Let’s hear from some experts in the field of motivational game design. How can game components be used to motivate learning? We’ll look at some basic game mechanics and dynamics shared by Stephen Deterding, Seth Priebatsch, and Jane McGonigal. Stephen Deterding and Jane McGonigal research game design and game mechanics in non-game contexts. In other words, they look at how game mechanics can impact the real world, and what components of games are necessary.
Stephen Deterding is a PhD researcher at the Research Center for Media and Communication at Hamburg University. He is one of the foremost proponents of the effective use of game mechanics to motivate behavior. He breaks down game mechanics into three main components. First, the use of make-believe, rules, and challenge. The second component is goals and feedback. The third and final component is a free, safe space, with shared toy objects.
Seth Priebatsch – who calls himself a “Proud Princeton Dropout” runs SCVNGR, which is a mobile start-up company trying to build a gaming layer on the world. He indicates that there are seven dynamics in gaming, but only shares 4 of them in his famous TED talk. He joked that he wanted to have a proprietary advantage still after giving the presentation.
SethPriebatsch’s four game dynamics are the appointment dynamic, in which to succeed, one must return at a predefined time to take a predetermined action, the influence and status dynamic, or the ability of one player to modify the behavior of another’s actions through social pressure, the progression dynamic, which indicates making progress, moving through steps in a granular fashion and finally the dynamic of communal discovery where everyone has to work together to achieve something.
Jane McGonigal, a world renowned designer of alternate reality games, and the author of “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How They Can Change the World”, indicates there are four primary components that make up a game, defined simply as one, a goal, two, rules, three, a feedback system, and four, voluntary participation.
Urgent optimism is the sense that one is tackling challenges with a reasonable hope for success. This aligns well with learning theory and the appropriate level of challenge. She indicates that human beings are happier working hard at something they enjoy than relaxing. This concept is known as blissful productivity. It’s based on the science of Flow and the psychology of experience. Gamers who play collaborative games are also becoming skilled at collaboration, something she calls social fabric. And finally, gamers are engaged in something with epic meaning, they are working towards something bigger than themselves.
Game mechanics what experts say
How can game components be used to motivate learning?
1. Make-believe, rules,
2. Goals, feedback
3. Free, safe space,
shared toy objects
He says there are 7
dynamics. The 4 he shares
1. Appointment dynamic
2. Influence and status
3. Progression dynamic
4. Communal discovery
Appointment dynamic: in which to succeed,
one must return at a predefined time to take a
2. Influence and status: the ability of one player to
modify the behavior of another’s actions
through social pressure
3. Progression dynamic: making progress, moving
through steps in a granular fashion
4. Communal discovery: everyone has to work
together to achieve something
What is a game?
1. A goal
3. A feedback system
with a reasonable
hope for success
humans are happier
working hard than