1. Matt Moore

    I have mixed feelings about “gamification” – as I do about most things in life.

    On the one hand, I think that games and simulations can definitely aid learning – as can many forms of experience.

    On the other, the current fad for “gamification” in business may miss something crucial. One major reason that games are fun is that they are largely voluntary. Non-voluntary games tend to suck. And people tend to get bored of any game after a while.

    As Liz says, human beings are (sometimes? mostly?) autonomous agents. Attempts to manipulate may have unintended outcomes. So attempts to use game mechanics as tools of coercion may backfire.

  2. Liz

    I’m glad you posted about this topic, I’m really enthusiastic about the role of games in education. There’s definitely a lot of interest in the fields of education (eg pedagogy, adult education) and information behaviour about how people learn in different ways and how to engage a range of learning styles. Sadly, workplace education (in my experience) certainly lags behind in the fun factor. But it is certainly an interesting thing to ponder – does financial processes training need to be entertaining?

    The example of developing game mechanics to serve a social benefit – like helping people take their medicine, is a popular example of how widespread the application of games can be. However, I think it is important to always consider the ‘user’s’ context and respect the faculties of a critically thinking human consciousness. Labelling users who require medical treatment in some form or another as ‘consumers’ can run the risk of skipping over concerns about whether people might want to take medicine regularly (and which medicine!), how they can afford it, what other impacts on their health, social wellbeing, economic status might be felt. It presupposes that these decisions have already been made, when in fact a person may not have ‘all the facts’ or enough information to make an informed choice . I’m more interested in games that have a narrative that develops or deals with the complexities of people making choices about their lives.

    • Liz thanks for your comment – you’ve raised a really interesting point about the use of game mechanics for social good, especially for building understanding of complex issues.

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