Encouraging Personal Learning Through Game-Based Risk-Free Incentives



As discussion of leveraging personal learning networks for Leadership 2.0 began, one thing that we kept coming back to was the resistance to change that is so prevalent through administrations all over the education world. If Leadership 2.0 is to embrace change as a key principle, facilitating that change with administrators is really going to be job one. This discussion of bringing people to learn new things brought about the discussion of a topic in the video game community called Game Flow.

Game Flow 101



Game Flow Graph
Game Flow Graph
Game Flow is an adaptation of the Flow Theory as conceived by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi whose "life's work [was] the study of what makes people truly happy, satisfied and fulfilled." Game Flow boils down to a set of criteria that desribe the essential qualities of a fun activity and can be tracked as the change in challenge to personal user abilities. As an actor (participant) in an activity, whether game, hobby, or work, works through that activity, trends will emerge that can point the outside observer to how "fun" and engaging this activity is and can help to quantify the specific fun elements out so that they may be replicated. We have included an article, in the event that you have never played a video game before, on how Game Flow works as well as the MFA Master's Thesis, both by Jenova Chen, that deals with this topic in much greater detail.

Flow in Games (and Everything Else) by Jenova Chen
Flow in Games: a Jenova Chen MFA Thesis

Qualities of Game Flow



Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi quantifies 8 key qualities of a "fun activity":
  • A challenge activity that requires skills
  • The merging of action and awareness
  • Clear goals
  • Direct feedback
  • Concentration on the task at hand
  • The sense of control
  • The loss of self-consciousness
  • The transformation of time

Using these 8 qualities we can then construct the Game Flow Graph which tracks Flow as the relationship between Challenge and Ability. In any game, as the player progresses so also does his abilities within the game world. By increasing the challenge relative to the player's abilities, Flow can be achieved. Increase his abilities without an appropriate increase in challenge and boredom sets in. Conversely if the challenges the user faces increase too rapidly compared to his abilities (or percieved abilities), anxiety will take over. In both cases, users will stop playing or participating in their activity because it seems to be either beneath them or too complex for them to complete.

Flow in Leadership 2.0



It would seem, then that if personal learning and professional development were both made "fun" activities for administrators, they would be more apt to encourage others to participate in these activities as well. The problem we found as we analyzed the problem using our Decision Making and Project Planning Rationale we can come up with this simple matrix:
Condition
Barrier (Yes...but)
User Story (Yes...And!)
Resources for Change
Lack of "Fun" and Engagement in Personal Learning and Professional Development Activities
Perceived Abilities vs Challenge, Possible Public and/or Professional Embarressment
I would like to be able to learn at my own pace but also track the progress of myself and others.
Trackable Achievements (ala Console Video Games)
Lack of "Fun" and Engagement in Personal Learning and Professional Development Activities
Perceived Abilities vs Challenge, Possible Public and/or Professional Embarressment
I would like to learn without fear of negative consequences to my job or reputation.
Milestone Rewards, a no-consequence, risk-free training environment
Lack of "Fun" and Engagement in Personal Learning and Professional Development Activities
Perceived Abilities vs Challenge, Possible Public and/or Professional Embarressment
I would like to be assessed on a regular basis without feeling like an idiot.
Quarterly training reviews that only post when passed and direct users to learning resources to fill in learning gaps
In order to give each of these topics their full due in discussion, we discuss each in the following sections.


Discussion


Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
FEEDBACK NEEDED - Game-Based Risk-Free Incentives chorusboy chorusboy 0 114 Jul 14, 2009 by chorusboy chorusboy
Invitation Dolton Dolton 0 128 Jul 13, 2009 by Dolton Dolton