? So you’ll hear all these
terms, and I wouldn’t worry too much about them, to be honest. The whole gamification, gameful design. There’s a great presentation
that I wrote about recently by a guy called
Robert Trippinback out of England where he says
game dynamics is the term. But there’s not a quiz
and you’re not going to get dinged if you use the wrong one. The key bit that I spoke
at WCET and someone tweeted this and I
thought, I don’t think I said it that well, so I copied the tweet. It’s this part, it’s about the teaching. And what I think is that
the technology and now the thought around
pedagogies moving forward to the extend that we can accentuate the things that good teachers do. And that really is the key
element with all of this. I don’t think we want to say we can put a game in place or a robot
or whatever in place and you now do not have to teach. The teacher’s not replaced by any of this. So having said the language,
don’t worry about it. I am settling on gameful
design, so deal with that. And it grew, at least in
part, at Northeastern, I got encouraged to do a
SNHU at Northeastern, whch the whole Greek and French
thing comes to mind. It’s like speaking a different language. So it’s definitely a
different experience to try and do a SNHU at Northeastern. Things like tenure and
governance and a provost who isn’t as accommodating as the provost in Southern New Hampshire
all add to the mix. This is being recording, isn’t it? I should have thought of that. God. I’ve got my performance review on March 1. This is going to go down well. So we’ve built a model
at Northeastern that was, in many ways we were
trying to reassure and say look, we know what we’re
doing and this has validity and it’s rigorous. So there’s a guy called
Dick Clark, not the dead pop idol, the USC Rossier
School of Education. Mey Lead, you may have heard of him, or Bror Saxberg and others who’ve done a lot of work on the
cognitive science of this. So some of the bits when
I started looking at gameful design it was
familiar because of the work we’d done in cognitive science. So any of the room
who’ve looked at learning design and those kind of
areas, when you start to talk about things like
chunking content and giving immediate feedback
and not cognitively overloading, there’s a lot
of that that seemed to me to be the venn diagram
overlap with what I’m calling gameful design. Specifically gameful design
is looking at what makes games fun or engaging and
it doesn’t have to be games. It can be sports or it
can be a book or a movie or a play like the one I
went to see last night. And thinking, why am I engaged in this? Why is it holding my attention? I always think when I
give this presentation I should somehow put a game in it, because that’s what I’m talking about. And one of my colleagues
said, if you do that, I’m just walking out of the room. So I won’t be doing that. But it’s the elements that
make something engaging and can you boil them
down and can you then apply some of them to teaching? So why go that way, why
not the full on games? This is a new slide
for any of you who have seen the presentation
before, so enjoy this one. (laughter) So this theory that oh, my students. This room, you have to
have your back to someone. This theory that your
students are all playing games on their phone all the time,
it’s actually not true. I am Gen X, so millennials
are actually doing less of that than we are. So we who are starting to
get old and middle aged, we think our students
are completely focused on games and things like that. They’re not, they’re focused
on gamefully designed apps. And we all are a little bit. If you think Facebook and
anything you do, and they’ve added some new emoticons
or whatever this week, you’re actually engaging
more typically with apps that are using the
principles of gameful design than you are playing games. Which isn’t to say that
anyone who’s playing games right now is bad. That’s fine if you’re doing that. They do still do them. But millennials do this,
what do they call it, they over-index. They actually do more of
the sort of gameful appy sport, so they’ll be
on apps for everything. They’ll be checking in,
they’ll be whatever they’re doing, Facebooking slash
Foursquaring, slash whatever, whatever, whatever. But they’re not typically
gaming as much as even we were, so the
Space Invader generation who’s like, oh yeah, the
kids are totally into this. You probably don’t want
to try and do a retro version of Space Invaders to engage them. You want to dig into
gameful design and say, why are they focused on this and can I put any of
that in my instruction? So to give you some
sort of initial tenants, if you like, to take away, the lady who presented
on badges yesterday, is she still here? Okay, so I’m not going to diss badges, but (laughter) I think the key element to
consider is the difference between these two. I like that I can zoom between them. So you take a kid
shopping and he hates it. You give him a lollipop,
he’s fine for two minutes and then he’s screaming again. I’m assuming it’s a he. Versus you’re doing something
that is just exciting by virtue of doing it. I think that’s the challenge. I don’t mind badges at all. I just question exactly what
we’re achieving with them. I’ll quite happily do what
I call serendipitous awards. So the class I’m teaching
now, I’m happy to reach out and say, that was the
best post of the week. Thanks for logging in
seven days out of seven or whatever, so the
positive pats on the head, if that’s what badges
are, I think that’s fine. I also think that other
side where it’s interesting to wonder where the alternative
credentials will work. It’s the bit in the middle
that I’m not sure of where the badge from
Northeastern University saying you’re a leader,
is that a pat on the head or is that saying you don’t
need the leadership degree? Like I said, I’m not going
to focus too much on badges. But the work I’ve seen has
suggested that employers aren’t going to bother
to click through a badge to see your work, to see
that you can do leadership. I think in certain areas,
the Googles, et cetera, where it’s coding skill,
it’s obviously valid. But I think what we’re
trying to do with the work that I’m leading out in
Northeastern in particular is, how can we make the
experience actually fun. not have the experience be deadly, but you get a badge at the end. So again, I think there’s
a role and if the presenter was still here I would still say this. So I think it’s a good discussion to have. So what you’re really
trying to get to, I think, is this place where,
wow, the play I saw last night, Huey recommended, by
the way, Forrest Whitaker, he was in it, he wasn’t with me. If you go and do
something or see something or you’re engaged in
something and you think, wow, it’s already 11
o’clock, that was fun. Then that’s this condition
that this guy in particular wrote a lot about, flow. Anyone want to have a stab
at pronunciation of his name? No? Csikszentmihalyi is the
best that I’ve got at it. So he talks about this. And J. Mcgonigal’s kind
of, she’s cuter, she’s younger than him, so
she gets more publicity. But she’s sort of taken
this, and if you’ve read her recent work, SuperBetter,
or the one before, what was her book called, the first one? Reality is Broken, that’s right. And she presented at South
by Southwest next week if anyone really wants to go. She’s just running with this
and that’s not to diss her. She’s based her work on
lots of different theorists but it’s the concept that
something that’s either painful or miserable or mundane
can be made interesting if you start to throw
things like rules in there. So I’m going to mow the
lawn, but can I do it faster than I’ve ever done it
before without going over the edges and killing the flowers? There are rules and there
are restrictions that you’ve put in place. So I think that’s what I
want to explore when we’re looking at education. Look at things that make,
so I mentioned a couple there, rules and
restrictions and challenge. Three elements there. As we go through and I show some examples, maybe keep some mental notes as to other elements that you think,
that’s clearly an important part of a game or an activity
that is going to maybe engender flow, which means I’m going to engage with it for longer. And that is the best proxy
we’ve got in most cases. I know data analytics is
going to change the world. I’m not sure that I can
say that to my faculty with a straight face. But as we dig in, we
may see other behavioral elements that we say,
that’s the key thing. Do more of that and you definitely learn. For now we’ve got honestly
logins and engagement. And engagement and time on
task correlates to outcomes. My chair was the stats
instructor at Penn, so she would shudder when I
use words like correlate because she would really
focus in and does it correlate or does it just,
you know, is it causation or correlation, all that sort of stuff. But that’s what we’ve got at the minute. So to my mind, the more
engagement you can get, the better shot you’ve
got at good outcomes. And to sort of take this and
put it through an example, I’m not really a golfer,
but my brother is, some of my family are. Half of them are Scottish,
so that explains that. But they would say, I
go out and play golf and wow, five hours went by
and I got soaking wet and miserable, but you know what? It was great fun, really. So I gave you a couple there
for the mowing the lawn, just to give you a few visual examples. Playing golf, you’ve got
clear goals, there are clear rules, you have
to play from the tees, men’s tees, ladies’ tees,
all that sort of stuff. You have to wear shorts. That’s not one of the rules. You get pretty immediate feedback. The ball goes in the hole or it doesn’t, or in my case the water or not. And there’s definitely
a level of challenge. For me it’s staying in single
digits when I play a hole. Maybe breaking 100 if
I play nine holes, 18. And there’s a sense of achievement. It’s not easy and when you do
it, you feel great about it. So I’m going to skip
into the case studies. These are the four that made the cut. I had a couple of others. I talked to SNHU and their
College for America process and the lead of that project
is looking at gamification to see if they can
increase the engagement. But they weren’t quite there yet. So University of New
Hampshire was my first one. Great guy. Did I leave my coffee? Thank you. Great guy called Neil Nimon. He’s written a book that
came out fairly recently that’s maybe worth looking up. And you’re going to get this slide deck, so you could always
Google him and find him. Microeconomics instructor,
arguably not the funnest subject in the history of the world. And also he’s the entry
level microeconomics, so he has a lot of
students who have to do it almost as a gen ed requirement who really don’t like it, who feel
math challenged, who feel I can’t do this. So he’s got that classic
audience of what I would say is weak mindset or poor mindset. They think they’re bad it,
they are pretty confidant they’re going to hate
it, and they just need to get it done but time is going to drag. He’s not a fan of the extrinsic pieces. So he was very much anti
leaderboard, anti badges, that kind of thing. He’s all about stories. And he is a Facebooker. His wife does something. It’s like needlework or
crocheting or something. I don’t know, she’s in a
clubby sort of thing with lots of social interaction and feedback. But his belief is that
stories, that’s how we exist, that’s how we’ve educated for
years and years and years. And his first venture was funny. He’s probably, I’m going
to say he’s a few years older than me, but I
think everyone is, because I still think I’m 27. But he’s a heavier guy, slightly balding. And to demonstrate a
principle that I won’t even venture at guessing, he
got on the tennis court with his TA to show
palaboras, loops, somehow connected to microeconomics. And he stopped at some point. He’s like, here I am, 47,
fat, balding white guy trying to play tennis to show. And he realized it wasn’t strong. And he’d played with the
idea of putting stories in. And you’ll see one of the cases later. There is a narrative, it’s
a quest, it’s an adventure that I or he, the faculty
member, sort of envisaged. Neil’s idea, I think, was brilliant. What he said was, why
should I dictate the story? He said I have sweaters older
than some of my students. So his frame of reference
of saying, hey, let’s do a Star Trek adventure or mine would be a Doctor Who from the original Doctor Who. And even his TA, who
was 27, said, I’m 27 and my examples are dated. If you’re hitting the
vampires when people have moved on to the zombies,
you’re just so square. So he split his class and
it was really interesting. He had a team of students developing it. He’s UNH, so they’re blackboard based. But they got out into
bloggy world, very low tech. The class was split, he
would teach some core principles, you have
to learn this, you have to learn this, sort of
diminishing returns and these microeconomics concepts. And then the students would
create their own story. And that was a fundamental
part of the class, that everyone had to
create a narrative that used these terms. So there was a Matt
Damon movie about leaving earth to search for
water around that time. So scarcity was a key part of that. And one of the students wrote a Matt Damon movie script that featured
these microeconomics terms. The other student that he shared time with talked about her grandfather
coming from Russia and becoming a citizen. And he and his family had
left Russia because of the scarcity there, et cetera, et cetera. So you’ve got Matt Damon
and sci-fi and then you’ve got my actual
grandfather from Russia. Do you care how the students remember all of the terminology,
because they both did. And he ended up in his class,
20 students or whatever it was, it was the key part
they had to share the stories. So you may think, how would you do that? Maybe do a Doctor Who. But I guarantee if you
think about this afterwards you’ll probably think
that Russian grandfather coming to the US. I mean, if that’s your
family story, you’re going to remember that. So the pneumonic tools that they used were personalized to them. So personalizing may be an aspect. And illustrated the concepts and made them valid for them, the students. He had rules in the class. You had a time limit to develop this, you had to share your story, you had to read other people’s stories. He didn’t have a leaderboard, but they did vote up and down or like
the different stories, so there was an element of collaboration and competition. And he had good results. He had a better completion
rate than he’d seen in his class the 20 times
he’d taught it previously. And he had a significant
number of students who decided they were going
to focus in on economics and continue it. He had students who
were gen ed approaching who were undeclared who declared that they were interested in
exploring microeconomics and economics further
in their major at UNH. So a storyline to illustrate key points. I thought that was an interesting one. I went up to gamification 2013. 2013 was a conference up in Waterloo, which is Ontario, Canada. And I went up because
I was needing another case study and didn’t really
find one in the presenters and was about to think,
oh, this damn country. My wife’s Canadian. And sat down next to this guy Greg Andres, who’s a great guy. Also, again, sorry,
balding, white, middle aged. But in a triathlete, so
he’s healthy at least. (laughter) And what was interesting with Waterloo was actually no one had told me. Northeastern, we’re a bit siloed. So I’m going up here, great. Turns out subsequently
Northeastern had really been formally in contact with
Waterloo because Waterloo have a co-op program
and they seem to do it really well, Northeastern has a co-op that we’ve had for centuries that is sort of an appendage we’re trying
to make more use of it and make it more valid. But Waterloo, the students
go out on a co-op. While they’re out they
do some online courses. They really struggle to
engage the students in those online courses because
the students are out in the real world. And that lack of overlap
between real world focus, get the job done, and
oh, academic crap, stuff I have to do online. They were seeing a real disconnect. So Greg took this course,
which was business ethics and gamified parts of it. Now, his was Moodle
based, I’m pretty sure. Moodle or Canvas. I”m going to go with Canvas, actually. His was Canvas based. And he had a tech support
guy, so he was the only one who had any tech
support for any of this. Neil, who I just mentioned,
had TAs and grad assistants who played with blogs, but
basically no tech assistant no budget. This guy reckoned his
tech guy put in what they added up to about $10,000
worth of coding time and effort, so there’s
a price to this one. But what they built out
were little scenarios where they were presented
with an ethical dilemma that was connected to a
work environment and the students had to respond
to the dilemma with what they would do. It was scored, but it was
really the answers weren’t you’re right, you’re wrong. It was, well, that’s
interesting that you think that, let’s talk about it. So he’s really trying
to broker discussion. He had leaderboards,
which you can see there. Those of you who are
going to ask the further question, advisable to
anonymize the leaderboard except for your score, so
you can see that you’re third in the lead but you
can’t see that Mel’s above you or below you and that sort of thing. So you saw where you
were in the leaderboard. He got that boy thing
where the boys rushed ahead and did all the games so they could be top of the leaderboard. So the leaderboard maybe
didn’t help him that much. He felt that discussions
were a little richer. I’ll give you an example
of one, I’m not sure if it’s the one that’s on the screen. He gave the ethical dilemma
where you’re going for a job interview and the
potential employer says, I want to look at your
Facebook profile ’cause I want to know what sort of person you are. Do you give the employer access
to your Facebook profile? In the scenario that he’d
drawn out, let’s say I was going for the job
interview but I knew that Ian was also going for
the job interview and we’re kind of friends,
I’m not that keen on him. I have a clean Facebook
profile and I’d be fine with an employer seeing it. I know that he parties,
sorry, and drinks heavily and there’s pictures of topless. So I know Ian and I know
what this employer’s asking is a bit dubious, really. I shouldn’t have to give him my Facebook. But I know if I give him my access and say yeah, yeah, definitely,
he’s kind of knackered. ‘Cause he either says to
the employer, you can’t see mine, which is good
’cause I look like the cooperative one, or he says, okay, you can and then they’re going
to see him in New Orleans and all these other places that he’s been. So that was the ethical dilemma. That’s an example. So you can see, the
Canvas pop uppy thing was just a presentation of a scenario. They clicked through it,
they got to pick an option, and then they had to discuss
it and write about it. And their performance pushed
them up a leaderboard. So it was very simplistic. It was the most techy in terms of build, but not something that
you couldn’t replicate with discussion boards and quizzes and even a rudimentary leaderboard. I sent my class last night
how to make a leaderboard on Google Docs, which I Googled and found. So there’s definitely
ways that you can do this at zero to low cost, I would say. Greg got good engagement,
he got good feedback from the students, sort
of quantitative data from him, particularly. But what I found with this
one, I’ve been talking about this before in the
workshop that I was doing, we talk about let’s
reduce fear of failure. And yet you’re all frightened to try this. What these guys all got,
even the very low tech, I interviewed a lot of students
who took these courses, the students were hugely
appreciative of anything these faculty did, just to try stuff out. They got next to no
negative feedback about the technology or it being clunky. They were just so
appreciative that someone tried something. And in every case, some
elements clearly worked. So the feedback was, oh, it
was great that he tried it, we really appreciated it. And you know, this bit seemed better. So I mentioned being
40 something and maybe not being on the first
rung of the career ladder encourages you to take risks. But what I’ve seen from
this is that anything that you try will be generally
well received and if it’s very low tech and you get
great feedback, great, then go and talk someone
into spending some money. So I think the trying is as
appreciated as the actual outcomes in many places. Just going to have a sip. So this was a MOOC, which was fun, because I hadn’t anticipated doing any. Kevin Yee’s an instructor,
very interesting guy. PhD in German and worked at Disney, which seems like a slightly
ambiguous set of circumstances. I’m just picturing Donald
Duck barking in German at someone, quacking in German. So anyway, interesting background. He’d also worked in game design. He’d been a gamer, he was
very interested in that, then he moved on, got a
proper job, got a life, as we all do. And he was on the faculty
University of South Florida. But he also had that, what
was interesting, two or three of my cases were
the faculty person who got pulled into helping
with the technology. So he had been asked to
play with Canvas to be the early adopter who
would then help faculty subsequently learn the
tools and get on board. He’d seen this MOOC
thing come along and he was anticipating 50 faculty
over the next few years saying, I want to do a MOOC. So he decided to play
with Canvas to see if he could support his own MOOC. He chose fairy tales, which
was an interesting selection. And built this all out. So he did have some badges. So an extra challenge
with a MOOC that haven’t been in the other classes
so far and that’s the 1,400 people who signed up for it. And that’s small for a MOOC. So he thought ahead
about that and thought, I can’t be grading thousands
or hundreds of papers, that sort of thing. So I’m going to say three
aspects of his thing were interesting. He had badges, that was okay. What was interesting was
the way he applied that. And he used what he loosely
called the Harry Potter protocol, which more
correctly, I looked it up, is the dependent hero contingency. So it’s not Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. So that means that basically
you’re dividing a big number of students into student groups, which has a double effect. A, you don’t have to
grade everyone’s work, and B, everyone feels a
little bit of pressure slash competition not
to let the team down. So when Hermione loses
points for Gryffindor, she’s devastated, it’s horrible. And then when she gains
them back it’s great because she’s given back to the group. So this dependent hero contingency is an interesting element that he threw in. And he’s a great guy, actually. I just bumped into him last
week for the first time having worked with him
for a couple of years. He built in this dependent
hero contingency, aware of the fact that
he was not going to be able to keep up with
the class and he still couldn’t keep up with the class. So his badging kind of fell away. So he had a couple of really
good concepts in there that were worth exploring. The third thing that
really was his main thing was that he buried easter
eggs through the course. So looking for facial recognition there. So anyone who’s played
games or, I mean, they’re in lots of things, videos, DVDs, whatever. Sometimes developers will
bury little tiny hidden bonuses, like you’ve found an easter egg. He buried things in the
text of his text heavy pages and throughout the course. I would say he’s in the
slightly above, well no, quite a bit above your
average faculty member’s technical expertise, but
he’s not a programmer. So he would do things
like in the Canvas system put in some pages and maybe on a period or a full stop would put a link. So if you think of the
size of that on a small text page, it’s pretty hard to see. He would put white text
on a white background. I like that one. He would put hints in
the alt tags of an image. And by going through
these, the students could click on something and they would get some sort of reward. I ripped this off. This is what you should
do, just rip things off. So in my class that I’m
actually currently still doing, it’s a workshop for OLC
around how to gamify or gamefully design a course. I inherited a lot of
text and I thought, oh, that’s deadly to get through. So I did similarly in
their system put links. And I didn’t know what the hell to link to ’cause it’s an artificial
construct and they’re playing a game so I can talk about games. So I did some Weebly
pages and basically just put encouragement and then a number. So hey, the first clue is seven, great. When they clicked through
and got all of the clues, and each clue had
sort of a hint to the next one. So when they clicked
through and got all of the clues, they had a
final number which was the answer. And the answer was 42. Okay, can you explain why
42 is vaguely amusing? Again, certain age, white guy, I tell you. He’s my people. There was a movie, film, in England. Well no, the book was,
hang on, correct me. I don’t want to talk about it. Douglas Adams, was he English or American? He’s English, I thought so. Most of the actors have English accents, so I was assuming. Anyway, a film called
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, very whimsical,
quirky, strange, weird. And in one of the scenes,
they develop the smartest, correct me if I’m wrong,
the smartest computer in the history of time and everything. And they go up to it and
say, right, tell us what’s the answer to everything? Life, the universe, and
everything, thank you. And it says, oh, you
need to leave me to think about that for 10,000 years. And they come back and they say, okay, now tell us what’s the answer? And he goes, 42. And they’re like, what do you mean? Well, if you don’t
understand the question, you’re not going to understand the answer. So anyway, my clues which
if they got it added up to 42 and the last
page says, you’ve got the answer now, you have to tell me why that’s the answer and
you have to email me it. So the first woman emails
me and said, oh yeah, the answer’s 42 and it’s
the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I’m like,
wow, you were quick. She said, yeah, your
Weebly pages, your first one was called clue one html. The second one was called clue two html. I’m like, you fucking idiot. So she completely gamed
the system, which is obviously a concern. I quickly went in and
changed from clue three, I changed to artichoke.html
then apple then cube then whatever. And I didn’t give her the prize. So I got a Hitchhiker’s
Guide to the Galaxy t-shirt. She got a runner up prize. Someone else cheated by
looking at the source code and looking for links in the source code. People cheat. Well, she didn’t find
the clues, so you know. But again, it worked
’cause it was an exercise that showed damn, people cheat. It also showed that people
engage with the content. Now, I have three kids, two of them girls. So I do fairy tales, but
it’s not really my thing. I read these pages a hell of a lot. I can tell you quite a lot
about, for example, the Cinderella story, the
original origin where the ugly sisters or whatever
chop their toes off. It’s this blood and
guts and loose toes and they’re really nasty, the
original Grimm versions of the fairy tales, Grimm with two M’s. Before Walt Disney with one S. Before he got hold of
them and made them all princesses in flouncy dresses. They were pretty nasty. So I could tell you a
lot about the content. Yee was probably the
geekiest in terms of looking at his stats and his data. And he would be able to
tell you how long people spent on each page of each content. He said one woman
accessed and read the page 27 times, there wasn’t an
easter egg on that page. He was tough. I would say after a while,
look, there’s not an easter egg here. But even just that. So think about what he’s doing there. So these badges, the
rewards, the incentives, that didn’t work. His leaderboard, maybe the competition. But the search. Here’s one, appropriate
level of challenge. If you make those easter
eggs impossible to find or for some people they
feel they’re impossible to find, they’re done in 10 minutes. I can’t do this. And I had that in my
class of educators who were exploring gamification
or gameful design. I get the email, oh I’m
remedial, can you give me more information about this? I’m like, well, you’re not
and you’ve got to find stuff. I would say, I had 30 or
so in the class altogether, I probably only had about
10 who sent me an answer and about seven who got it right and about five who didn’t cheat. So maybe not the biggest
success in the history of online education, but Yee certainly showed a lot of engagement with the content. MOOCs around that time and
even probably currently, retention, persistence,
completion rate around 4%, 5% typically. He was up like 8% to 10% completion. Which again, not changing the world, but 1,400 starting, 140 finishing. His completion rate was
about double what was typical at the time for MOOCs. So something he did kind of worked. As I said, the dependent hero contingency I think’s interesting. What you do with badges is
obviously worth exploring. But it was specifically his
hidden challenges within the text that made students
engage with the text and hopefully not just look for the eggs, but also read the text. I would say that was the case in my case. Because he was very clever
with the way he hid them and you had to read through carefully. Just one more. So this is the last one. So think back to Neil Nimon where he said, make your own story and it can be your grandfather coming from Russia or Matt Damon coming from Hollywood or whatever. Petruzella was more, he
was the biggest gamer of the group. Great guy as well, very energetic, fun. He teaches a philosophy class at the Mass College of Liberal Arts,
which is a North Hampton, Massachusetts, I think it is. And he created this course that he called Dungeons and Discourse. Again, Dungeons and Dragons,
all that sort of stuff. But his as well, like Nimon’s,
was a gen ed philosophy course that a lot of people had to do. His catch area, his
target demo, he has a lot of low SES first generation
minority students. Fragile learners, if you
want to call them that, new majority students some are calling. His course was a hybrid
that met once every two weeks and in between he took them out, I’m pretty sure his was
Moodle, and he built out a land through which they had to travel and find scrolls. So he went completely
OER, open ed resources. Didn’t assign a textbook. And put content in places
through this imaginary land where the students were wandering. So the students picked up
these scrolls, got information. I don’t remember all of
the realms, but there were in the realm of logos
where logical thinking was espoused and all that sort of thing. And they would pick up clues and hints. Parallel to that, he built
them all a personalized page in Moodle. So you had your own page
and the students were given license to choose
their own image or avatar and personalize the page to an extent. One of the students said,
yeah, that was my goal, I wanted to be the most tricked
out wizard and so forth. So they got to personalize their page. And they were given an amount of gold. Again, very low tech,
so sort of a gif image of a gold coin and you start with 50. Your gold decayed at the
rate of two or three a day ’cause you had to live and you had to eat and that sort of thing. When it got together in
the hybrid face to face section of the hybrid
course, they had what he called a marketplace
where he rewarded students for good questions with gold. Great question, five gold coins. Great question, 10 gold coins. And they’d build it back up. He struggled to keep up
with the gold updates and the students said
that that aside, they thought this was great. He had two or three run throughs. He as well was one of
the ones who said that his declaring a philosophy as a major went from four students to seven students. So again, those numbers are
not significant significant, but he saw that repeated
in the two or three times during the study when he taught the class. The student feedback was effusive. They loved this, they
thought it was great. By the time he got through
the first class and got to the second, at
the end of major modules or maybe it was midterm, and at the end he set up what he called a boss battle. Again, looking for the
gamers in the audience. When you get through a
game, often at the end of the stage or something
like that, you have a big fight against a big monster, the boss. And it’s tough. By that stage the hope is
that you’ve invested enough time and energy that
you’re going to persevere to beat the damn thing. Because if you have a
boss battle at the start, you wouldn’t have the
skills, you wouldn’t have the expertise and you
wouldn’t have the commitment thinking I’m going to beat this. So he had the boss battle
at the end where someone would come and argue
rhetorically against the class. And that person was arguing
fallacies or whatever. So I’m not going to go to
politics, but imagine someone standing up and making
statements, this is true and this is true and the
students had to debunk his arguments is what they put. And once he got through
the class the first time, he started to invite alumni
of the previous class to come back and be the boss. And he was astounded at how much they’d retained from the class. So someone who’d taken
the class two or three sections ago came back
and said, okay, now I’m going to tell you how
you’re all wrong and that’s wrong and you don’t
understand that and the principle of this is this. And the students had to go,
well no, because according to Socrates, blah blah
blah, again not a philosphy major, so excuse me. But he had them argue back
and forth and they had to try and defeat the
boss at the end of this. And he said, oh it was great. Costumes were worn. So people got really into it. The face to face part was interesting. He said it had a couple
of other effects that were really interesting. The students all said that
it was really fun to be in a class where more people participated. Because you were getting
gold for your questions. So 20 people would shout out
rather than two or three. Petruzella noted, he’s a
very thoughtful guy actually, he noted that it
democratized the class from a gender, from a minority, from
his teaching perspective. And I’m doing it. I don’t know why I’ve
focused on Ian and the guy who knew Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. There are people whose
eyes I have not made contact, and it’s not ’cause
I’ve got a thing about bearded white guys. (laughter) Maybe I do. I don’t know. People talk about your
teaching style and how you teach to your own teaching style. So when I teach, I taught
web design a couple of other courses, project management, I would screenshot
Dreamweaver and I’d be like, okay, you click this
button ’cause that’s the button I click. And then I started to
get students say, I use the drop down, is that all right? No, don’t use the drop down. I’d tell them to do what had worked for me and then having done 500 screenshots and developed webpages and had a student say, I found a YouTube video,
I realized I was done. So my first assignment in that class was, find something that
teaches you this course that you need to know. So they would come up with YouTube videos, audios, whatever, whatever. So point being, there’s a
subconscious if nothing else, a tendency, I guess,
that we have to focus on certain students. You don’t intend it. When you make it a game
and everyone has to participate by definition,
you are democratizing that participation. And he felt that was a
really key element of his course and from the
experience, to the extent that he was called before the
faculty, writ large the senate or the curriculum
committee, or both of them, to really talk about what he’d done and how this could work. So it’s interesting, again,
I mentioned they’re all different, he prescribed a narrative. Maybe at first, again
probably a 50, 50 in the room, Dungeon Discourse, yeah
that sounds great, oh God. So you’re going to get that. But the fact that he
got them to buy into the narrative did have a very positive effect. He had more students focus on philosphy. And his takeaway from this,
which I think is probably the key point that I’d like
to push on, is that students who come in who have
the negative mindset who have the fear of studying,
if they’re first generation most of us can say, oh
yeah, I’m going to that college ’cause my dad went
to that college or I’m going to be a lawyer
’cause my mom’s a lawyer. A lot o the generation that
we’re talking about now that I think Daniel was
looking at, they don’t have those intrinsic motivators,
they don’t have those reasons to persist. So anything you can build in. He felt that the students
that were philosophy-phobic or maybe in Nimon’s case
were economics-phobic if you can get them playing
a game and they think they’re maybe failing the game rather than failing the discipline,
they’ll persist hopefully to the point where they get
enough subject matter expertise that it becomes engaging and intrinsically motivating of its own. So the students who
talked about the philosphy class, that language is great. Because they had the young,
hip, cool kid language but they were using philosophy terms. They were very intrigued. And they’ve got enough
into the discipline to say philosophy is interesting by itself. So his theory that he
was going to push on was, let’s try and use this in
intro courses, in courses with first generation
students, maybe low SES, fragile learners because we’re
used to failing at games. This is a quote, I’m not
just using bad language. You fail at a game, you
die, you get shot, you get pissed, you get up,
and you do it again. You fail at philosophy
or maths or economics and you are crap, that’s
not a quote, you’re crap at economics, you’re crap at maths, you’re crap at philosophy, you
can never do it, I don’t know why I started to try this. So the failure thing is
completely morphed there for whatever reason. But if you can, as he did,
get the students failing at a game rather than
failing at a discipline, then they might be able
to engage enough with the discipline that by the time
they realize they’re studying a discipline, they actually
find it quite interesting. Okay, so the mental notes
that you’re all taking. So these are some of
the commonalities that seem to be really playing a role here. Couple we haven’t talked
about or not much. The aesthetics, the fear of
failure was definitely in there, rewards, level of challenge. These were the bits that
I looked across the cases and discussed with the
practitioners and we started to take away that these are
the bits that seem to be influential. These next three are a
little more detailed and then I promise I’ll get to wrap up. So what might be going on
here is this is sort of building on the cognitive science bit. It’s really hard to learn new stuff. And you have a very limited
window where you can do that before you start
to get completely fatigued. And it’s analogous, this
wasn’t my idea, someone mentioned this, to cycling uphill. If you’re in a class and
you’re learning new stuff, it feels like cycling uphill. I’m not going to read the slides. If you’re doing something
that you’re comfortable with or you’ve done 1,000
times that you feel really good about, it’s like cycling downhill. So how do you make everyone hate learning? Only new knowledge,
information, heavy classes without practice. And think about that, that’s
not what happens in games. If you were to pick a game. So Angry Birds, my first
Angry Birds reference. When you start, you have one bird that you catapult across and it hits things. When you get through
the first five levels, they give you a different
type of bird that does something different. It took me a while to work that out. There’s a little one
that splits into three. And then once you do another five screens, they give you another bird that blows up when it hits stuff. So in the course of getting
through the first 10 screens, you’re quite often throwing
a bird that you really know what it’s going to do. And then once in a while
you’ll get a new one that you’re not quite sure. So you’re doing stuff
you’re comfortable with and then you’re given
something new that you don’t really know what’s happening. So this is what I think
we’re trying to do with gamefully designed courses. You’re trying to encourage
skills that people, you’re encouraging
strengths that people have. You’re giving them things
that are somewhat familiar and then you’re
interspersing that in a game with new knowledge. So all of those examples,
that clearly was what was going on, and at least part of it. The students were telling
the narrative and very comfortable talking
about my grandfather who came from Russia because
we talk about that in family history time, have done for the last 10, 20 years. So that’s like my comfort food. That’s the bit that I’m
really happy with, that I’m an expert in, that it
feels really close to me. And then I’m tying it into cycling uphill. I’m tying it into scarcity
and return on investment, another microeconomics stuff
that’s kinda new for me. But this is comfortable. So I’ll keep talking about my grandfather. And then this happened and then. So I think that’s what I
take away as one of the key elements for this, that you’re mixing, what games do is they mix
skills that you pick up with new skills and they
encourage you to play with both of them so you eventually become familiar with them all. At the end of this journey
there’s the boss fight where you put it all together. That could be a capstone or a thesis or a final class project. So when I do this
presentation, I have to talk to a lot of faculty. And this is genuine, it’s
not just to placate them. I realize that when you
break down those elements and start to think about
what good teachers do, they do a lot of this anyway. So this is over two slides. So as I say, you’ll get these afterwards. But the bits that are in bold are the bits that I’d say I’d certainly
make the case good teachers do or completely
intend to do unless they’re a bit strange. So providing feedback. I’ll stay on that one for now. So rules exist. You’ve got a deadline
for a paper, you can’t plagiarize, you can’t
copy, whatever, whatever. Feedback, most instructors
I think would agree that it’s a good idea
to let someone know if they’re completely messing up or give them positive feedback if they are doing well. I don’t see level of
challenge on here, which confuses me, but appropriate
level of challenge is another one I’d say
is certainly a thing that good teachers do. Most teachers don’t like
to completely confuse the heck out of everyone
in the class, nor should they try and say, okay,
today we’re going to do basic addition. You don’t want to come under, you don’t want to come over. So a good teacher will reassure a student, try and reduce fear of failure. Go on, Alex, just try
it, you can do maths. You’re not stupid. And the students have clear expectations. So these are now the same
slides again with the red bits the things that
I think technology and gameful design can help with. So if we agree that
feedback is a good thing, then in a face to face
class you’ve got a couple of windows for that, maybe a week. In a typical online class,
I don’t know about you, but I find it really hard
to get my PhD tenured research faculty to be 24/7 in online. Just don’t do it. And again, to the feedback
yesterday, the lack of immediacy of feedback
is a concern for people who are fragile who think they
are terrible at everything. So I would certainly argue
that with rudimentary technology you could
build in means to give immediate continual
feedback, even if it’s only formative, even if it’s
only a multiple guess and you’re on the right track, keep going or you haven’t quite got this, go
and try this extra resource. That’s what the adaptive
learning tools are doing. And we’re working with one
of the providers right now and I actually see quite
a lot of overlap there. So I think a good adaptive
learning system that’s implemented can do a lot of this as well. But even if you don’t have
that budget and you’ve not gone that route
then you’ve got quizzes in Blackboard, you’ve
got rudimentary ways that you can give automated feedback. Some of the other pieces
that technology can help with, what I think is
good about the time now is that you can set up
a blog in five minutes. You can do some rudimentary
social media type interaction immediately. You can use tools that
students are already using. So you can certainly develop
some of these things, a sense of progression,
journey through the materials, student having control. Some of those other bits,
aesthetics I think is actually underemphasized. That’s hugely relevant just
the feeling that someone has when they hit the course. And this notion of effortless involvement. Those two pieces come together for me in like the iPod when it first came out. And if you’ve seen any of
the 300 Steve Jobs movies, his focus on it has to be
beautiful, it has to be simple and my mum, bless her, is
just getting online and getting sorted and that sort of thing. She wants the manual. I’m like, you don’t get manuals now. You just kind of play with
it and twiddle a button and push something and you learn. So that’s the effortless involvement. If you’re LMS or your system or your class or your online materials
take a PhD to work out then you’re not going to be giving out any PhDs any time soon. This is just a graphic
that pulls those previous things together. So I think there’s a big
group here, and again, I think this is key. You are not replacing an
instructor with a game. You’re looking at what
good slash great teachers do already and agree of
valuable parts and saying, with gameful design we
can really accentuate some of these. If we all agree this is a
good thing, let me help you make more of it. There’s a gray area and
I know in this one the text is too small, so Alex
will PDF and send around. Yeah, we played with this because we were chasing grants and things. So not proud of this slide at all. Student intrinsic motivators
for persistence in online learning. I do like the phrase
Copernican revolution. And this one’s had some debate, but again, going back to my Doctor
Who days, which were not that long ago, it was
Saturday night, 6 o’clock. We had to be there because the TV told us we had to be there and
we all watched it and then we talked about
it at school on Monday. So it was almost like were
circling around the TV. If you look at Netflix now,
I think it was my buddy Robert I was talking to
the other day, and he was saying how he only
binge watches stuff now. Because we don’t want to watch one TV show then get in a different mindset and watch a different one. We want to do 10 shows. I took a big international
flight and watched the whole final series of Mad
Men one after the other. It revolves around me now. If I want to watch a certain
show at a certain time or five certain shows, it’s me. I like that phrase a
Copernican revolution. It’s saying the student,
to an extent, wants to feel that they’re in control
and that they’re in the center of this, so the
more tailored an experience you can give them where they have control, they may be making the
narrative or they may be taking on a role and
personalizing and making an avatar, but they feel
that sense of control. And I think that is an
important part of where we’re at with the technology. We can start to do that now as well. I mentioned the project we’re on now. We did get First in the
World, FITW, funding. And our target is to complete STEM degree completion for transfer students only within a dedicated sub
brand of Northeastern University called the Lowell Institute. The Lowell Institute’s been
going for about 150 years. It was whatever the
equivalent of PowerPoint was 150 years ago. Northeastern was trying to
educate the masses of Boston with basic science and
technology training. The descendant of that
original founder is on the Northeastern board now. So with him and with the
First in the World funding we’re trying to ramp up
this institution that will increase underrepresented
minority completion of STEM degrees. And it tied nicely with
the stuff I’d been doing in my research throwing
across the gameful design and saying this is
definitely worth exploring. So we have a BS in IT degree
that we’re playing with in a traditional online and
then a gameful design online. And we’re hoping to get
the numbers and the effect to see that there’s a
hopefully significant uptick in, first of all,
engagement, which we think will lead to persistence. So that’s where we’re going with that. I’m happy to bore people
with that more later. And we boiled this down. So all those elements that I
talked about, the intrinsic motivators that when
combined may engender flow, we put into a matrix. Again, text too small for you to read. But I would make the case and say a good syllabus and a decent
LMS rules, yeah sure, effortless involvement, pretty much. Sense of progression,
could be, sort of, yeah. And then our theory is
that we can push those things further out by implementing gameful design principles, so
you’re going from that which let’s say that retains at
X, this hopefully retains at X plus something that’s significant. So I think to wrap up, it
is a challenge and it’s this question of are we
gamifying, are we producing educational games, is it serious gaming? Is it gameful design? I think this is the
really hard thing to do. I think to try and think
that you’re going to rival the World of Warcrafts
or the pick your game. The budget for that was
something like $75 million all told, so if you’ve
got that funding, super. Congratulations. Where I’ve seen games
implemented, some have been pretty decent. Before I got to Northeastern
they worked with one of those vendors who
developed the courses, put them online, and then
take 80% of the revenue. Good business model. And to give them credit,
they build our courses pretty well, some of them had simulations. The school of business
loves to show you the Somalian pirate kidnapping
negotiation scenario. But they can’t tweak it. They built the simulation
and it’s pretty good and the first time you see it, yeah, okay. The 10th time you want to poke
your eyes out with a fork. But it’s engaging, but they
can’t edit it, they can’t change it, it’s now very dated. Are there still Somalian pirates? You’re going to be locked
into some cultural references that are dubious. If you are gamefully
designing and course and just accentuating certain elements
and seeing the effect, you can go back and do
more of that or move to the next one and say,
right, let’s really work on the aesthetics. My understanding, having looked and worked with those cases, is pick them. If you’ve got 10 criteria
that you think, yeah, looks like these will
have an effect, then find a faculty member who is interested in this and say, okay, let’s look at
immediate corrective feedback. How can we ramp that up in your course? And even if you only do one thing. So I hope people aren’t disappointed, but I try and get people away. I personally try and
get people away from the let’s build a game that
teaches everything and does everything, because
this is what you’re competing with, you’re
competing with games and budgets and hoops and
psychologies that are so expert that you’re going to
struggle to either educate or have fun or probably more
likely struggle with both. So I’ve thrown in the references
that I’ve used in this and my contact details are in there. We’re not bad on time. I haven’t left a great deal of time. I’m certainly around, but
I’d love any questions, thoughts, or reactions. And as I say, the feedback
I’ve got, the students said yeah, it would have
been great if it was automated, if it was more
3Dish and that sort of thing. But to a person they said
it was great, it was fun, we really appreciate
Gerol or Neil trying this and I got quite a kick out of
it, I was really surprised. So sketch stuff out, use
cheapy versions to see if they work. You don’t have to go fully
in and commit tens of thousands of dollars. I think there are certainly
things in there that you could work on tomorrow. And so you know what,
I’m just going to work on the aesthetics, I’m going to get nicer graphics for my course. It probably won’t make you
the savior of higher ed, but it may just retain that
one student who is just feeling like they’re done and don’t have the confidence to keep going. Thank you for your time. Throw me questions, thanks. (applause) Yes sir? – So my question is, I think gamification has a marketing problem
when you’re talking to faculty in higher ed,
you say, hey, why don’t you gamify your course or
make it more like a game. And it’s like crickets. But if someone’s like,
everyone wants more student engagement and if you give them an example that’s gamified but you
don’t use that word game, they buy in. Do you see this as a problem with faculty? – I do, it’s like you said. It’s definitely half the room
wants to run screaming and the other half are interested. I’ve started to talk about,
I mean, we talk about gameful design it’s still the G word. So I think people get that intrinsically motivating students. That one slide with the
lollipop versus the whee, we can all kind of see that. That’s a really simple metaphor. A pat on the head and an encouragement 48 hours after you made
a discussion board post, I don’t really feel it. But if just by doing
it you can make mowing the lawn interesting. So I think to push the
development of this, I would certainly with
faculty talk about intrinsic motivators and engagement. I wouldn’t and don’t touch
the gamification word too much except that Penn
faculty made me do it. And actually this shameless
self promotion, if I ever get it done, I did a post
session on my dissertation and got asked if I would
produce a book that they want to title Gamification. I’m like, ugh, can we change it? So I don’t know. I’ve had Online 3.0 as a title and I think that sucks as well. But I think student engagement,
intrinsic motivators. And this is genuine. I mean, I hope you get a chance
to see Paul LeBlanc speak. Michelle’s great, Paul
LeBlanc is a very genuine guy, he’s a very smart guy,
he’s a very focused guy. And he’s great, great fun. His greatest strength is
he is genuinely interested in making people’s lives less crap. And he’s had a great
deal of publicity at SNHU and College for America
maybe hasn’t broken even on revenue, but
it’s gotten millions of dollars of publicity. So he’s done very, very well. But even when I started
at SNHU and they were pretty fledgling in the
online, his goal was to get students who were
literally the Walmart shop floor and trying to get them up to middle management. And he’s had that laser focus. And I think if you tie
this, whatever we call it, to the demographic changes
that we’re all seeing and saying, hey, you might
feel comfortable right now at your Northeastern
or your SUNY with the student demographic
you’ve got, but think 10 years from now when
you’re going to have so many first generation
students, minority students, and significantly lower SES students. I reference Paul because I think there’s a genuineness to this. You have to look at the
change in demographic of students, you have
to consider engagement and intrinsic motivation. So if you can tie that together and get an educated room of faculty to say, look, we have to agree on this, then you maybe don’t have to go the other way. I think that is what Paul’s done. He’s really said, look,
I’m genuine about this. We need to try different things. And he’s the one with the
reduced fear of failure. He went for that, he went
to the board and asked for substantial amounts
of money for things that may not have worked
and may still not work. But he tried and I think
that’s all we can do. We can say, look, there’s
a clear challenge. There are clearly ways
that look interesting that could help. Now work with me on this. So you’re right, the
gamification thing’s a double edged sword. And I’d be wary about
using it, to be honest. But intrinsic motivation, engagement, change in demographics. I think those bits you can’t deny. Sorry, that was a long answer. – [Voiceover] Any other questions, Nate? – [Voiceover] I haven’t
used these mics before. Did that work? – It’s wonderful. – [Voiceover] Awesome, so in
your comment about how you wanted to poke your eyes out
with a fork after you watched the canned simulation
for the 7,000th time, have you experimented
with open educational resources as a solution
to being able to more highly tweak, to use your
word, the learning materials? – Yeah, the one that I’m
talking about there, because it was vendor produced in
their platform, we couldn’t. I don’t even know what it was built on. Absolutely in terms of the,
oh we also at Northeastern before the grant work were doing quite a lot with storyline, which
it allows quite a bit of animation and in terms of tech level it’s a step up from your PowerPoint. But a well intentioned LMS educator. I don’t know, your basic
level of tech support could probably help
with that quite quickly. So we’ve built in not as
complex as the Somalian pirates, but we’ve built
in small simulations, animations, dragon drop,
immediate feedback. And that is something that you can edit. So I mentioned this before. Steal, borrow, whatever. With open ed resources,
certainly you can switch them in and out. If you are doing your
own build, then honestly I would start with what you got. We’re a Blackboard school. Start with your LMS an start throwing up Google Docs or whatever you use and that you can deal with. And when you start to get
traction, maybe explore a storyline, or I forget
there’s another one that’s sort of similar. And then if you want
to push it from there, then there are a lot of
really interesting companies out there. We’re working with CogBooks, an adaptive learning provider. Smart Sparrow are fun, they
do a lot of simulations and animations as well. Realize It. There’s a bunch. So you get the $20 buy in, which is you. And then you get maybe the middle one, the Greg, the University of Waterloo. Get your IT guys to help you. And then if and when you can prove some proof of concept, then I would suggest go on up to maybe self editable. And then if you want to go for it and build a complex one, do it. But I guess my main point is there’s buy in at low levels. So I don’t feel you’re wise to jump in and go full on simulation. Fine, if it’s OER and
you can find them, great. I would link to those. Yes, sir? – [Voiceover] So in the
examples you gave, a lot of them weren’t so much the leaderboard style of the gamification aspect. And we know that not all
students are intrinsically motivated by competition. So did you see in the
cases where the course did have that leaderboard
aspect that there were students who didn’t engage, that there was either a certain population
that wasn’t really engaged with that, or
was it a self selection process that they knew they were getting into that in the first
place and so we don’t know if students who
that wouldn’t work for just don’t opt in? – It’s a good question. It’s why we bundled in
the matrix, the C’s, this competition,
collaboration, cooperation, or something like that. So I think you’re wise
to think about the human interactions that go on there. I’ve not seen and I
personally agree with you. I don’t recommend the participate in this and you might win style of leaderboard. I think there’s an interest
to the middle ground of I’m doing okay, but
I think you can give that feedback in ways that are probably better than a leaderboard. So in all of my cases
I think there were two who sort of used leaderboards. Kevin sort of fell away, Neil
totally didn’t want them, and Gerol had them and he was the one that said the boys rushed
ahead and said, ah, I’m top of the leaderboard for two weeks and then disengaged. So I think, again, if
you can present it as intrinsically pat of the experience, fine. And that might be why Kevin was going with the dependent hero contingency. Sorry, one final anecdote, I promise. My dad was a teacher
in a really rough area outside Newcastle, which
is northern England. And he came across and
saw my graduation at Penn and it was great. He’s a ginger so he got
completely sunburnt, didn’t wear a hat. And he kept telling me how
because I use big words and was finishing a doctorate, he didn’t understand any of my stuff. And then I was talking
to him at one point and explaining a bit more
and he shared that in 1970 something, so Newcastle’s famous for three things, anyone? Coal. Coal and? Beer and? Thank you, football as well. Correct answer. So coal, beer, and football. Coal and beer weren’t really going to work with his under 11’s. So what he did was he
identified the floor, none of them could spell anything. So he did league tables for spelling. And in the British soccer,
unlike your American football, if you finish
bottom of the league, you can get booted down
to the league below. It’s called relegation. And then if you do well you get promoted. So he had two divisions
and students were at risk of relegation or getting promotion. And he had students
who would be so excited about doing spellings and
kids who were terrible who would work really, really
hard and his deputy head, which is like vice principal,
at some point said, you have to stop because of the two at the bottom of the league. It’s disappointing for them,
it’s upsetting for them. So I get it. On the other hand, in
the ’70s my dad was doing stuff that I’m like
like, this guy’s a genius he just never told me. He was doing stuff that
motivated a lot of students. So I guess my point is if
you’re going to accentuate anything that’s motivating
and somehow avoid that piece, so I don’t know. That’s why I worry about a leaderboard. It’s hard, even if you
anonymize, you still have that sense that someone
is bottom of the league. So yeah, I think there are
probably better ways to give feedback and acknowledgment
and reward than saying you’re top of the league. But again, none of the students complained in these examples, they
appreciated the effort. But yeah, it might be that
one where your administrators will be sensitive to that as well. Yes sir, in the back. – [Voiceover] Making our course
content accessible to all learners is very important
and I’m wondering what your thoughts are in terms
of gameful design and how we can make gameful
design accessible for all users and inclusive. – Were you lurking in my class? I got the very same question
from my online section that’s going on last night
and I haven’t answered it there either, so thank you
for making me think about it. (laughter) I think because you’re
shifting from simulations and World of Warcraft to
basically good instruction with immediate feedback
that is probably text based, I don’t see that a
lot of the gameful design elements, and I’m trying to think. I don’t see that a lot of
the gameful design elements have an issue with that. I mean, aesthetics arguably. I mean, alt tagging images,
transcribing videos, those are things that
obviously if you’ve got a student who’s visually
impaired, the efforts you make on aesthetics are going
to be less effective there. And that’s a shame but
I don’t see anything even in the cases that
I worked with where I thought, ooh, that’s a red flag. So I think so long as
you’re diligent and do the transcriptions and do the tags and make it screen reader accessible. None of them did anything with technology that took them into the realms of this is a problem, as far as I saw it. Now if we’re going to simulations and interactivity at a very high degree, that would certainly be a concern. And again, that could
be a strength when you pitch to faculty or administrators. Because we are conscious
of that, we are not going to World of
Warcraft, so you don’t need to give me $50 million,
which will probably be a win win I would think. They’ll probably be happy with that. Sneak one more? – [Voiceover] Okay, one more. – [Voiceover] Hi, I was
just wondering if you can talk a little bit about
differences in how maybe women and girls take on the ideas of gamification and games compared to? – I think it’s maybe connected,
so the cliche is that the boys compete and the
girls want to collaborate. In my online class it’s interesting. I’ve asked people to
dig into something that engenders flow, so some of them did games, some of them did other things. A lot of the responses I
got from some of the women were that they don’t like
competition, but they really pushed themselves against the game. So I think if you, I honestly don’t have a pat answer to that. What I’ve seen from the
data is there are as many girls gaming as boys. So my earlier slide where
I said maybe it’s not about millennials gaming,
but if it is, then that gender balance seems to be there. What I’ve seen, speaking
as a male, what I’ve seen in the gender split when
I’ve done work on this is that the males are
comfortable with the chest beating, look at me, I’m top of the board. Whereas the women kind of subtly compete. And actually although they
will often say, I don’t like to compete, they really
like to push themselves and challenge themselves. So I think competition is
maybe more ostentatious on the male side and it’s
subtle and it’s there on the female side. And again, these are
things I think that you’ve got to just try and be
open to the feedback. So again, as with the
leaderboards, I think competition is definitely one to be cautious of. But then how does that
speak to appropriate level of challenge? Because you want to push people. White water rafting’s the example. It’s tough, it’s difficult,
but you finish it and you have such a sense of achievement. That one of the golfer
where she got a hole in one or whatever. You want the challenge
to be such that you feel like you’re competing with something. It might be with the system. I think the leaderboard
ostentatious is a bit of a man, a guy thing. I think you’re right to be wary of it. But I think it would be
a disservice to say we’re not going to make it challenging for Alex. Because I know Alex and
I know she’s going to grit her teeth and
challenge herself if not compete with others. All right. – [Voiceover] I just have
one last question, sir. Thank you for a very
interesting presentation. Do you have an example of a course which uses well designed games
which you could make available to us so that
we could see a model? – No. – [Voiceover] You know, Janet,
I don’t know if you were here last year, I don’t know
if you were here last year. But Landon Phillips
presented last year and actually showed his
Photoshop course that is an extraordinary example
of gameful design. – [Voiceover] That’s on the coat site? – [Voiceover] It’s on the
coat site, it’s a presentation that you can go look at. – [Voiceover] Thank you. – And also for this class
I’m teaching right now, I don’t think they would have a problem. I’m pulling together resources. There are a lot of open
ed games and resources that are good that show some of this. It is difficult to get you
access into a Blackboard protected class that’s got
subtle gameful elements in. I have a fuller
presentation that has more. My dissertation has more
screenshots and stuff from the examples that I’ve given there. And I mentioned I’m working on a book that I’m never going to finish,
so don’t worry about that. I’ll share my resource list from the class and I don’t advise you
read it all, but skim through my dissertation, which I’m happy to throw across as well. And then if you see me
on the book tour in 2025. Thanks very much for your time. I’ll be around and enjoy
the rest of the session. Thank you. (applause) – Thanks very much, Kevin. We’re going to take a 15 minute break and then Christy Ford
is going to follow up and so about 15 minutes.

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