Gaming vs. gamification in the classroom

By | July 27, 2017

Used in conjunction with books and lectures, sophisticated educational games designed for college classrooms can offer active learning that some instructors say is hard to replicate in a traditional classroom. Still, not every professor who believes well-designed games are valuable in education uses video games in courses. Barry Fishman, a professor in the School of Information and the School of Education, is less a fan of playing video games than of the concepts designers use to create them. Fishman incorporates the principles of video-game design—but not actual video games—into his courses to stir motivation and engage his students in learning. He calls this “gamification” as opposed to gaming or “game-based learning.”

The best games, Fishman said, are founded on motivation theory, which recognizes a person’s need for learning, autonomy, belonging, and recognition. He starts students with a zero and offers them an array of options for earning points toward their course grade, based on their interests and their level of competence. The assignments, he said, “can be low-tech or high-tech. This isn’t about playing games in class.” Read the article from Inside Higher Ed.