The idea for this came from a conversation one of our professors was having with some students in the spring of 2010, in which the students said “we should get achievements for being awesome.” She took that idea to our chair, who took it to Microsoft Research, who said “
We want to make the implicit map more explicit. What are the mileposts and markers along the way? How do they know they’re on the right track? How can we visualize their progress towards a goal?Narrative emerges…what does the narrative look like? How is lore disclosed?
As they complete activities, they will be collecting virtual artifacts, stocking their inventory with the tools we know they need to be successful.
This is less about pushing them to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do, and more about recognizing what they do, and allowing them to remember and reflect on their accomplishments.
Reflection is a powerful tool This is a service I signed up for a few months ago that tells me what I did a year ago in Foursquare. And these daily reminders are much more powerful than a leaderboard in encouraging me to check in on Foursquare regularly. What did we want to encourage our students to do?
When Andy first pitched this to MSR, he made a point of saying “GREAT DANGER HERE”…and he was right. The reason you don’t see this achievement approach everywhere in education is that it’s really hard to do well!
By adding external tangible rewards, we can actually do damage to our students’ intrinsic motivations. The focus needs to be on “now…that” rewards, rather than “if…then” rewards.
For this to be successful, it has to be voluntary, fun, and engaging. They have to vest in it as creators, not just consumers. This is the key takeaway from Deci & Ryan’s SDT work. We know this because we asked them
http://gamification-research.org/2011/09/a-quick-buck-by-copy-and-paste/http://gamification-research.org/2011/09/gamification-by-design-response-to-oreilly/So….what feelings of competence did we want to focus on?
Big questions that guided our content development.
We started with a very simple model for classifying the activities the game, drawn from Richard Bartle’s famous (to game designers and researchers, at least) MUD player types. But this model, while a valuable way to think about players, isn’t necessarily the right one for the kind of game we were designing.
When we started really thinking about the natural tensions at RIT—in particular, for our students, between design and development—we found that the history of RIT yielded some fascinating historical context for that tension.
This was the model that emerged for us—the tension between the athenaeum and the mechanics institute, as well as the tension between individual and collaborative competencies. Bloom’s taxonomy informs the rings, but the important part is not just expansion but BALANCE. The problem with “atheneaeum”, however, is that NOBODY can pronounce (or spell) it. More importantly, we found as we tried to categorize activities it was too difficult to operationalize “athenaeum” and “mechanics”.
Talk about user-generated quest content.
At the end of fall quarter (late mid-November), we had 423 registered users, of whom 261 had completed the tutorial. over 60% of all students in the School registered for the game, and nearly 40% of all students have completed the initiate level
What we ended up with was one axis of “exploration” and “mastery”, and another of “individual” and “social”.
A Gaming Layer for Student Success Elizabeth Lawley Ryan MartinezRochester Institute of Technology University of Wisconsin
―We are beginning tosee ourselves not justfrom the inside, as anactor doing somethingon a daily basis, butfrom the outside—understanding what welook like to the worldaround us anddeveloping a kind ofhybrid identity.‖ – Aram Simmreich
―My point is that the ‗fun‘, the pleasure of these elements does not come from some extrinsic reward value of those elements, but chiefly from the experience of competence they give rise to.‖Sebastian Deterding
What behaviors did we want to reward and encourage? What feelings of competence could we engender?What did we want our students to remember and reflect on?
I walked in the next morning and several of the students(including Somara) were waiting outside the room to hear myreaction, which was my turning around and yelling"SOMARA!!!" Definitely a good time :)