Paideia as Paidia: From Game-Based Learning to a Life Well-Played


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»Gamification« has sparked the imagination of many for the potential of games in education, but turned away an equal amount within the games and learning community with its disregard for the complexities of design and human motivation.

However, this talk suggests that there is a deeper reason for the negative reaction in the games and learning community: namely, that gamification really provides a distorted mirror that throws into stark relief issues in today's game-based learning at large. Conversely, that best way to advance games for learning today is to look deep into this mirror. Doing so reveals a triple agenda for the field: to expand from deploying games as interventions in systems to the gameful restructuring of systems, and from designing games to the playful reframing of situations; and to shift from the instrumentalization of play and learning to paideia as paidia.

Published in: Design, Entertainment & Humor
  • Thank you! A wonderful presentation. This very week I am reading "Homo Ludens" in parallel with Jaeger's "Paideia". Your presentation was fun to see and laugh with!
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  • As a relative newcomer to the field I found this presso really thought provoking and rewarding. Thanks so much for putting time into providing notes on each slide.
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  • @hennis Hi Thieme, I fully agree: The DML competition was about very many things rolled into this one thing 'badge,' which I think was part of the reason the reaction to it was so mixed: So is this about formal credentialing of skills picked up in formerly informal, non-institutionalized settings? Is this about new forms of (peer) assessment? Is this about student motivation? It was all of the above and more.
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  • great presentation, as always. however, wanted to point out that the DML Badges for Lifelong learning initiative was not entirely about gamification. Sure, elements of that were prevalent, but mostly it is an experiment to try out new ways of assessment and to develop an infrastructure that is not as rigid, narrow, and centralized as the traditional assessment and accreditation practice. At least, that is how I understood it (and I did enter the competition but I FAILED to get a funding :(). -- I am now at 15% of your presentation so I cannot comment yet on the rest.
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Paideia as Paidia: From Game-Based Learning to a Life Well-Played

  1. 1. Paideia AS paidiafrom game-based learningto a life well-playedSebastian Deterding (@dingstweets)Games Learning Society 8.0June 15, 2012cb
  2. 2. GRUMPY GERMAN TALKINGBefore I begin, some disclaimers. First off, this is a grumpy German scholar talking, which means that we are going to get down tofundamentals.
  3. 3. CONTAINS ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHYThat means that this talk will contain ancient Greek philosophy. No Heidegger, though. Just so you know.
  4. 4. What I want to talk about today – or better, the starting point into it – is this word, »gamification,« which suddenly appeared on theworld some time in 2010/2011.
  5. 5. If it hasn‘t given you a moment of pause, this fact alone should: Recently, »gamification« overtook »serious games« both in globalsearch and news reference volume.
  6. 6. Most of you will have come across one or the other instance of gamification in education – like Khan Academy, which allows you towatch little educational videos on basic topics, take practice exercises, and collect points and badges in doing so.
  7. 7. Or you have seen (or taken part in) the Digital Media and Learning competition »Badges for Lifelong Learning« – or seen and partakenin the backlash against it. For I don‘t know how you feel about it, but I would say that the general sentiment in the games and learningcommunity seems to be:
  8. 8. Creepy shit!»Gamification? That‘s creepy shit!« And to a certain extent, I agree, it is. But I think there is also something deeper going on here.
  9. 9. A distorted mirrorI think that we react so heavily against gamification because it is really a distorted mirror: It throws into stark relief some things that aretroublesome about our own work. Conversely, I would argue that looking into this mirror helps us see our own current limitations andissues, and thus, bring our field forward.
  10. 10. Three humble propositions From game interventions in systems to the gameful restructuring of systems From designing game artifacts to the playful reframing of situations From instrumentalizing learning and play to building a society of paideia as paidiaAnd that is what I want to do today, in six alternating steps: first a deep disconcerting look in the mirror, then a humble propositionhow to go from there. And to give you an overview of what will expect you, here are my three humble propositions.
  11. 11. »Nothing that is learned under compulsion stays with the mind. Do not, then, my friend, keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play. That will also better enable you to discern the natural capacities of each.« Plato the republic (7.536e-537a)The motto for this I take from Plato‘s »Republic«.
  12. 12. 1 Gamification is an inadvertent con.So let‘s start with the first look in the mirror, which is really more a mutual reassurement of what we, as the games and learningcommunity, have learned the hard way over the past decades. And from what we learned, it is easy to come to the conclusion that»gamification is an inadvertent con.«
  13. 13. »Gamification is an inadvertent con. It tricks people into believing that there’s a simple way to imbue their thing ... with the psychological, emotional and social power of a great game.« Margaret Robertson can’t play, won’t play (2010)These are not my words – they belong to game designer Margaret Robertson. I think for the most part, her analysis still holds, and thatit holds because there are three confusions troubling the gamification sphere – confusions we in the games and learning communityhad to overcome ourselves.
  14. 14. si on fu 1 C on #First off, they confuse games with fun! Let me quote a number of video game reviews semi-randomly culled from Metacritic: Elf Bowling1&2: »for this reason i think game developers should have at least 3 yrs in video game exp. they should be hung like a pinyatta andbeaten.« NRA Varmint Hunter: »All the thrill of the hunt, without the thrill or the hunt.« Balls of Fury: »They shouldve just called itBalls because they certainly had some while they were making this game.« Big Rigs over the road racing: »This game (and I use theterm loosely) is so pathetic it makes a sandpaper-and-vinegar enema sound positively delightful. Not that I would know.« And finally,Little Britain, the Video Game: »Pray for an end to cash-in greed and weep for the death of quality. There shall now be a paragraphssilence.«
  15. 15. »Ninety percent of everything is crud.« Theodore Sturgeon sturgeon‘s revelation (1958)All of this is just a long-winded way of saying that 90% of everything is crud – inluding games.
  16. 16. Con(fusion) #1 Games are not fun because they are games, but when they are well-designed.That means, games are not fun because they are games, but when they are well-designed. And that entails all the hard work of design:Prototyping, testing, iterating.
  17. 17. si on fu 2 C on #The second confusion concerns why (well-designed) games are fun and engaging. If you look at the websites and marketing material ofmost gamification proponents today, one answer to that question pops out again and again: Rewards. Points, levels, and badges arebasically all rewards in their understanding (and virtual – read: cheap – ones, too).
  18. 18. Which means that they engage in a very flawed pop behaviorism: They consider games as Skinner boxes that doll out rewarding pointslike sugar pellets every time we hit the right lever (usually comparing loot drops in »World of Warcraft« with reinforcement schedules).But if that reasoning would be correct, ...
  19. 19. Score: 964,000,000,000,000 (You rock!) Earn 1,000,000,000,000 points… this should be the funnest game ever, earning you a whopping trillion points every time you press the button.
  20. 20. »Fun is just another word for learning.« Raph Koster a theory of fun for game design (2005)Why then are well-designed games fun? The best one-sentence-answer to this in my opinion comes from game designer Raph Koster.
  21. 21. »Fun from games arises out of mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that makes games fun. With games, learning is the drug.« Raph Koster a theory of fun for game design (2005)To him, games are systems purpose-built to put learnable challenges in our path – and thus give rise to the pleasure of overcomingthem: jumping that chasm, solving that puzzle, convincing that NPC to let us through.
  22. 22. And this theory is basically supported by all empirical psychological research into the fun in games: The central joy and thrill of gaminglies in the tension between a challenge ...
  23. 23. … and the feeling of mastery, control, competence, self-efficacy in our successful resolution of it.
  24. 24. Extrinsic motivationIn other words, many gamification proponents wrongly believe or purport that the fun in games is extrinsic motivation: Some outerreward we get for an activity that holds no inherent interest to us (like getting a lollipop for sitting quitely in a shopping cart).
  25. 25. Intrinsic motivationWhereas psychology tells us that the fun in games is predominantly intrinsic motivation: The inherent enjoyment the activity provides,like dancing, or cooking, or playing do. So what makes things intrinsically enjoyable? The currently most well-established theory onintrinsic motivation is Self-Determination Theory.
  26. 26. »An understanding of human motivation requires a consideration of innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness.« Edward Deci, Richard Ryan the what and why of goal pursuit (2000)According to it, just as we have innate physiological needs (hunger, thirst), so we have psychological needs: To flourish, we need toexperience competence, autonomy, and relatedness. If you match that with Koster, you‘ll see that he is first of all talking aboutcompetence – but empirical research has shown that games also deliver on the other two needs (we‘ll return to them later).
  27. 27. Con(fusion) #2 The fun in playing games chiefly arises from intrinsic enjoyment, not extrinsic incentives.So that‘s the second confusion.
  28. 28. si on fu 3 C on #The third confusion is that gamification proponents often understand game elements as a tack-on, as something you can »just add.«Now this is something we in the games and learning community had to learn the hard way as well, remember?
  29. 29. We had to learn that »fun learning« is not about making something look fun, or playful, or gamelike – with cute characters, colors,sounds, and just calling something a game.
  30. 30. Likewise, we learned that fun learning is not about tacking a topic (like politics) onto an existing game mechanic and then hope thatsomehow, magically, »learning« happens.
  31. 31. Finally, we had to learn that fun learning is not about inserting learning content and test sections into a game (or vice versa), likeFinancial Soccer here, where you play a regular soccer game, but before you score a goal, you have to answer a question on »checkingaccount overdraft protection« in 15 seconds.
  32. 32. We have learned that good game-based learning marries, translates, equates game mechanics and the skills or concepts to be learned.Like here in the physics game »Play Ludwig«: In order to solve this puzzle, you have to test out, discover and understand the basicphysical laws of levers.
  33. 33. Learning goal = Game mechanic Alejandro Echevaria et al. the atomic intrinsic integration approach (2012)Now this is nothing new – Yasmin Kafai has talked about such »intrinsic integration« way back when –, nor will it surprise theaudience here. Personally, I like how Alejandro Echevaria and others have layed out this thought in their paper »The atomic intrinsicintegration approach«. In essence, it states that in good game-based learning, the learning goal should be the game mechanic.
  34. 34. Con(fusion) #3 Good serious game design translates tasks/goals into mechanics – rather than adding one to the other.So this is the third confusion prevalent in the current gamification discourse. Now you may ask: If »gamification« has so many issues –it gets design wrong, it gets motivation wrong, it gets the relation of game mechanics and non-game goals and tasks wrong – whybother at all?
  35. 35. 2 Gameful design Gamification is a promising proposition.I think we should bother because there is a kernel in gamification – in expanding game design beyond games –, that pushes us outsidethe box of our current thinking and practice. With Steve Reed‘s keynote yesterday, you may call this »learning from gaming«. Let mecall it »gameful design«. Gameful design means shifting from first-order changes to second-order changes.
  36. 36. »These are two types of change: one that occurs within a given system which itself remains unchanged, and one whose occurrence changes the system itself… Second-order change is thus change of change.« Paul Watzlawick et al. change (1974: 10)I take this distinction from communication scholar Paul Watzlawick, who uses it to describe two types of change in humaninteractions. First-order change are the changes in a system that perpetuate it – think of a dysfunctional relationship where everyattempt to change it actually continues it. Second-order change, in contrast, is change of the system itself.
  37. 37. Humble proposition #1 From game interventions in systems to the gameful redesign of systemsThat, to me, is the potential or proposition that gamification holds. Because we as a community have for the most part focused ondeploying games as interventions in existing systems – first-order changes –, rather than questioning, intervening in, redesigning thesesystems themselves, using game design as our guiding lens.
  38. 38. »One purpose of this book is to explore ways in which even routine activities can be transformed into personally meaningful games that provide optimal experiences.« First! Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow (1990: 51)And this is not a new idea, by the way. Already in 1990, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote …Csikszentmihalyi was actually the first »gamification guru.« Who knew!
  39. 39. »Mowing the lawn or waiting in a dentist’s office can become enjoyable provided one restructures the activity by providing goals, rules, and the other elements of enjoyment to be reviewed below.« Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow (1990: 51)So how do we do that? Again, Csikszentmihalyi is a good guide. Immediately following the passage above, he writes the following …We need to restructure the activity in question.
  40. 40. »Gaminess« is not a featureAgain, the important point here is that this is not about »adding game features«. Like usability, gamefulness (or in general, affordingmotivating experiences of competence, autonomy, relatedness, surprise, etc.) is not a feature – it is a systemic quality that emergesfrom the interaction of the designed system and the user.
  41. 41. How might we ... restructure the activities in a system to support intrinsic enjoyment, using game design as a lens?This, then, is the guiding question for gameful design: How might we restructure the activities in a system to support intrinsicenjoyment, using game design as a lens?
  42. 42. Put differently If this were a game – how is it broken?Or, put more simply; If this were a game, how would it be broken?
  43. 43. Games in class > Class as gameIf this sounds a bit abstract for you, here are a couple of examples. At the GLSES before this conference, I co-convened a workshop ofteachers who did not just use games in the classroom, but redesigned their whole classroom experience – curriculum, activities,assessment, grading, etc. – as a game, like Lee Sheldon did with his »Multiplayer Classroom«.
  44. 44. Games in school > School as gameAnother example are the Quest2Learn schools. Now children play and design lots of games as part of the curriculum, but Quest2Learnalso redesigned the whole school experience as a game.
  45. 45. Games in Undergrad > You get the idea ...Similarly, the Just Press Play project at the Rochester Institute of Technology did not deploy games in their undergraduate education,but redesigned the whole undergrad experience as a game – in this case, using an achievement system.
  46. 46. Game Atoms model/skill goal action rule system success! / failure! challenge feedback + new goal + more skillOne concept I find helpful to take such a systemic view is »game atoms« – a concept developed by the likes of Dan Cook and RaphKoster: A game is a connected, nested set of mini games – a loop between goals the user pursues, actions she pursues to attain thegoal, a rule system determining the success or failure of the action, and immediate and progress feedback whether/how well the userattained her goal. Out of this goal-action-rule-feedback loop emerges the learnable core challenge of that mini game atom.
  47. 47. Game Atoms model/skill goal action rule system success! / failure! challenge feedback + new goal + more skillUsing this as a lens to look at any activity, you can then start to ask: Are goals clear and attainable? Do players have choice in theirgoals? Are the possible actions clear and offer interesting choices? Are the rules transparent and fair? Is the challenge well-scaffolded,does it offer variety? Is immediate feedback in-time, clear, and informative? Is there progress feedback that gives you a clear idea whereyou stand, how each action contributes to your goals, and gives you a graspable sense of what you achieved?
  48. 48. Feedback Accuracy, speed, friendliness in comparison, w/ recommendations Goals Daily, weekly, monthly, annually w/ progress Reality checkLet’s do a quick reality check. Say we wanted to improve the experiential quality of being a supermarket cashier with the principles outlined.We’d likely display feedback on how the cashier is doing (accuracy, speed, friendliness) in comparison to his or her former performance and theperformance of colleagues – plus recommendations how to do better. And we’d set clear goals to strive for, daily, weekly, monthly.
  49. 49. Business Process ReengineeringBut what about interesting choices, increasing challenge and complexity? Checking stuff out doesn’t seem to hold much of these, sowe’d likely have a look at the larger system in which the activity happens. That’s an important lesson: Like any good design, »gameful«design has to look at the larger sociotechnical system in which it is deployed. It quickly becomes business process reengeneering …
  50. 50. Feedback Accuracy, speed, friendliness in comparison, w/ recommendations Goals Daily, weekly, monthly, annually w/ status Challenge Training, job rotation, job enrichment… rather than mere software design – and as designers, we often lack the organizational access and power to do so. But let’s assumethat we can design that as well. So to ensure a good, scaffolded learning curve of increasing challenge, we’d look to design the courseof the cashier through the organization, from initial training through to job roles that are increasingly more demanding and complex.
  51. 51. As it turns out, such systems already exist. Here is a checkout terminal at a US supermarket. Each time you serve a customer, you scoreeither a G (green) or R (red) based on your overall speed, and you see progress feedback on your last scores and overall scores. In fact,the majority of service sector jobs are already designed like this – full of metrics to review, targets to reach and job ladders to climb.
  52. 52. Even so, I would submit that more often than not, our cashier would feel more like this little fella ...
  53. 53. … than this guy. In a word, like a tightly monitored, micromanaged lab rat instead of an engaged player. So what is missing?
  54. 54. 3 Gamification is not very playful.This brings us to the second look in the mirror: What is missing is that gamification is not very playful. And this, I think, applies tomany game-based learning applications as well. Now what do I mean with »playful«?
  55. 55. Well, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say »playing a video game«? I submit that it is predominantly this.
  56. 56. The BoxVery literally, it is a box. Some square screen, some interface tied to a piece of hardware running a piece of software that generatesoutput in reaction to our input.
  57. 57. Game The Box A designed artifactIt is a game – a designed artefact. And that is what we have been predominantly occupied with in gamification (and game-basedlearning): the artifact and its design. Are we missing anything in this picture?
  58. 58. Game The Box A designed artifactVery much so. We’re missing everything that is happening outside the box: People, and what they do with the game, including all theculture and social norms and conventions and negotiations and practices ...
  59. 59. Game The Box A designed artifact Playing A frame of engagementWhat we are missing is playing – a specific mode, context or frame of engaging with that artefact. Playing video games – and theexperiences and engagement we associate with it – very literally requires both: A game, and playing it.
  60. 60. For we can play with many different things: Sticks and stones, other people, passing cars on a long holiday trip – even work.
  61. 61. debugging playtesting/reviewing presenting gameplay making a machinima a scientific study learning (serious games) sports (e-sports) work (goldfarming)Likewise, we can engage with games in many different ways: We can test them, review them, analyse them, play them – or work onthem, as in the case of goldfarming. But these modes of engagement do not necessarily equal the one we usually equate with leisurelygameplay.
  62. 62. »I would call it a game – but I did not play it.«One interview participant of my PhD research summarized this neatly. Herself a game designer, she reported on her experience playingcompetitors‘ games in order to analyze them. Here‘s how she described the experience: »I would call it a game – but I did not play it.«
  63. 63. Sociotechnical systems Information ecologies Situated action Embodied interaction Social contextures ...And the weird thing is: We know all this – in theory. In organizational psychology and HCI and STS, we know this at least since the1950s (which is when the term »socio-technical system« was first introduced): To understand the uses and effects of technical systems,we cannot separate them from the specific social contexts in which they are embedded.
  64. 64. So ... What about this frame called playing?This then leads us directly to the next question: What characterizes the specific frame or mode of engagement we call »playing«?
  65. 65. me hint at the answer in two contrasting stories. The first is taken from the sociological paper »Banana Time« by Donald F. Roy. Init, Roy reports on his experiences working on one of these drill presses, punching thousands of little items of various shapes and sizesper day, and how he and his co-workers managed to make such menial tasks sufferable.
  66. 66. »De Man cites the case of one worker who wrapped 13,000 incandescent bulbs a day; she found her outlet for creative impulse, her self-determination, her meaning in work by varying her wrapping movements a little from time to time. ... (L)ike the light bulb wrapper, I did find a ›certain scope for initiative,‹ and out of this slight freedom to vary activity, I developed a game of work.« Donald F. Roy »banana time« (1960)Here is his explanation, introduced by a similar story from French sociologist de Man.
  67. 67. »I need to be very routinized; I mustn’t let myself drift.« »I hammer it through.« »Often, you have to force yourself to do it.« »You’re under real pressure.« »It’s extremely exhausting.« »It wears you out.« »My friends usually cannot comprehend how stressful this is.«Compare this to the following quotes from interviews I did for my PhD research. What would you guess are people talking about here?They are talking about »playing« video games, of course. These are video game journalists reporting on their experience of playing agame as part of their job.
  68. 68. »Sometimes, you have to play, you have to get further – and then, play is work.«I think their sentiments are best summed up in this statement.
  69. 69. Question What makes the most tedious work a game, and the best games tedious work?So, what‘s the underlying principle here? What made the most menial task a game for Roy, what made playing the best games tediouswork for the game journalists?
  70. 70. e nt em 1 El # »First and foremost, all play is a voluntary activity.« Johan Huizinga homo ludens (1938/1950: 7)The answer leads us back to the origins of game studies, namely, Huizinga‘s study of play. As he writes: All play is voluntary. That is thefirst and most defining element of this frame or mode of engagement.
  71. 71. »The key element of an optimal experience is that it is an end in itself.« Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi flow (1990: 67)Here is Csikszentmihalyi reiterating the same point.
  72. 72. »Whoever must play, cannot play.« James P. Carse finite and infinite games (1986)And James P. Carse on the same matter.
  73. 73. »An understanding of human motivation requires a consideration of innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness.« Edward Deci, Richard Ryan the what and why of goal pursuits (2000)Another way of saying this is that play is a quintessentially autonomous activity. Because we engage with it voluntarily, for its own sake,it gives us the intrinsically enjoyable experience of being autonomous. This psychological insight is important.
  74. 74. Fun Voluntary Voluntary FunBecause it turns our habitual thinking on its head: We usually think that people play games voluntarily because they are fun – so kidswill voluntarily play this cool learning game in school if only it is fun enough. But this gets the order wrong: Gameplay is fun because weengage in it voluntarily, because in doing something for its own sake, we experience our autonomy.
  75. 75. Autonomy ≠ Independence, lots of choice, absence of constraints Richard Ryan, Edward Deci self-regulation & the problem of human autonomy (2006)Note that autonomy does not simply mean independence, lots of choice, or the absence of constraints (though the presence ofmeaningful choice may support the experience of autonomy).
  76. 76. »To be autonomous means to behave with a sense of volition, willingness, and congruence; it means to fully endorse and concur with the behavior one is engaged in.« Edward Deci, Richard Ryan motivation, personality, and development (2012: 85)Autonomy means to act with a perceived internal locus of causality and self-concordance: The experience that we willed into an actionbased on its congruence with our personal needs, goals, and values.
  77. 77. Cloister life can be highly autonomousEven living in a cloister – the most restrictive, prescribed, controlled environment imaginable – can be experienced as highlyautonomous if you feel you willed into being in that cloister and sticking to its prescribed routines because it is good for you, becauseyou want it, because it concurs with your needs, goals, and values.
  78. 78. Pfff … I‘m bored. amotivatedEdward Deci & Richard Ryan (2002), The »What« Deci»Why« of Goal Pursuits Edward and & Richard Ryan: The »What« and »Why« of Gaol Pursuits (2002), the experience of something being motivated autonomously or controlled, extrinsic or intrinsic, is not a simple either/or,but a spectrum. Let‘s look at the example of a student reading a class book. At the outer end of the spectrum, according to Self-Determination Theory, sits amotivation: The student is not motivated at all.
  79. 79. 150 more pages, and I get my 10$. external Pfff … I‘m bored. amotivatedEdward Deci & Richard Ryan (2002), The »What« Deci»Why« of Goal Pursuits Edward and & Richard Ryan: The »What« and »Why« of Gaol Pursuits (2002) up is the most controlled motivation: external or extrinsic motivation. The student reads for no other reason but the externalrewards or punishments attached to reading. Reading will likely be very shallow, and not a pleasant experience.
  80. 80. I must not disappoint my parents! introjected 150 more pages, and I get my 10$. external Pfff … I‘m bored. amotivatedEdward Deci & Richard Ryan (2002), The »What« Deci»Why« of Goal Pursuits Edward and & Richard Ryan: The »What« and »Why« of Gaol Pursuits (2002) controlled and not very pleasant is introjected motivation: The student has internalized outer actors into herself. Instead of otherscontrolling her with punishments and rewards, she is controlling herself via her ego and sense of self-worth: »I must/should/have todo X, else I‘m not worthy/others will think poorly of me.«
  81. 81. I must not disappoint It‘s important for me in my parents! school to read this now. introjected identified 150 more pages, and I get my 10$. external Pfff … I‘m bored. amotivatedEdward Deci & Richard Ryan (2002), The »What« Deci»Why« of Goal Pursuits Edward and & Richard Ryan: The »What« and »Why« of Gaol Pursuits (2002) first form of autonomous motivation is identified motivation: The student doesn‘t perceive the activity as an outer demand byothers (internalized as inner voices or not), but understands the value of the activity for herself.
  82. 82. I must not disappoint It‘s important for me in my parents! school to read this now. introjected identified 150 more pages, I totally see how this and I get my 10$. helps me become a chef! external integrated Pfff … I‘m bored. amotivatedEdward Deci & Richard Ryan (2002), The »What« Deci»Why« of Goal Pursuits Edward and & Richard Ryan: The »What« and »Why« of Gaol Pursuits (2002) more autonomous is integrated motivation: This means that the student not only sees the immediate value or need of the activityfor herself, but that the need is well-connected to and integrated in a harmonious, organized whole of inner goals and needs. It »fits inthe bigger picture«, there is no internal tug of competing or disagreeing interests and goals.
  83. 83. I must not disappoint It‘s important for me in my parents! school to read this now. introjected identified 150 more pages, I totally see how this and I get my 10$. helps me become a chef! external integrated Pfff … I‘m good at this – this is I‘m bored. actually fun! amotivated intrinsicEdward Deci & Richard Ryan (2002), The »What« Deci»Why« of Goal Pursuits Edward and & Richard Ryan: The »What« and »Why« of Gaol Pursuits (2002) most autonomous form of motivation is intrinsic motivation: If the student reads because reading to her is a source of inherentenjoyment. – So much (or little) on autonomy. Now autonomy is not the only component of play as a mode or frame of engagement.Let me give you a (non-exhaustive) list of some further important aspects.
  84. 84. e nt em 2 El # A vs. Quality …safe space and VarietyA second important aspect of play is a safe space. When do young animals and kids play? Answer: When the parents are around, ableto jump in when something overwhelming happens, monitoring the environment to ensure there are no outer imminent threats.
  85. 85. … vs. Quality and Variety demands Lack of outer distractions &So what does »safe space« mean? First, as noted, a lack of outer demands, distractions or threats.
  86. 86. Lack Quality and Variety … vs.of serious consequenceSecond, the activity itself is disconnected from intended serious consequences – the result of playing is not supposed to be taken andtranslated into some outer, instrumental purpose or consequence – or into a statement or judgement about the worth of theparticipants. No matter what you do – »we‘re just playing«, »it‘s just a game«.
  87. 87. »Psychosocial moratorium principle: Learners can take risks in a space where real-world consequences are lowered.« James Paul Gee what video games have to teach us... (2003: 67)This is something the games and learning community knows as the psychosocial moratorium principle, as Gee calls it (taking thephrase from Erik Erikson). Such a safe space is important not only because it allows learning by failure, but also because it supports,again, the experienced autonomy of the situation: There is no instrumental end to it. You can focus on it for its own sake.
  88. 88. e nt em 3 El # »As if«A third element present in most play activity is that it is »as if«, fictional: The actors change or add to change the meaning of involvedpersons, actions, objects. Not only do they have no serious consequence – they are also not meant »seriously«. Instead of theirinstrumental meaning and function, we add our own stories, rules, goals, meanings to them.
  89. 89. e nt em 4 El # Shared focus & attitude of exploring ...Fourthly, to the extent that play is a collective enterprise, this shift in consequence and meaning has to be carried by everyone. Everyonehas to »play along«, otherwise the play breaks down. Such playing along involves a shared active focus on and valuing of certain modesof action: First off, exploring, trying out new combinations of actions, objects, meanings.
  90. 90. … mastery, ...The second shared focus and attitude is mastery: If you play, you try honestly to be good in whatever it is your playing at, you put effortand soul into it. If the boy or the girl in this scene wouldn‘t try to play Chess as good as they could, they »wouldn‘t really play«, they‘dbe spoilsports for the other.
  91. 91. … benign transgression, ...Thirdly, play is a place of benign transgression: Exploring to what extent and effect you might step out of some social rules, norms,conventions. This (according to the benign violation theory) is the source of all humor, and humor in play. The important bit here isthat this transgression is benign: It is done for the sake of everyone‘s enjoyment, not to seriously hurt anyone (then it becomes trolling).
  92. 92. … and most importantly, funWhich leads us to the final part of the shared focus and attitude of play: shared fun. The point of a beningn transgression like an officeprank is to have fun together. If the pranked would start crying because he felt seriously hurt, it would stop being fun – and stop beingplay.
  93. 93. e nt em 5 El # AttunementThis shared focus and attitude come about in a process of attunement. Indeed, attunement play is the first form of play for us: Whenmother and child establish eye contact, the baby starts a radiant smile, which the mother reflects by smiling and baby talking back,reciprocating and attuning their emotion and attention.
  94. 94. »When mother and child have fun together, … they are establishing ... the convention that they take precedence over the fun. When the child cries, the mother stops having fun.« Bernie de Koven the well-played game (1978: 18)Here is how Bernie de Koven puts it in his book The Well-Played Game (which IMHO is the most criminally underappreciated book ingame studies, by the way): In attunement play, mother and child establish a shared convention of caring for one‘s own fun through theother‘s fun, ultimately caring more for the other than for fun.
  95. 95. Communal attunementThis is what we see in all other forms forms of social play as well: We watch out for the others‘ fun. This here for instance is a shocking,threatening moment: A full hit in the face! Oh God! Did I overstep the line? Will he cry? Has it stopped being fun? Has it stopped being»just play«?
  96. 96., thank God: All is well, he is laughing. I can continue soaking him :). (Otherwise, I would have tried to repair the play situation:Soothe the soaked, ensure him I didn‘t want to hurt or shock him, hand over the water pistol: »Here, it‘s your turn, you may now soakme – don‘t you want?«)
  97. 97. »It is the nature of a fun community to care more about the players than about the game. ... We are having fun. We are caring. We are safe with each other. This is what we want.« Bernie de Koven the well-played game (1978: 19-20)Here‘s Bernie de Koven again: Play is enabled and carried by a situational »fun community« of people who care more about fun thanwinning, and more about each other than their own fun. (Did I mention that The Well-Played Game is an excellent book? You‘re reallymissing out on something if you haven‘t read it yet.)
  98. 98. e nt em 6 El # I won‘t let you fall. I‘ll know and say when it‘s too much. TrustA safe space and attunement give rise to is trust: Trust in the others and trust in yourself to be benign and capable in handling thesituation. As a colleague of mine, Maaike de Jong, is finding in her PhD research on using playfulness in philosophy classes to supportself-reflection, this trust in others and yourself is what enables students to will into the play situation.
  99. 99. »An understanding of human motivation requires a consideration of innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness.« Edward Deci, Richard Ryan the what and why of goal pursuits (2000)Shared focus and attitude, attunement, trust – this is just another way of saying relatedness. A well-played game carries the uniqueenjoyment of autonomously exercizing our competencies, in a relation with supporting-supported others.
  100. 100. Okay, okay, but … why should we care?Now you may say: This sounds all swell, but why should we care whether our game (or learning intervention) is perceived asautonomous and playful, or not?
  101. 101. Controlled Autonomous Supports shallow, outcome-driven, Supports deep, conceptual, flexible passive learning and problem-solving creative, proactive learning & thinking Edward Deci & Richard Ryan (2012), Motivation, Personality, and Development John Reeves (2002), Self-Determination Theory Applied to Educational Settings Increases memory; persistence; quality, Increases short-term compliance quantity and creativity of performance; challenge-seeking; grades Facilitates satisfaction of Undermines intrinsic motivation other intrinsic needs Facilitates short-termism, Supports internalization of mastery unethical »gaming« behavior and autonomy values Depletes willpower, Energizes, detrains autonomous regulation, supports autonomous regulation, trains control orientation trains autonomy orientation Reduces positive emotions, long-term Improves positive emotions, long-term well-being, self-worth well-being, health, self-worthFirst, there is now several decades of solid empirical evidence that autonomously motivated (learning) activities is unilaterally better forlearning, performance, socio-emotional development and well-being than controlled activities.
  102. 102. Play is the opposite of fear and stressSecondly, play – a space of control, safety, trust, and mutual care – is the opposite of fear, of fight-or-flight reactions. And again, weknow from decades of research that intense situational fear and stress, chronic fear and stress, and learned fear reactions are toxic forhealth, well-being, cognitive development, and learning.
  103. 103., play itself is crucial for our psychosocial development. As Vygotsky already noted, in make-believe play, we learn to add our owngoals, rules and meanings onto reality. We free ourselves from the rule of external and internal impulses by submitting to chosenothers – and do so with an intense joy. It is the first instance of self-structured, self-determined action, where we practice these skills.
  104. 104. In play, we learn ... Self-awareness; self-knowledge; self- control of emotion, attention, and effort; self-regulation distancing; persistence; self-efficacy; autonomous goal pursuit Attunement, empathy, theory of mind; social signaling; rule-following and rule social regulation negotiation; boundary negotiation; bonding, trust, intimacy Symbolic reasoning; creativity; set creative skills shifting; frame switchingMore generally, play is where we learn all the essential skills and preconditions for learning, living well, living together with others, andthriving in a 21st century »creative economy«.
  105. 105. In play, we learn ... Self-awareness; self-knowledge; self- control of emotion, attention, and effort; self-regulation distancing; persistence; self-efficacy; autonomous goal pursuit Attunement, empathy, theory of mind; social signaling; rule-following and rule social regulation negotiation; boundary negotiation; bonding, trust, intimacy Symbolic reasoning; creativity; set creative skills shifting; frame network of current work in this area.Have a look at this book by Dorothy Singer and others for a good introduction into the switching
  106. 106. 4 Playful design Gamification is a promising proposition.So: If playfulness is crucial for learning and motivation, but also missing in current gamified applications (and lots of game-basedlearning), the obvious conclusion is that we should be designing for playfulness.
  107. 107. Humble proposition #2 From designing game artifacts to playfully reframing situationsAnd since play is a social frame of engagement, one of many possible ways of engaging with games, this means that we need to extendour attention from »merely« designing game (or gameful) artifacts towards also paying attention to and trying to design for a specificreframing of the situation in which our designed artifacts are encountered in. How might this look like? Let‘s have a look at a practicalexample.
  108. 108. Play
  109. 109. What we usually design happened here? How did this group of people convince ordinary pedestrians on their way to work (in business suits!) to step outof their routine, and start playing? The water guns were certainly necessary components, but if you had just dumped a bunch of waterguns at the side of the bridge, I submit nobody would have started playing with them. This brings us to a general problem: What weusually design is only the water gun – the object.
  110. 110. Who decides whether this is play (or playing is allowed)But who decides whether that object will be played with (or whether playing is allowed in the current context) are the people present inthe current moment. So how do we convince, invite, seduce them to define their current situation as a time to play?
  111. 111. le cip in 1 P r # Support autonomyIf autonomy lies at the heart of play, the first design principle obviously is to support autonomy: Participation in the activity needs to beperceived as voluntary. If you watch the video closely, you will see a moment where one organizer hands a man a water gun, but heturns it down, and she happily puts it back into her shopping cart: Nobody was coerced to partake.
  112. 112. Meaningful choiceMore generally speaking, autonomy is supported by design through offering meaningful choice: whether we partake, what we pursue(our goals), how we pursue them (strategies), who we pursue it with (participants), when and where we pursue it (time and space),and how long we partake: leaving must be as voluntary as entering.
  113. 113. Connection to goals, values, identityFurthermore, if autonomy flows from the feeling that one acts in congruence with one‘s goals, values, needs, and identity, thenshowing how an action connects to these also facilitates autonomy. This is what the financial service does well by allowing itsusers to enter their own financial goals. Every activity the platform then suggests to them visibly »pays into« their own goals.
  114. 114. le cip in 2 P r # Create a safe spaceThe second principle is to create a safe space around the activity, that is, to disconnect it from serious consequence and ego-involvement (thinking about how others or you yourself will think of you as a consequence of you failing or succeeding). This is whynegative feedback is discouraged in brainstorming sessions, for instance.
  115. 115. le cip in 3 P r # Metacommunicate: »This is play!«Thirdly, following Gegory Bateson (and Erving Goffman), every situational frame is introduced, continually marked, and ended by(sometimes implicit) metacommunicative messages, in our case the message »This is play«. Our players did so with the implicit cuesof team shirts (red vs. blue), water guns, taking position – but most importantly, by smiling openly.
  116. 116. Make a bowThis open smile is similar to the play bow initiating play between dogs and other animals: A bow is a first cooperative move in whichyou make yourself vulnerable. You show you mean well, you do no harm, you can be trusted.
  117. 117. Disrupt standing framesFurthermore, like our pedestrians, people are usually within an ongoing frame you have to actively disturb. You need to make peopleaware of the fact that they are currently in a frame, and that they can change that. This is what the Clown Army does when it intervenesin demonstrations: It disturbs the fight-or-flight frame between police and protestors, opens them to see the situation differently.
  118. 118. Use cues and associationsAs already noted, using cues associated with play help. This is why Lego Serious Play brings Lego pieces to board rooms, for instance:It triggers memories of play (and focuses peoples‘ attention away from their possible embarrassment onto the shared social object theyengage with).
  119. 119. le cip in 4 P r # … vs. Quality and Variety Model attitude and behaviorsFourthly, to encourage others to play, you need to actively model it. This is what the organizers in the video did (recognizable by theblue and red shirts): They were the first to run forward and start shooting each other with water guns. You embarrass yourself a bit first,to show others that it is okay and not dangerous to let go of your embarrassment guards.
  120. 120. A brillant playful reframer and modeler in this regard is former mayor of Bogota, Antanas Mockus. When he came into office, Bogotawas one of the most crime-ridden, desperate cities of the world. To reinvigorate civic culture in the streets, he initiated a series of highlyuncoventional but also highly effective playful interventions – like dressing up as »Super Citizen«.
  121. 121. Reassert values over rulesTo reassert public space as a space of deliberate mutual care, he let mimes control traffic – and ridicule rather than punish drivers whowere inattentive. During half-time of a national soccer championship, mimes distributed 350,000 »thumbs cards« which citizens coulduse to signal to each other in everyday life when they behaved well or badly. (See the work by Karen Greiner and Arvind Singhal)
  122. 122. le cip in 5 P r # Offer generative tools/toysA fifth facilitator for play are generative tools or toys – things that are open to, and indeed encouraging of, the exploration of a deepunprobed space of possibilities and creative self-expression. The coming together of water guns, people, and a bridge create a deliciouspossibility space: Where shall I hide? How should I move? Whom should I shoot?
  123. 123. To me, the epitome of a generative tool/toy is Lego, because it exemplifies so beautifully the qualities that afford generativity. Apartfrom the obvious, general points (well-outlined by Jonathan Zittrain), I want to focus on two qualities.
  124. 124. Small pieces, loosely joinedThe first one is »small pieces, loosely joined«, as David Weinberger put it. A raw matter of »social objects« that can be quicklycomposed, combined, analyzed, changed, recomposed, added to and taken away of, shared. Lego is a very literal example of this.
  125. 125. »So when designing tools for play, underspecify!« Kars Alfrink a playful stance (2008)The second quality that makes up playful tools is underspecification, as Kars Alfrink argues. The designer does not preconceive everypossible interaction and foreclose any other – as in the case of Fisher Price (or Apple, for that matter). Adam Greenfield calls this»beautiful seams«. Each part of a designed ensemble retains a surplus of uses beyond its pre-conceived function in the ensemble.
  126. 126. (Obligatory Minecraft slide)Most of you will certainly already think of the obvious cases in games: Sandbox simulations like The Sims, Spore, and the currentmother of all sandboxes, »Minecraft«.
  127. 127. MySpaceBut is is helpful to also look at examples for underspecification outside of games. One was the initial MySpace. By forgetting toforeclose the ability of users to insert their own HTML code to style their profile pages, MySpace unintentionally unleashed thecreativity of their users, much to their own benefit.
  128. 128. Powerpoint!Another one is Powerpoint. Seriously, Powerpoint is the office equivalent of the Spore creature creator – spawning monsters bothdeadly and delightful. Sometimes, I would guess that the number of hours of unfettered playful joy toying around with Powerpointeffects surpasses that of total hours whiled away in Halo.
  129. 129. le cip in 6 P r # Provide invitationsAnd if you give people generative tools/toys, you should also give them invitations. In her wonderful book »The ParticipatoryMuseum«, Nina Simon reminds us that open participation needs to be scaffolded as well. Nothing is as scary as a blank page – at leastfor most adults. But a page with a defined blank for me, and traces of the participation of others? Invites me.
  130. 130. I like to call this »Freedom, with rails«, like a climbing wall. For the experts, you want maximum freedom, but beginners usually needstarting points, suggested paths.
  131. 131. This playground by the Danish playground design group Monstrum is a beautiful example. We see: crates, a lighthouse, a half-submerged ship with a hole in the side. What happened here? We get no complete story, but material, an opening to our ownimagination.
  132. 132. Autonomy Choice in goals & strategies, concordant w/ values & needs Safe space Culture of trust, forgiveness, mutual care, zero blame Shared attitude Lived focus on exploring, mastery, benign transgression, shared joy Generative tools/toys Inviting openings for exploration and redesignLet’s do another reality check, shall we? If we apply the principles of playfulness to the supermarket cashier, what would we do? We mightcreate a workplace where he or she is invited to define, choose, and exchange goals and strategies with colleagues around shared values.Experimentation and trying to master every aspect of the job would be modeled by managers and the team, and a goal not met or experimentthat didn’t work out would be gladly forgiven. Workers had the freedom to redesign their workplaces (and have some fun in doing so). Nowthis, to me, sounds much more like an engaging workplace; it is what breathes live into the well-formed structure of »gameful« design.
  133. 133. 5 Gamification is instrumentalising play.On to the final look in the mirror: One group of objections that people often sport against gamified applications is that theyinstrumentalize fun, play, and their users for the purposes of companies.
  134. 134. »Exploitationware«Or to use Ian Bogost‘s term: Gamification is really just »exploitationware«. And if you look across the suite of gamified applicationscurrently out there, I think you will agree. For most of them want you to be ...
  135. 135. Play(in background)
  136. 136. Fitter.
  137. 137. Happier.Fitter.
  138. 138. More productive.
  139. 139. Not drinking too much.
  140. 140. Regular exercize at the gym.
  141. 141. Get out more with your associate employees.
  142. 142. Stay in the game. Move on.They want you to be fitter, happier – in order to be more productive. They want you to self-manage, self-control, self-optimize, self-motivate in order to fit even better into the Game of Life that was defined by others for you. As of today, none of them taps the utopianpotential of play – to temporarily step out of, reflect on, try out alternatives to, and ultimately transform the rules of that game.
  143. 143. Technologies of dominationTo use Michel Foucault‘s term, they are predominantly technologies of domination.
  144. 144. Instrumentalizing play eats itselfNot only is this ethically questionable – it is also self-defeating. For if autonomy is the core of play, and what makes play engaging, andif autonomy is to act willingly in accordance with your own goals, and is thwarted by perceived control of others exerted on the activity,then instrumentalizing play for someone else‘s goals destroys the very source it tries to tap into: the joy of autonomous activity.
  145. 145. At best, playful re-appropriationAt best, what you will get are playful re-appropriations in which people re-assert their own goals and autonomy over the situations – likeFarmVille pixel art.
  146. 146. Undermining intrinsic motivationAt worst, you will undermine the existing intrinsic motivation. It is well-documented that extrinsic incentives attached to an activity mayundermine the intrinsic motivation to do said activity, if the reward is perceived as controlling. By the same token, making playing a game partof mandatory, graded homework may turn what was previously an autonomous activity into one that is perceived as controlled.
  147. 147. Framing as strategic instrumental actionSecondly, if you just put a game structure onto an activity – a goal, rules, and a quantitative indicator determining whether you reached your goal –,without the play frame stating that the activity is done for the sake of shared fun, you frame the activity as strategic instrumental action, a game inmathematical game theoretic terms, where people are encouraged to strategically minimize effort and maximize self-interested payout.
  148. 148. The effect being that people become purely strategic actors, forgetting that they are first and foremost social, ethical actors. In games, we know thisphenomenon too well. We call such people »Munchkins«. To quote the definition from Wikipedia: »A munchkin seeks within the context of the game toamass the greatest power, score the most "kills", and grab the most loot, no matter how deleterious their actions are to the other players‘ fun«.
  149. 149. »It is through a community of people who care more about fun than winning that the Well-Played game happens.« Bernie de Koven the well-played game (1978: 5)In a word, they forget that they are part of the »fun community« that constitutes play.
  150. 150. Focus on rules & outcomes over valuesAs the management consultat James Rieley observes in his book »Gaming the System«, such munchkin-dom is pervasive in organisations: People startto focus on following procedure and meeting KPIs, rather than asking what these are good for, and whether they help the organisation. In a sense,Brenda Brathwaite‘s boardgame »Train« is a meditation on this human tendency to perform well within a system, without questioning its ends.
  151. 151. Gaming the system»Gaming the system« is just another side of that coin: It the stated, framed purpose of an activity is not its enjoyment or mastery, but someinstrumental end outside that activity, and there are clear goals, rules, and quantitative indicators as to how to achieve that end, gaming the system islogical. It‘s doing precisely what the system wants you to do: Strategically minmaxing your way through to make the indicator.
  152. 152. »The more a quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.« Donald T. Campbell assessing the impact of planned social change (1976)This is nothing new, of course: This is what Donald T. Campbell already observed in the 1970s on the use and side effects of indicatorsin public services (like schools).
  153. 153. The Enemy is UsAnd as you will have noticed in the last examples I gave: This is us. This is what we ourselves are constantly doing.
  154. 154. Games learning …?We are instrumentalizing games and play for the sake of learning, and instrumentalizing learning for the sake of, well, … of what?Society? It is impolite for me as a guest to point my finger at the host, so I will start in my own backyard, Germany.
  155. 155.‘s the mission statement of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research: »Education and research secure ourprosperity. Education and research are the foundations upon which we build our future. The advancement of education, science andresearch through the Federal Ministry is therefore an important contribution to securing the wealth of our nation.« With that out of theway, let‘s have a look at the States.
  156. 156. quote president Obama‘s opening statement on the official White House site: »A world-class education is the single most importantfactor in determining not just whether our kids can compete for the best jobs, but whether America can out-compete countries aroundthe world.« This is what we instrumentalize education for. And this is from where it is trickling down.
  157. 157. policy-makers administrators educators students Instrumentalisation trickling downVia goals and metrics and funding allocations, policy-makers hand down this instrumentalization to administrators, who hand it downto the educators, who hand it down to students (through teaching to the test etc.), no matter whether the individuals in the systemsubscribe to this purpose or not.
  158. 158. ??? Get a good job get admitted to a good college MAX SAT & GPA get a good gradeThe same holds for parents and society at large: As long as a degree from a »good« college gets instrumentalized as a short-handindicator to determine whether you get a certain job, and as long as the GPA gets instrumentalized as a short-hand indicator todetermine whether you get admitted to (a »good«) college, this outer instrumentalization of school learning will be manifested ingrading.
  159. 159. recurring theme of this conference has been in-game assessment to improve the terrible experience of testing in school. Yet Iwould submit that what makes testing sucky is not that tests are badly designed (although they are), but that they are the most other-controlled, coercive, instrumentalized, ego-involved, consequential situation there is. You can hide tests away in gameplay as much asyou want: If students have to play a game, knowing that their in-game performance will be instrumented to generate a game, I submitthat this will generate the same amount of stress and anxiety as regular testing.
  160. 160. FailureAnother big theme of the past days was failure: How failure in games is somehow good and accepted and indeed a core component ofgood learning (see Super Meat Boy), and in school, a horrifying scar. Again, I would submit that the difference is not so much in thematerial design, but in the social framing: In school, failure is framed as highly consequential and ego-involving. In gameplay, failurehas no consequence attached by others, says nothing about you – and to the extent that it does, as in e-sports players doing atournament in order to make a living, it gives rise to the same stress and anxiety as school testing.
  161. 161. 6 Paideia as paidia Gamification is a promising proposition.So is there a way out? Is there a way not to instrumentalize play and learning? I think there is, and that is my third humble proposition:
  162. 162. Humble proposition #3 From instrumentalizing play and learning to paideia as paidiaWe should move from instrumentalizing play and learning to building a society for paideia as paidia. As you may tell from those words,we have now arrived at the promised ancient Greek philosophy.
  163. 163. More precisely, we have arrived with Aristotle. You see, in his »Nicomachean Ethics«, Aristotle asked a very similar question: What isthe ultimate goal, the thing that we dont do for something else, that we do for its own sake, and do everything else for its sake?
  164. 164. »If, then, there is some end of the thing we do,which we desire for its own sake (everythingelse being desired for the sake of this), …clearly this must be the good and the chiefgood.« Aristotle nichomachean ethics (1.1094a)
  165. 165. »Now such a thing happiness, above all else, is held to be.« Aristotle nichomachean ethics (1097b)And Aristotle had a pretty simple answer to this question.
  166. 166. Not seeking pleasure & avoiding painNow Aristotle was not a hedonist: He notes that happiness does not mean seeking bodily pleasure and avoiding bodily pain. Althoughchildren begin by being driven purely by bodily pleasure and pain, and the majority of people remain so, he thinks that they live a poorlive, »just like cattle«. He is looking for a deeper, lasting happiness.
  167. 167. εὐδαιμονία Well-being, flourishing, the good life: »the exercise of the rational faculties of the soul in conformity with excellence or virtue, or if there be several, the best and most final one.« Aristotle nichomachean ethics (1098a)It is eudaimonia – which we today might translate as flourishing, well-being, or the good life. And what is well-being for Aristotle?Quote: »the exercise of the rational faculties of the soul in conformity with excellence or virtue, or if there be several, the best and mostfinal one.« Now this may sound a tad cryptic, so let me explain how Aristotle comes to this conclusion.
  168. 168. εὐδαιμονία Well-being, flourishing, the good life: »the exercise of the rational faculties of the soul in conformity with excellence or virtue, or if there be several, the best and most final one.« Aristotle nichomachean ethics (1098a)It is eudaimonia – which we today might translate as flourishing, well-being, or the good life. And what is well-being for Aristotle?Quote: »the exercise of the rational faculties of the soul in conformity with excellence or virtue, or if there be several, the best and mostfinal one.« Now this may sound a tad cryptic, so let me explain how Aristotle comes to this conclusion.
  169. 169. For Aristotle, to flourish means to exercize and perfect one‘s specificcapacity, function or purpose – one‘s ergon – for its own sake.The ergon of human beings is reason, understood broadly: As humans,we have the unique capacity to not just be controlled by pleasure andpain, but (a) to reason and (b) to act in accordance with reason – that is,to perform deliberate, planned, goal-directed, self-determined action evenagainst our impulses. Both have their own, inherent »proper pleasure«.True eudaimonia requires to reason and act in accordance with reason»excellently,« virtuously. Virtue refers to the trained, acquired habits ordispositions necessary for doing something well – like the skills acraftsmen needs to develop to perform his craft well. But to be trulyvirtuous, action must not only be properly habituated so that it flowseffortlessly, Aristotle notes: It also has to be deliberate, conscious, anddone for its own sake, for its own »proper pleasure«.Doing something in accordance with virtue only because you weretrained to do so, without consciously knowing, valuing, and enjoyingdoing it virtuously is »merely decent«.
  170. 170. »If any desire pleasures which depend on themselves, they will find the satisfaction of their desires nowhere but in philosophy.« Aristotle politics (1267a)And that is why philosophy is such a great pastime for Aristotle: Properly cultivated, it is the autotelic exercize of mankind‘s highestcapacity, and it doing so autonomously, self-determinedly, and self-sufficiently. This conclusion has earned a lot of critique: MaybeAristotle‘s own innate highest capacity was to do philosophy – but that doesn‘t necessarily hold for everyone.
  171. 171. The notion of self-concordance provides the telos to ground a modern theory of the virtues. … Self-concordance is intrinsically motivated teleological activity that aligns with one‘s enduring values and interests.« Hope May aristotle‘s ethics (2010: 148/150)Along these lines, Hope May has recently provided an interesting re-reading of Aristotle through the lens of Self-Determination Theory.She says: Aristotle is wrong – we need to replace »reason« as the only ergon of man with our innate individual capacities. But he‘s rightin that positive psychology agrees that the autotelic exercize and perfection of one‘s innate capacities does support well-being.
  172. 172. »If we understand the ergon of a human being as self-concordance, then self- knowledge and the perfection of the analytic, navigational, and motivational competencies (to realize it) are the virtues.« Hope May aristotle‘s ethics (2010: 148)Furthermore, Aristotle is right in that the capacity to deliberately pursue our innate capacities, needs, and values, against the tug ofpleasure and pain, that is, to act self-determinedly, is in fact the ergon universal to all human beings. Virtues, in this reading, are theskills and competencies we need to do so.
  173. 173. PaideiaAnd as Aristotle noted time and again, although we have the innate capacity and indeed need to live a self-determined life, we need tobe educated to do so, and do so well. We begin as slaves to bodily pleasures and pains. That, then, is the proper and ultimate purposeof education in the Greek sense, of paideia: To cultivate the virtues required to flourish, to live a self-determined life. (And we can addthat it is also the precondition for all effective self-directed, interest-driven learning.)
  174. 174. »For the Greeks, the highest work of art was the living human being. … It (humanitas) describes the education of a human into its true form, into a proper, full human being. That is the real Greek paideia.« Werner Jaeger paideia: the ideals of greek culture (1934: 14)To quote the great scholar on the matter, Werner Jaeger: »For the Greeks, the highest work of art was the living human being. … It(humanitas) describes the education of a human into its true form, into a proper, full human being. That is the real Greek paideia.«
  175. 175. The ultimate goal of paideia is to enable the individual to come to its own understanding what »the good« is. Therefore, paideia is notinstrumentalizing: Its very purpose is to enable the individual to live a self-determined, non-instrumentalized life in accordance with itsown insight into what »the good life« is, and furthermore, to reflect whether the education it received served this purpose well, andthen deliberately embrace (in Self-Determination Theory terms, integrate) – or reject and change it (although that last bit is more amodern addition than original Aristotle). The purpose of the »Nicomachean Ethics« was to enable its students – who already broughtproper virtues with them – to gain this insight why the virtues were not just blind tradition, but something whose purpose they couldunderstand and based on that, deliberately embrace so that they would perfect their own education.
  176. 176. »While it (the city-state) comes into existence for the sake of life, it exists for the good life.« Aristotle politics (1.1252b)And this, to Aristotle, is the ultimate purpose of the state: To set up a constitution (politeia), laws, regulations, and an education(paideia) so that its members are enabled to live the good life together – given that man is a zoon politicon who both needs others tosubsist, and naturally desires to live with others.
  177. 177. Paidia as paideaSo how does all of this relate to play, paidia in the Greek term? The first obvious answer is that play is a good and proper form for anykind of learning. But I want to suggest a double answer that goes deeper than that. The first half is paidia as paideia, play as educationunderstood in the Greek sense.
  178. 178. the virtues of self-determined In play, we learn ...flourishing in a community Self-awareness; self-knowledge; self- control of emotion, attention, and effort; self-regulation distancing; resilience; self-efficacy; autonomous goal pursuit Attunement, empathy, theory of mind; social signaling; rule-following and rule social regulation negotiation; boundary negotiation; bonding, trust, intimacy Symbolic reasoning; creativity; set creative skills shifting; frame switching action. In humanAs we have seen, play is where we first practice and acquire the precise virtues that enable self-determineddevelopment, paidia, play, is the ideal and necessary space and form of true paideia, equipping us with the competencies we need tolive life well, and live life well with others.
  179. 179. Paideia AS paidiaThe second half of my answer is paideia as paidia, education as play.
  180. 180. the good lifeRemember that for Aristotle, eudaimonia is the autotelic, self-determined exercize and perfection of one‘s innate capacities – and notehow this definition maps quite well with what we saw play to be: the autotelic engagement in an activity with a shared focus onexploration, mastery, and fun, in attunement with others.
  181. 181. work playBut if such autotelic pursuit of excellence is the good life, then as long as we work for the sake of play, play for the sake of work (or playfor the sake of learning, and learn for the sake of life), as long as we frame teaching and learning as something you only do to»prepare« »make a living« or »have leisure«, rather than something we do for the excellence we find in it, we are modeling the »falselife«, we model to our students and each other that things should not be done, and done well, for their own sake.
  182. 182. work playMost importantly, we do not let them and us practice and partake in the good life. Work and school and play are all part of, not justpreparation for, the good life. We live the good life to the precise extent that we are able to transform whatever situation we findourselves in into a self-determined pursuit where we find some measure of excellence, some focus on mastery and joy, someconnection to our goals, needs, and values.
  183. 183. a thing well-done for its own sakeis a moment of life well-lived
  184. 184. Three humble propositions From game interventions in systems to the gameful restructuring of systems From designing game artifacts to the playful reframing of situations From instrumentalizing learning and play to building a society of paideia as paidiaThese, then, are my three humble propositions for moving the field of games and learning forward: To expand the scope of ourambition from deploying games as interventions in systems toward the gameful restructuring of systems (second-order change). Toexpand the scope of our attention from designing material systems toward the playful reframing of situations. And to realign our goalsfrom instrumentalizing learning and play toward building a society of paideia as paidia, of education as the site where we acquire thevirtues to live a self-determined, excellent life with others.
  185. 185. As if it were a game we chose to play when we do so, we learn to fully embrace our life: To seek out and determine our challenge and our freedom in the hand that we’vebeen dealt, and to play it with mastery and cunning, with creativity and style, as if it were a game we chose to play.
  186. 186. Thank you. @dingstweets
  187. 187. Read more books!bernie de koven richard ryan scott rigby & richard ryanThe Well-Played Game The Oxford Handbook of Glued to GamesA phenomenology of Human Motivation Accessible summary of currentgameplay Excellent introductory overview work in Self-Determination of current theories & research Theory on games
  188. 188. Read more books!mihaly csikszentmihalyi hope may dorothy singer et al.Flow: The Psychology of Aristotle‘s Ethics Play = LearningOptimal Experience An interesting if sometimes Good introduction into play‘sI know you »already read it.« forced psychological re-reading role for cognitive, social &Re-read it. Trust me of Aristotle‘s ethics emotional development
  189. 189. If you liked this, you will enjoy ...meaningful play ruling the worldGetting »Gamification« Right When Life Gets GamedDesign principles for the gameful restructuring »Gaming the system,« and other consequences ofof digital experiences using programs to regulate human conduct