EDET 679 – Week 10

Essential Question: How would you change the rubric for the final project to better reflect what is important in games?

In an article for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Teaching and Technology Center, gamification is broken down into the important aspects of a game that engage the user. This article describes the elements as pyramid-like, with the components forming the base, the mechanics forming the middle, and the dynamics being the tip. So, while the components make up the bulk of the experience and are not as abstract, it is the mechanics and the ultimately the dynamics that hold the whole experience together.

game_mechanics

(image source: http://www.yourtrainingedge.com/gamification-mechanics-vs-gamification-dynamics/)

To refamiliarize ourselves with these different elements, let’s start with the bottom of our pyramid and work upward. Examples of components are: Achievements, Avatars, Badges, Boss Fights, Collections, Combat, Content Unlocking, Gifting, Leaderboards, Levels, Points, Quests, Social Graphs, Teams, and Virtual Goods. The mechanics elements are Challenges, Chance, Competition, Cooperation, Feedback, Resource Acquisition, Rewards, Transactions, Turns, and Win States. Finally, at the top of the pyramid, in the key position to hold everything else in place, are the dynamic elements: Constraints, Emotions, Narrative, Progression, and Relationships.

While the components are an important part of the gamification puzzle, it is the mechanics and dynamic elements that truly make the experience. Bryant Nielson (2013) writes, “When applied in the correct manner, these two elements of gamification have the ability to drive user engagement and participation to new heights. Therefore, it is these elements that I feel should be the focus of the rubric and any changes that need to be made to it.

One area that I feel needs to be strengthened is #5: Interactivity. This is a key dynamic element (relationships), and, being one of the key elements that drives gamification, it is my feeling that both the “Meets” and “Exceeds” columns could be more rigorous. My suggestion for this would be to move the criteria for “Exceeds” to the “Meets” column, then upgrade “Exceeds” to include wording such as “Interaction with others and/or with the game occurs regularly during play. Opportunities are available for students to independently seek out collaboration with other players on challenges.”

5. Interactivity (Collaboration): students are able to interact with other and the game (20) Needs Improvement

There is little or no interaction between players or between players and the game.

Meets

Interaction with other players and with the game is occasionally encouraged, but may not play a significant role in game play.

Exceeds

Interaction with others and/or with the game occurs regularly during game play. Collaboration is encouraged and allows the player to progress in the game while receiving support from other players and the game.

 

Writing a succinct and rigorous rubric is key to producing a quality gamification experience for our students. Elizabeth Lawley (2012) states, “The recent trend toward “gamifying” applications often reduces the complexity of a well-designed and balanced game to its simplest components, such as badges, levels, points, and leaderboards. The
resulting implementations don’t just fail to engage players; they can actually damage existing interest or engagement with the service or product. It’s not that gamification can’t work. But to be successful, [gamification] must include game design, not just game
components. Games are not a replacement for thoughtful experience and interaction design; they are an alternate lens for framing that process.”

Resources

Gamification dynamics, components, and mechanics. (2016). University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Teaching and Technology Center. Retrieved from https://www.uwplatt.edu/ttc/gamification-dynamics-mechanics-and-components

Lawley, E. (2012, July). Games as an alternate lens for design. Social Mediator. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/244486331_Gamification_Designing_for_motivation

Nielson, B. (2013, July 24). Gamification mechanics vs. gamification dynamics. Retrieved from http://www.yourtrainingedge.com/gamification-mechanics-vs-gamification-dynamics/

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2 thoughts on “EDET 679 – Week 10”

  1. I’m glad you are trying to modify the rubric too, but I would like to get rid of the storyline/narrative component. I don’t think in terms of stories, and I don’t read for entertainment, so this part of the rubric for gamification is not vital. In my blog, I stated the number game in history has no story (Tetris), just good game mechanics, and I believe a narrative/sotry would distract from the goal of gamifying a class/unit/lesson. There are other elements that are more important, like interaction you described. It’s interesting to note that according to some researchers of gamification, they have already dismissed gamification in business applications. People who try to gamify how they do business fail cause they don’t truly think about and plan out the gamification aspect before implementation. I like how we are measuring our plan with a rubric so we don’t fail like businesses have already.

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  2. Kate,
    I think your point about number 5 is well made. One thing I considered here when I read it though, is that we are building a gamified environment in the classroom; so the focus is not on the game only. The way you divided this up into components, mechanics and dynamics, including many examples for each, was very helpful to me. It looks like you not only summarized the entire book we read for class, but added so much more support for your points here. A point can be made for drawing students in initially by something that is familiar for them; games and leveling up; then drawing them over into quests and discussions as well.

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