Coursera Reflections on
At the beginning…
Learning about Gamification is a new experience but one that
comes with some obvious associations…clearly game related.
Learning how games and their elements could have a novel
approach when it comes to applications in the areas outside of
video games seemed very interesting.
Coursera is a useful
platform and the way the
class is structured follows
the ideology of the material
that is being presented.
The material is engaging
and is appropriate for all
levels of involvement.
The layout is very simple
and assessment is based
on quizzes based on video
assignments and a final
The idea of gamification is very
alluring, especially when
considering reluctant learners and
strategies to encourage the
involvement of “users” in a
The course does a good job of
breaking down the different
elements of games, gives easily
relatable examples and starts the
in an optimistic way when
Professor Werbach states from a
book “I am a Game Designer.” The
idea that we are all capable of
making games is an important
concept to remember whenever
one starts to design learning
programs with these elements.
This screenshot of a game points out the different aspects of the game and in the
lecture, Professor Werbach describes how even something that appears to be
trivial is added for an intended purpose. In a discussion about a progress
bar, Werbach stated the popular networking site LinkedIn saw more completed
profiles by just adding a progress bar. That is a prime example of a gamification
principle being used for another intended purpose.
What Makes Games
• How does a
things that we have
to do – fun?
• Fun is not limited to
recreation. It can
something we enjoy
What are ways people can
What kind of motivation?
Is it enough?
The motivation in gaming may not have any intrinsic
value, but still has an engaging or motivational value
to some. Motivation in a broad spectrum may be
difficult to pinpoint because so many different things
Developing a User
Think of users and different ways to motivate them
Think about the nature of the task at hand gets us
thinking creatively about how to deploy motivation in
a systematic way.
Areas of Interest
Of all the things encountered so far, favorite sections
included the interviews with Ethan Mollick and Bing
Gordon, two well-versed individuals that have been
within the field or have preaching about the field of
gamification for several years now.
Ethan Mollick worked on developing games for the
military to create a better cultural understanding and
Bing Gordon of KleinerPerkings, Cuafield and Byers is
a Silicon Valley inhabitant with past ties to video game
maker Electronic Arts.
Ethan Mollick Interview
Mollick pushed home the importance
of not only the importance of
gamification and its impact it has
today with many hours devoted to
playing video games and the
established links between gaming
and psychology and sociology but
advocates for more research and
sharing best practices and failures
He felt concerned because of the potential for morality issues.
Games he says, are the difference between “work someone thinks
they do to the work they are doing”(Mollick, 2014). While
gamification leverages the inherent appeal of
games, “graphics, leaderboards and avatars,” it can also be
coercive, and there may be problems between reward systems
that are virtual and real.
In the interview, Mollick conveyed his feeling of optimism in
general for the field of gamification and states that the ability to
make work appear more interesting without changing the
underlying effects is a sentiment that can be appreciated when
developing curricula of the future.
Bing Gordon Interview
Some of the important aspects that Gordon brings to light in terms
of gamification is the immediate feedback that games provide and
the fact that they are quantified. He also goes on to discuss the
success that games have in creating collaboration of strangers
and the ability those have to learn social norms while playing
games. He says that “things working in the best games are the
best principles”(Gordon, 2014). He continues to say that there are
some misconceptions in games that some think that the primary
objective is winning competition. Gordon states that cooperation
trumps competition and too much competition may in fact lead to
He stated that high score ranking is something that is only
successful for those that are 90% on the way to success.
Bing Gordon Interview
Gordon began closing the
interview by discussing the
pressure that gamification is
going to put on the school
system and brought up the
interesting point that
grading is in fact a way of
gamification for the
Gamification in Education
Muntean’s theoretical analysis of gamification is that it can be used as a tool to increase
engagement in e-learning platforms (Muntean, 2011).Gamificationmechanics can be used to
motivate and trigger desired behaviors on students.
Silva proposesgamificationelements, focusing specifically on social game mechanisms. These
can be included in e-learning courses to potentially increase motivation and engagement. Silva
suggests customization, community interaction or leaderboards as proposed mechanisms.
The gamifiedapproach might include the following modules:
Introduction to the computer, the operating system, networks and communication.
Gamification in Education
Creating gamification systems that increases student motivation, one needs to focus on the
fundamental elements that make videogames appealing to their players. The authors cite Lee and
Hammer (2011), that games are motivating because of their impact on the cognitive, emotional and
social areas of players; and so, gamification in education should also focus on those three areas.
In the cognitive area, a game provides a complex system of rules along with series of tasks that
guide players through a process to master those rules. Games try to assure that players
always know what to do next, and that they have the necessary knowledge to do it. When the
learning process is customizable, task sequences are usually non-linear, and players have a
certain degree of freedom to choose which tasks to accomplish depending on skill and
The impact on the emotional area works mainly around the concept of success and failure.
Players complete tasks and are expected to have positive emotions because of overcoming
difficulties. Games reward players, giving them immediate recognition, in the form of
points, trophies or other items. Players can also experience anxieties, but they should not be
meant to become frustrations with the games.
The interaction of multiple players have an impact in the social area of games. Videogames
offer a wide range of multiplayer interaction mechanisms which make it possible for players to
cooperate helping each other towards a common goal, to compete trying to impair other players
or to perform better than them, or just to interact socially by talking, flirting, trading or gifting for
example. All these kinds of interaction let players build different in-game identities taking
meaningful roles and obtaining recognition from other players (Lee &Hoadley, 2007).
This course has a lot to offer and the information presented makes
you want to learn more about systems that Professor Werbach
discusses in the course. There will surely be more going
back, watching videos over again and delving further into
examples discussed. The great thing about this course’s
multimedia component and flexibility across platforms is the ease
in which doing these things are. Surely the journey has just
"Bing Gordon Interview." Interview by Kevin Werbach. Coursera.
University of Pennsylvannia, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.
“Ethan Mollick Interview with Prof. Werbach." Interview by Kevin
Werbach. Coursera. University of Pennsylvannia, n.d. Web. 15
Feb. 2014. <https://class.coursera.org/gamification-003/lecture>.
nguez, A., Saenz-de-Navarrete, J., deMarcos, L.,
s, C., &
(2013) Gamifyinglearning experiences: Practical implications and
outcomes. Computers &Education. 63. p. 380–392.