Games in Education: Gamification



The principles in this course did not originate in a computer lab but, rather, from the acute neurological and psychiatric care wards of large hospitals. Thus this course presents general principles of gamification that can be applied to the full range of the learning spectrum, ranging from people with severe disabilities through to post-graduate and professional development applications

Start date: Learn at your own pace

Duration: 6 Weeks

About the Course

Outline of the Six Modules

  1. Introduction to Gamification
  2. Strategic Use of Games
  3. Gamification Application to Education
  4. Formal Properties of Games, Uses in assessment
  5. Leveling the playing field, Scenarios, Hero’s Journey
  6. The Active Ingredient In Games And Multimedia

Professional Development Certification

To receive a certificate of completion for professional development purposes contact the lecturer through OpenLearning.

Course Presenter

Tom Benjamin, PhD has had a long association with the University of NSW in Sydney, as a clinical psychologist in its teaching hospitals, lecturer in information systems, post-graduate supervisor, and expert forensic witness.

Gamification and Education

The Federation of American Scientists hailed gamification as “the next great discovery”.

Gamification is the process of transforming something into a game. It has been tipped for everything from classroom teaching to psychometric evaluation and training of applicants for high-level jobs.

Such high stakes demand some theoretical and experimental underpinning at the least. This is a university-level course that attempts to provide some of this. It covers educational, motivational and measurement properties of games. These are distilled from the whole range and history of board and parlor games, sports, and computer games. It is conceptual rather than prescriptive –ie- concepts rather than canned lesson plans.  

The course practices what it preaches. It was developed not in a professional studio, but from a coffee table with home-level software and hardware readily-available to individuals, organizations or schools. This was intentional to emphasize to teachers, therapists and trainers that this is a low-cost approach that they can apply in do-it-yourself custom gamification to suit their own professional needs.

Course Format

The course is in the overall format of a quest – a simple, versatile, scalable game format. Information is provided in movie vignettes which launch students on their ‘hero’s journey’ to find information, apply it to their own circumstances and share it with other course participants.

There are six modules comprising 17 short movies covering the basic principles of games and applicable psychological theories. The movies are just a tool to introduce an idea, to launch you on your own hero’s journey. The Activities require you to apply these ideas to your own teaching, therapy, or training.

The two game demo’s in the format of a web quest based on music are examples of how to create clues. But you can apply the same principles to any subject.

The purpose of gamification in education and therapy is not to entertain. Our goal is to get our learners interested in the learning itself – the subject matter. So the game should draw attention to the subject matter. The learner is the hero and the learning is the prize. So we hope you’ll feel heroic as we journey through this course.

Supplementary Materials

Materials such as spreadsheet tools are provided for download to make your own games as complex or as simple as you like. There is an ocean of edu-games, that this course calls ‘gamelets’, and lesson plans for teachers on the Web. This course offers a way of integrating these building blocks into themes the course calls ‘meta-games’. The meta-game provides the binding theme and the measurement properties necessary for cost/effective application.

Follow up is planned for more specific details on game and multimedia development.

In addition to the OpenLearning blogs, my personal blog http://www.tom-benjamin.com will have additional observations. Techniques for creating movies and multimedia are at 

http://www.movie-tom.com   http://www.tv-tom.com   http://www.radio-tom.com

Course Team

Tom Benjamin
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