Gamification as Responsible Experience Design

Disrupting the New Norm and Fostering a Hero’s Journey

Within the domain of educational technology, new pedagogical approaches and technologies have been “disrupting” the status quo of teaching and learning practices, which have in turn become mainstream and then been accepted as the “new” norm. In recent years, digital platforms, ranging from e-learning and simulation platforms to digital games and mobile applications aiming to enhance engagement, have provided alternative means and options for the way learning content is delivered and consumed. However, there is danger that a learner’s focus is further fragmented by these “disruptions.” Furthermore, dependence on different online and digital platforms for facilitating learning could lead to disconnections between learners’ engagement with the different sources and disparities between the virtual/digital and real knowledge, capabilities, confidence and self-awareness (Warburton, 2009; Arnab et al., 2011). Continue Reading

Play as Bulwark of Uselessness

Almost two years ago, halfway through my doctoral course, I found myself in Finland at the “Critical Evaluation of Game Studies Seminar,” where, above all the “big names” in the field of Game Studies who spoke there (among which were Aarseth, Deterding, Juul, and Mäyrä), one thing was indelibly imprinted in my memory: Canadian sociologist Bart Simon’s characterisation of Game Studies as a true, undeniable “bulwark of uselessness”. As a customary “tank” player in MMOs, always relishing the role of defending my teammates in our small, unnecessary virtual struggles, the image stuck strongly. Continue Reading

A Super Better Gameful Life

Jane McGonigal

Her new book, SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient–Powered by the Science of Games (Penguin Books, 2015), seeks to explain in detail the SuperBetter method, which aims to teach how to live and overcome every life obstacle with a gameful mindset. McGonigal defined what “being gameful” means to her back in 2009: “having the positive traits of a gamer” (or a game), such as strong motivation and goal orientation, confidence in one’s own capabilities, enjoying the pursuit of new challenges, perseverance in the face of obstacles, and a passion for learning new skills 1. SuperBetter explains how to bring this mindset to everyday life. Continue Reading