Gamification: I Call Bulls**t!

Here are the 3 best reasons you should think twice about gamification.
What the hell is Adam on about?
If this is what you’re thinking, you may need a little enlightenment. Keep reading

 I managed to squeeze time out of “gameful” guru Professor Mika LaVaque-Manty of the University of Michigan. He explained his stance on gamification, how he effectively utilised it, and how to be successful at being gameful.

What does this all mean? How do I pass this unit? Prove to me that gamification isn’t actually bullshit! What about my privacy?

Listen here to this 20 minute chat with Mika to find out. Don’t have time or don’t want to listen to my stupid voice? Then have a look at the 3 valuable lessons I learned below.

  1. Gamification of a unit is a totally effective way to redeem yourself from the tunnel of failure we all fall down.

Mika told me that if we can change that terrible habit of; that we start on 100 points and slowly lose them, then there’s a chance for all of us. Including those of you who are still hungover from Friday night’s shenanigans.

If you can justify that you’re starting on 0 points, and utilising multiple sources to learn, then expect the unexpected. The more approaches you take to getting the result for that assessment,  the higher chance you have at levelling up and moving onto the next task.

  1. Didn’t do too good? That’s fine, try again.

The attitude that failure is not an option is ridiculously valuable. Gamification, or as Mika refers to it as; being “gameful” is an awesome way to realise that this isn’t the end. He calls it a “safe failure”; where you have a safety net protecting you from falling down the “woe is me” wishing well. You still have the next assessment or…quest to tackle to get to the next level. Sure it’s week 5, but you can still have a chance to redeem yourself. Remember, you’re going to do better only if you give it a shot. Learn from your last quest, and draw up a different game plan.

  1. I don’t want everybody knowing my marks, or how much I suck. What about my privacy?

The most important elements of being gameful I learned from Mika included, that there should never be a leader board, in other words – nobody should ever know what one another’s scores are. It can damage a student’s morale and drive to work, create a sense of displacement and isolation and become an ineffective way or driving initiative.

The importance of this is to build a self-motivation, find something that drives you to learn more! Mika believes that a public leaderboard can counteract the context of “safe-failures” For me, this was to experiment with podcasts, learn how to conduct a sociable; yet informative interview, and it’s definitely worked!


Still reading? Great!

I got in contact with Mika by googling “gamification in university”, the article titled “How Do You (successfully) Gamify a Course?

contained an interview with him. Have a read if the interview interested you, he’s got some great ideas.

Mika sent me in the direction of a blogpost called “Gamification is bullshit”   written by Ian Bogost, who is a games philosopher and developer. The articles identifies the issues in gamification, you may find this interesting, seeing that almost all of the elements mentioned in this post are omitted from the unit.

More info on Mika.

I believe that self-drive is the easiest way to get good marks, create a motivation, a self-interest, and that if you invest some of your time into something, you’ll find that it’s much easier to achieve a good mark.

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