Learning to Love Fun Again: Education & Training the Gamified Way

Learning to Love Fun Again: Education & Training the Gamified Way


Moderator Dan Samuelson of Pearson leads panelists, NT Etuk of DimensionU, David Park of Beat the GMAT, Matt Shobe of BigDoor,Anthony Zolezzi of Greenopolis, and Mike Fulkerson of Rosetta Stone in a talk about the ways games can be used more effectively to promote education – and actually teach our children better than ever.

Samuelson begins by offering this quote inspired by Mr. Pai’s talk (see the previous post): “If a child can’t learn the way we teach maybe we should teach the way they learn.”

Then he asks, How far do we go with gamification? Just the badges? Isn’t school just a badly designed game to begin with?

Etuk replies that he tends to break it down into the psychological- including motivation. He suggests that you create a safe environment to fail. Include personalization- it’s about you. And make sure you can do it alone- so you don’t have to risk failing publicly. There is talk about education’s labor shortage—one teacher to 20 or 30 students. But it’s not true. Because you have a lot of kids, from all different levels maybe they can be incentivized to help each other. This can be done through the game.

He adds that there is too much time between the action and the emotional reaction- especially in a testing model.

Shobe adds that games should be a flow state enabler.

Fulkerson recalls high school Spanish or French class where a teacher lectured in English and then sent the class home to practice on paper. He suggests that if you let people work from computers and then spend time practicing with the teacher it’s a better use of everyone’s time. Mr. Pai, he points out, could concentrate on the kids who are having problems. By inverting the classroom model there is a lot of promise.

Samuelson says grades alone are high stakes. We don’t have a low stakes measurement tool. What is the role of assessment in gaming?

Park replies that there is an academic program that assesses in real time and can see how the students are doing. It’s not testing. So it feels safe. Plus it trouble shoots instead of waiting until the next pop quiz. The problem with grades is that by the time you get your GPA it’s too late. You can address it in real time with gamification.

Zolezzi wants to know how gamification can access the brilliant kids.

Samuelson suggests that good teachers try to find that in everyone in the classroom. But in rows of ten twenty, it’s hard to personalize the teaching.

Etuk discusses the loner learner vs. social learner. “We can tell by which type of games you choose to play,” on their site, he says. “We can assess you and how you learn and offer a deeper assessment than just whether or not you know something—but also how you can better learn it.”

An audience question asks: What can we do for teachers without having to roll out a whole new system? What little steps can be taken?

Fulkerson says that maybe schools can use gamification on a macro level to help teachers. Maybe it doesn’t have to be in the classroom. By adding games to the job of teaching which has it’s own set of problems, the problems in the classroom might be solved.



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