Category Archives: Research and Thoughts

Thoughts and reflections by Natalie Denmeade on play, learning, diversity as amplified by technology.

The Hero’s Learning Journey

The purpose of this paper is to discuss how educators can harness the natural momentum of learning to create a dramatic and exciting hero’s learning journey. Given the importance of motivation, educators can borrow ideas from game designers by using gamification – a process to re-frame a real life goal to be more appealing and achievable. A series of learning activities, developed to meet both cognitive and emotional needs, results in an engaging learning journey.

The concept presented, based on PSI Theory, OCEAN Big Five character traits and player/learner archetypes, is that learners are motivated by three basic needs: affiliation, competence or certainty (assuming other physiological needs are met).

Armed with insight into types of motivations at different phases, learner experience designers can create different learning journeys and user profiles. Learning activities can be planned for each need and phase based on changing motivations: collaborate and curate (affiliation), choice and … Continue Reading ››

Inside Out – a study of emotions by Pixar

This week I watched the Pixar movie 'Inside Out"  The story is:
"Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters.  " Source: Inside Out (2015) - IMDb
I really enjoyed the movie, and liked the moral of the story that sadness and other 'negative' emotions are a valuable  part of us, just as much as being optimistic. Fear was presented as a mixed bag of keeping us safe and making us paranoid, while Anger was pretty much painted as the bad guy. Emotions are complex and this movie was based on research and very talented storytellers! I am quite a connoisseur of Pixar and kids movies over the last decade, and was delighted to see such a deep theme being passed on to a generation of little minds. (Avengers handling of Singularity blew me away too!) The movie was a much easier way to explore concepts of psychology than the academic papers … Continue Reading ››

Immediate Feedback, delayed Feedback or Layered Feedback?

Teachers entering the world of Gamification receive very mixed messages about feedback. What is it.. how often it should be delivered ... how much feedback (versus discovery) .. does feedback have negative consequences? I am reading this article with comments by Karl Kapp where he says:
You are right; most games provide immediate, corrective feedback. You know right-away if you are performing the right action and, if not, the consequences of performing the wrong action. A number of games also provide delayed feedback in the form of after-action reviews. These are often seen in games using branching. At the end of the game, the player is given a description of choices she made versus the correct choices. So, delayed feedback is common in some types of games. In terms of what is missing in terms of feedback, I think that most learning games do a poor job of layering feedback. In well-designed video games, at the first level of help, a player can receive a vague clue. If this doesn’t work or too much time passes, the game provides a more explicit clue and finally, if that doesn’t work, the player receives step-by-step instructions. Most learning games are too blunt. They tend … Continue Reading ››

Game Theory: Four types of behaviour

(Some notes as I try to get my head around this ..)

20% Optimist

Cooperates wherever T < R (that is, they cooperate in the HG and in the SH and defect otherwise). By using this strategy, these subjects aim to obtain the maximum payoff without taking into account the likelihood that their counterpart will allow them to get it, in agreement with a maximax behavior (31). Accordingly, we call this first phenotype “optimists.”

21% Pessimist

Conversely, we label subjects in the second phenotype “pessimists”  because they use a maximin principle (32) to choose their actions, cooperating only when S > P (that is, in HG and SG) to ensure a best worst-case scenario. The behaviors of these two phenotypes, which can hardly be considered rational [as discussed by Colman (31)], are also associated with different degrees of risk aversion.

30% Envious

As was the case with optimists and pessimists, this third behavior is far from being rational in a self-centered sense, in so far as players forsake the possibility of achieving the maximum payoff by playing the only Nash equilibrium in HG. In turn, these subjects seem to behave as driven by envy, … Continue Reading ››

The future of education

View Presentation See slide 156 of this presentation by Yukai Chou for the original version of this brilliant vision of the not-so distant future of education: "How educators will likely become facilitators and cheerleaders instead of teachers in a world where students can get more information than what the educator knows faster than she can say it, and how education should reward students for who they are and how they are unique, instead of shame them for who they are not ... Students (even good students!) abhor tests and do it just because they have to. Very few people look forward to tests. If we successfully gamify education, then “assessments” will be seen as an exciting opportunity for students to unlock new materials and skill-sets instead of always being a drag."

Education, Learning, Play and Gamification

This blog post is a reflection on my (current) definition of  the terms: Education, Learning, Play and Gamification.  Personally I believe that we all can learn for our entire lives, however the extent of resources (including time) and role-models available usually limits what we can learn, and what we want to learn. At some point we internalise values, stop learning and habitual behaviour kicks in. At any point in our life we can take in new information which may, or may not change our values and habits.  Settling in to a habitual life can bring contentment, in that aspect of our life at least, so that further learning may not be necessary, or desired, and can even be viewed as dangerous. For each person and culture this 'comfort zone' of contentment and habits will be different. So learning is linked to change, specifically behaviour change, and the desire for change is a very personal process. (Or maybe that's just what I have been taught to believe? 😉 As I am from the Island continent of Australia, I have missed out on the notion of arbitrary, ever-changing borders common in Europe. There are 26 pavement markings of the border between Netherlands and Belgium.The Australian government … Continue Reading ››

Getting started in gamification – for teachers

A few steps to get started:

Taking the first step can be daunting!   People often ask me how to get started. They feel inspired after hearing about all of the theory, but wonder just how to implement it in their own practice. My first advice is to understand the time and skill involved. Most of the gamification examples we see are large-scale designs involving a team of developers and months of research, planning,  testing and refining. If you don't happen to have such a team on hand then a smaller scale project is needed. Although, if you have a class to teach then perhaps they can be your design and testing team. (They also complain less when it is their own ideas). Karl Kapp highlights the difference between structural gamification that ties together a series of activities (usually long-term over a few weeks) and content gamification (one teaching session).  It makes sense to start with the latter. Step 1) Select a topic and a group of generous people to test out your strategy. Step 2 ) Use the free Lesson Plan provided when you subscribe to the Moojoo Newsletter. In summary, small groups compete to come up with the best multiple choice question on a … Continue Reading ››