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In this essay I describe the basic philosophy of my consultancy and design practices in education: Play is not about fun, it's evolutionary purpose is to increase the tacit understanding of the complexities in the real world. It supercharges the understanding of relationships between different components in our world.
“The child amidst his baubles is learning the action of light, motion, gravity, muscular force; and in the game of human life, love, fear, justice, appetite and man... interact.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
It's a dry and probably boring work but I lay down some the scientific principles for game-based learning I've developed as a designer. I introduce why a lot of the currently popular gamification attempts for education are psydoscientific and give out principles backed up by scientific research on how to develop cognitive skills with games and their pedagogy.
A lot of the popular engagement techniques in gamification for education are based on techniques developed by casual game companies like Zynga. This is fundamentally a flawed approach filled with psudoscientific claims by the "gamification gurus."
This work bases it's design principles on scientific research on games with origins outside the virtual-world like chess and the process grandmasters have to go through to achieve world-class performance. It's disregards the popular techniques that claim they'll fix education by discovering how Farmville got people to water virtual crops.