The Quest for Learner Engagement: Games, Gamification and the Future of Learning


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At the end of the The Quest for Learner Engagement: Games, Gamification, and the Future of Learning presentation, the participant should be able to:

Differentiate among the different learning applications of games, gamification and stimulations.
• Identify four game-elements appropriate for the gamification of learning.

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The Quest for Learner Engagement: Games, Gamification and the Future of Learning

  1. 1. By Karl M. Kapp Bloomsburg University Gamification of Learning &Instruction  EMAIL: TWITTER: @kkapp BLOG:‐notes/ The Quest for Learner Engagement:  Games, Gamification, and the Future of  Learning  Image from “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl M. Kapp” 
  2. 2. Brief history of… The World
  3. 3. Image purchased for use from iStockphoto
  4. 4. Image obtained from Microsoft Clipart
  5. 5. Image obtained from Microsoft Clipart 
  6. 6. Image obtained from Microsoft Clipart 
  7. 7. We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in. --Palm CEO Ed Colligan, 16 Nov 2006
  8. 8. This is our best iPhone launch yet — more than 9 million new iPhones sold — a new record for first weekend sales—Tim Cook, 2013. Palm sold to HP in 2010, by 2011 Palm was done. Presenter’s iPhone Image, Screen Capture
  9. 9. ENIAC's main control panel US Army Photo Located at 
  10. 10. Image obtained from Microsoft Clipart 
  11. 11. 4 23 Source: Atari Inc.
  12. 12. Source  Midway, Inc. 
  13. 13. Source: Brøderbund
  14. 14. What variables do I balance to keep my person happy? How should I manage my time? Source:‐us
  15. 15. What leadership strategy should I use? Source:
  16. 16. Source:
  17. 17. Image obtained from Microsoft Clipart 
  18. 18. Image obtained from Microsoft Clipart 
  19. 19. Not another  online  lecture. Image obtained from Microsoft Clipart 
  20. 20. Sorry, had you  on mute, could  you repeat the  question. Image obtained from Microsoft Clipart 
  21. 21. I am going to  need more  coffee. Image obtained from Microsoft Clipart 
  22. 22. are Needed New Instructional Approaches are Needed Image modified from Microsoft Clipart 
  23. 23. Gamification
  24. 24. Gamification Lots of Hype
  25. 25. Gartner Group predicts by 2015,  40 percent  of Global 1000 organizations will use  gamification as the primary mechanism to  transform business operations.
  26. 26. Gartner Group predicts 80 percent of  current gamified applications will fail to  meet business objectives, primarily due  to poor design.
  27. 27. Let’s Play Fact or Fishy… Image modified from Microsoft Clipart 
  28. 28. Rules • A statement is presented – Choose the best response • Text Keyword Response: – To 37607 Take out  your text‐ machines Standard Texting Fees  Apply!  Images obtained from Microsoft Clipart 
  29. 29. Two Teams teama teamb
  30. 30. How To Respond via Texting 1. Polleverywhere has no access to your phone number 2. Capitalization doesn’t matter, but spaces and spelling do TIPS Amaze Inamaze alright Amaze Image modified from PollEveryWhere (free download with software purchase)
  31. 31. “Games” and “Gamification” are the same thing. Is that Fact or Fishy?
  32. 32. Image modified from Microsoft Clipart 
  33. 33. Gamification is the use of gaming elements integrated into a training program aligned with training and/or business goals to promote change in behavior Game-based Learning is the use of a game to teach knowledge, skills and abilities to learners using a self-contained space. What is this “game” stuff? Simulation Learning is a realistic, controlled- risk environment where learners can practice specific behaviors and experience the impacts of their decisions.
  34. 34. • Gamification is to Learning Game as: – Part is to Whole – Piece is to Puzzle – Slice is to Pie – Steering Wheel is to Car • Gamification uses elements of games but is not a game in-and-of itself. What is this “game” stuff?
  35. 35. Gamification + Simulation = Learning Game What is this “game” stuff?
  36. 36. Gamification Elements that Aid Learning 1. Story 2. Challenge 3. Mystery 4. Characters/Avatar 5. Challenge 6. Levels 7. Feedback 8. Replayability 9. Freedom to Fail 10.Asethetics 11.Time 12.Rewards Image modified from Microsoft Clipart 
  37. 37. Gamification Elements that Aid Learning 1. Story 2. Challenge 3. Mystery 4. Characters/Avatar 5. Challenge 6. Levels 7. Feedback 8. Replayability 9. Freedom to Fail 10.Asethetics 11.Time 12.Rewards NOT Enough Time  Image modified from Microsoft Clipart 
  38. 38. Elements of Games 1. Reward Structures 2. Feedback 3. Story 4. Challenge Image modified from Microsoft Clipart 
  39. 39. Adding points, badges and leaderboard to any training makes it awesome! Is that Fact or Fishy?
  40. 40. Fishy… if it was that easy…this would be the most engaging  game in the world. Source:
  41. 41. 20% increase in profile completion. Source;
  42. 42. Use coins, points and rewards to provide feedback on  performance, updates on progress and level of  correctness.  Kapp, K. M. (2012) The Gamification of Learning and Instruction. New York: Pfeiffer. Chapter Four. Pages 89-98. Source:
  43. 43. Howard-Jones. P.A., & Demetriou, S. (2008, September 11). Uncertainty and engagement with learning games. Instructional Science, 37, 519-536. Image modified from “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl M. Kapp”  The value, or size, of an anticipated reward influences  the motivational signal sent to the brain only within  the contexts of the reward system.
  44. 44. Receiving a PREDICTABLE reward  releases one shot of dopamine. Howard-Jones. P.A., & Demetriou, S. (2008, September 11). Uncertainty and engagement with learning games. Instructional Science, 37, 519-536. Image from “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl M. Kapp” 
  45. 45. Receiving an UNPREDICTABLE reward  releases two shots of dopamine.  Yeah, me! Howard-Jones. P.A., & Demetriou, S. (2008, September 11). Uncertainty and engagement with learning games. Instructional Science, 37, 519-536. Image from “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl M. Kapp” 
  46. 46. What can you do? Intelligently add game elements to instruction. Use points, rewards and badges to convey meaning…not simply completion.
  47. 47. Feedback Source: NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.
  48. 48. Source: NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.
  49. 49. The most effective feedback focuses the learner's attention on the correct answer? Is that Fact or Fishy?
  50. 50. The most helpful feedback provides specific  comments  about errors and suggestions for  improvement. It also encourages learners to focus  their attention thoughtfully on the task rather than  on simply getting the right  answer. Shute, V. J., Ventura, M., Bauer, M. I., & Zapata‐Rivera, D. (2009). Melding the power of serious games and  embedded assessment to monitor and foster learning: Flow and grow. In U. Ritterfeld, M. J. Cody, & P.  Vorderer (Eds.), Serious Games: Mechanisms and Effects. Philadelphia, PA: Routledge/LEA. 295‐321. Source:‐us
  51. 51. Leaderboards provide  opportunities for players to  receive feedback about their  performance as compared to  others.  Image from “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl M. Kapp” 
  52. 52. Garci, S., & Tor, A. (2009) The N‐Effect: More Competitors, Less Competition> Psychological Science, Volume 20—Number 7  Test scores fall as the  average number of test  takers at test‐taking venues increases. People finished a timed quiz  faster, trying to be in top  20%, if they believed they  were in a pool of 10 versus a  pool of 100. Called the “N‐Effect” Image from “The Gamification of Learning and Instruction by Karl M. Kapp” 
  53. 53. What can you do? Use feedback to inform learners of errors in thinking and to focus them on the task they are learning. Create leaderboards by department or group rather than individually.
  54. 54. Learners remember facts better… When presented as bulleted list rather than presented as a story. Is that Fact or Fishy?
  55. 55. Researchers have found that the  human brain has a natural affinity for  narrative construction. Yep, People tend to remember facts  more accurately if they encounter  them in a story rather than in a list. And they rate legal arguments as more  convincing when built into narrative  tales rather than on legal precedent. Carey, B. (2007) this is Your Life (and How You Tell it). The New York Times. Melanie Green Chapter 2 “The Gamification of Learning and  Instruction.  Image from Microsoft Clipart 
  56. 56. NikePlus Stats for Karl Source:, Presenter’s account
  57. 57. Source:
  58. 58. What can you do? Use meaningful stories. Provide the context for the learning.
  59. 59. One way to engage learners is to… Present them with a difficult challenge. Is that Fact or Fishy?
  60. 60. Fact. Provide a challenge Jones, B., Valdez, G., Norakowski, J., & Rasmussen, C. (1994). Designing learning and technology for educational reform. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. [Online]. Available: and Schlechty, P. C. (1997). Inventing better schools: An action plan for educational reform. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Basss. Source:
  61. 61. Re-design the Instruction to Start with a Challenge Image from Microsoft Clipart
  62. 62. Nurse Assistant Training • Course Objectives – Describe the nursing assistant’s legal and ethical responsibilities regarding medical records. – List basic rules for recording medical information. – Identify who is able to receive patient information.
  63. 63. It is your first day on the job as a nurse’s assistant and you have just witnessed a senior nurse appear to provide medical information to a dear friend of a terminally ill patient. What should you do? Image from Microsoft Clipart
  64. 64. What can you do? Give your learners the “Kobayashi Maru” equivalent.
  65. 65. “Kobayashi Maru” is a no win, difficult situation designed to teach “thinking.”
  66. 66. Putting it All Together
  67. 67. Source:
  68. 68. Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan dedicated to providing Californians with access to high- quality health care at an affordable price. Source:
  69. 69. Wanted to serve as a model of how an organization can successfully implement a wellness program that benefits employees and the organization. Source:
  70. 70. Daily program focusing on physical, mental and emotional health using gamification techniques. Source:
  71. 71. Source:
  72. 72. Source:
  73. 73. Source:
  74. 74. Gamification is part of an over all effort that has resulted in… 80% of Blue Shield Employees participate in at least one wellness program. The incidence of hypertension has fallen by two-thirds. Disability claims are down. 50% drop in smoking prevalence and a similar increase in regular physical activity among employees Health Results Source:
  75. 75. Business Results Wellness program participants are paying $3 million a year less in their share of  insurance premiums. The company benefited by cutting annual health cost growth for its employees from  double to single digits. Blue Shield expects a 3:1 ROI for its wellness program‐and gets it. The company has seen its annual medical and lost‐productivity costs drop by $5 million. Source:
  76. 76. Content References • The Gamification of Wellness – • Pharmville: Applying Gamification to Healthcare – Applying-Gamification-Healthcare • Gamification Boosts Employee Health Behavior, Blue Shield Argues – boosts-employee-health-beha/232900572
  77. 77. Retention benefits  between 35% and 61%,  with average of 41%. Subject matter was  Anatomy and Physiology. Dobson, J. L. (2013)    Retrieval practice is an efficient method of enhancing the retention of anatomy and physiology information Advances  in Physiology Education  37: 184–191, 2013; doi:10.1152/advan.00174.2012 Spaced Retrieval and Retrieval Practice Image from Microsoft Clipart
  78. 78. Working Indian men (aged 35—55 years) with impaired  glucose tolerance were randomly assigned to either a  mobile phone messaging intervention or standard care.  A study using a randomized control group conducted a  trial between Aug 10, 2009, and Nov 30, 2012, at ten  sites in southeast India with over 500 subjects. Ramachandran, A.  et. al. Effectiveness of mobile phone messaging in prevention of type 2 diabetes by lifestyle modification in men in  India: a prospective, parallel‐group, randomised controlled trial The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 11  September 2013 doi:10.1016/S2213‐8587(13)70067‐6 Image from Microsoft Clipart
  79. 79. Ramachandran, A., et. al.., Effectiveness of mobile phone messaging in prevention of type 2 diabetes by lifestyle modification in men in  India: a prospective, parallel‐group, randomised controlled trial The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 11  September 2013 doi:10.1016/S2213‐8587(13)70067‐6 “Use stairs instead of an  elevator” “Avoid snacks while watching TV;  you may overeat. “ Image from Microsoft Clipart
  80. 80. Ramachandran, A., et. al.., Effectiveness of mobile phone messaging in prevention of type 2 diabetes by lifestyle modification in men in  India: a prospective, parallel‐group, randomised controlled trial The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Early Online Publication, 11  September 2013 doi:10.1016/S2213‐8587(13)70067‐6 Lowered risk of developing  Type 2 diabetes by 36%. Image from Microsoft Clipart
  81. 81. 1) Games and Gamification are not the same thing but both are powerful from a learning perspective. 2) Gamification is more than adding points, badges and leaderboards. 3) Use stories rather than bulleted lists to present facts. 4) Use stories that are related to the context of the desired learning outcome. 5) Present learners with a difficult challenge to engage and motivate them. 6) Feedback should be targeted to learner needs. 7) Keep leaderboards relatively small, by department or region—not by individual. Takeaways
  82. 82. Copy of Slides and Notes available at Contact Karl at: