The Gamification Report | Episode 14: Student Built Games, Learning Games & Frustration, and more!

David Chandross – Hello folks! Here we are for The
Gamification Report: Episode 14 ♪ When there’s no getting
over that rainbow ♪ ♪ And the smallest of
dreams won’t come true ♪ ♪ I can take all the madness
this world has to give ♪ A little Paul Williams for you there. This week we’re looking at
Learning Games and Frustration, Students Building Games, and
Multi User Virtual Environments Let’s see where we get in to. The paper we’re gonna start
to look at first of all deals with student frustration in games and this is really interesting. What they did in the
study by Shamya Karumbaiah in 2018 is she did a
paper to look at whether when students had difficulty learning material in a gamified environment, whether the frustration
was related to the game being bad or with the
content was difficult because you can build
a great learning game and find that people are getting
frustrated in learning it. And then you’re saying,
“jeez I put all this work “into the game and I’m
not getting the outputs “I’m looking at here.” So she started to look
at the physics background and game mechanics versus
physics difficulty. So essentially here they
looked at the different predictors of the game mechanics versus the physics difficulty
and she compared them using these statistics,
using the Cohen’s d Scale and she found out as we studied that the problem was content-specific. And that is that when
people enter learning games, their problem is related
to the content stronger than the game design
at least in this study and I think this is
somewhat generalizable. So we have a content area
which creates frustration. And that content area in
this case in her study was Energy Transfer, Newton’s First Law, and Properties of Torque. These were the areas
that drove students nuts. So they had difficulty playing the game that involved physics because the concepts were difficult independent of the game. So the domain knowledge would be that which prevented frustration,
that is if you knew the game very well, you would
be not frustrated playing if you knew more about physics. And so the difficult
concepts that she encountered were the barriers to learning
so therefore the goal then would be to build games
that reduce the frustration. Does that make sense? I hope it does. The idea that if you find an area that students are struggling with, that you build a game to
try to address those areas to make them more
conceptually understandable. What I do when I build learning games with faculty members here
at Humber for example is I have them list the
five areas that they feel they have difficulty teaching, or that students don’t do well at. And then what I do is I flip that over, I talk to students from the course, and I have them list five
things that they didn’t feel they get enough practice doing, or that are difficult things to learn and when you put that together
then you can build a game that tries to address
the content specificity of the difficulty, so
that, if you didn’t do this you would come back and
say, “You know what? “The game didn’t work very well, “because people didn’t learn.” But what you’re actually doing is building the game to tailor it to reduce the content-specific learning challenge. Hope that makes sense. So what they try to do is
produce this act called Engaging Students in Building Games. And this was produced by another paper of Taciana Pontual Falcao in 2017. And this is exactly the kind of thing we’re trying to do here at Humber and we’re trying to do across institutions that you produce a Community of Practice, so that students are getting involved with you in helping to build the game. And that you tailor the
build to the student’s identified learning needs,
just how they talked about that’s exactly what she did in her studies and this increases engagement
so that when students build the games, you get higher
academic achievement that occurs so if you’re going to
design games for learning it’s important to take your end learners and involve them in the build process. You know that sounds so simple, but we hardly ever do
it in education at all we never really talk to students at all. We just tell them what to do
and slap them about with grades This is flipping it so that the students become the architect of the game design. Now this fits very well with
Leontiv’s Activity Theory 1972 and 1978, do you not
love my graphics today? I went through so much work
to make it look good for you (chuckles) now this is
that we want to produce just like a PowerPoint
lecture or a description a Dynamic system which is
interconnected to the environment. So when you’re building,
Activity Theory talks about the idea that you want to look at the cultural historical
perspectives in Cognition. How does the person
generally see the world, the game player? Then you want to develop what’s
called Participatory Design after Vygotsky’s School of 1962 then using learning as a social practice, and that we develop through
activity and we create meanings so that we actually, as we build the game we build a game world or game experience which allows us to create
meaning in the learning. And when we do that,
that produces a narrative that’s different for each student. So based on Engstrom’s work in Community and Division of
Labor, this is one particular student in the study that developed it So we can see that they used instruments, subjects, and objects,
community, and rules so all of these different
aspects had to do with the way they built their game. So each student as they
are asked to contribute ideas for game development, is gonna draw on various things like
rules, division of labor, subjects and objects, because
they’re gonna be related to that particular student’s experience. Now what comes out of this
is the ability to produce what are called Team-Based
Virtual Learning Environments and we wanna talk about this
next in the podcast here and this is Abi Johnson’s work where he tries to integrate
multi-user virtual environments in modern classrooms, 2018. And what he used is Larry Michaelsen’s Team-Based Learning Instructional Model. And that is that we have dungeons and raids that can occur in games. Let’s look at a simple game like a role-playing game
like World of Warcraft. So you have dungeons and raids. So each player has a role, so if we go into a dungeon, it’s a five-man dungeon, you’ve got a healer,
a tank, and three DPS. What a healer does is they keep the group alive as they’re being attacked. The tank it draws the attention of the mob so the mob hits them and
they’re wearing armor so they can survive it, and then the DPS are Damage Per Second, these are people of other classes that
try to kill the beast. So you’ve got a five man
team, and the teams are formed spontaneously in a game
like World of Warcraft. You go into the raid the dungeon finder, and a few minutes later a team is formed of people you’ve never met. One might be in Sweden,
one might be in Japan and you suddenly have to cooperate. So this idea that you
have a dungeon or raid where you have a role but
teams form spontaneously and then there is character progression that’s built into these games, where the character
level determines success so if I’m a level 100 I’ll
be much more effective. So this produces team bonding using these massive multiplayer
online role-playing games. So how do we prepare for teamwork and transfer this to our real life? Number one when you show up at a game there’s social pressure to complete. If you start one of these dungeons and you just decide to sit around and go have a ham sandwich
while everyone else is trying to dungeon, they’ll
kick you from the dungeon. So there’s social pressure that begins to act and this is what we see in a lot of our learning games. If you come to the
classroom and you’ve got a job to do in the game, you complete it. And we have got a lot
of problem with absence in both university and college, a lot of students skip classes and get the notes from another student and they call it kind of
blodging their way through exams. And so you have a high
emotional investment when you use game-based learning, in which you can show off your skills, you can pull off difficult
tasks, and repeat those tasks. So just showing up and
having people depend on you is a powerful learning incentive. And then there’s the preparation. You’ve invested in your avatar. If you’re a high level healer in a game then you’ve bought shields
and weapons and armor that helps you heal
people more effectively. And you can anticipate problems that are gonna come, and you
can engage or lead the group. This is exactly the kind
of things we want to see in learning but we don’t
see it happen very often because we’re not using
these game design principles. And there’s this whole
game that any good game that we build for learning
should have a start, should have a mid game, and
should have an end game. And we’re moving toward the end game, which is an opportunity
to prevail in the game, which is a composite of
everything you’ve learned. But the mid game is a freedom to explore in which we have rich player choices and ways of deciding how we’re
gonna approach the end game. And the start would simply
be identifying challenges and the immediate games
that you occur in a game. So think about learning games
again using deep gamification as a process of a journey in which there are these different
stages to learning. Now, what we want to look at
next in our review this week is the work of Tobias Gleich in 2017 and that is looking at
functional changes in the reward circuit in response to gaming-related cues with video games. So how can we again try to get an idea of how we engage people
more deeply in games. And what they’re doing
here is they’re talking about the idea that video
games cause a decrease in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activity and that these lead to, we also see with training with video games leaning to increased hippocampal activity, caused by training induced
changes in attention and memory. And so the video game
training, the changes that we see in the brain have to do with the experienced amount
of fun, accomplishment and frustration during training. And so when a game is fun,
the player is performing well, the experience is low-frustration, we see more activity in the
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. So we are starting to find
that there are specific parts of the brain that are switched
on during game-based training and that we can track these for outcomes. And what this leads us
into is our next paper by Amon Rapp, 2017 in which they looked at the classification of
rewards in World of Warcraft for the design of gamified systems. So if we look at the
different parts of the brain that are activated during
game-based learning, a lot of these are reward-linked, and what we want to talk about here is that we have complex and
diversified reward systems. This is the simple difference
from a simple badge. You do the following
activities, we give you a badge, you do the next, like
you’re playing DuoLingo. This is the idea of complex rewards, so we have design
considerations that are based on values that players ascribe to rewards. And different rewards
for different players. Some rewards in World of
Warcraft are based on collecting, some on defeating a challenge, some on reputation by doing groups of tasks which are
grouped by a quest line, some are based on a high social
demand, some are difficult, some are moderately
difficult, some are easy. So do you see there’s many different rewards in good video games. The same thing in gamification
and game-based learning. You have to have multiple
reward systems built in. So a classification of WoW’s rewards, we won’t go into this in detail, but talk is about the
idea of enabling rewards, exchanging rewards, and flexible rewards. So we have values; an enabling
reward gives you agency, progression, and power, you
have experiential effects of motivation enhancement,
possible game addiction, some rewards can be so good and they come they have to do with a different
gear that you could get, you can get glyphs,
abilities add-ons that expose the performances to the group, we could talk about exchanging rewards in which you get gold in the game. And then you can talk
about flexible rewards. Now, in the games that we produced with Baycrest Health Sciences and with George Brown College and
Briarstone University over the past few years,
we’ve built all of these reward systems into the game now so there’s all kinds of things to do and the hardest battle I have usually is talking to faculty
members to get them to see that simplicity is no longer acceptable. That you use all kinds
of different rewards, and you build it, and we work
with a vendor called Reach and they’re based in Edmonton, Alberta and they produced a game
engine that can track experience points, reputation,
gold, all these things. And they’ve put a lot of
money into building this code but there’s more and more code available to gamify your courses
but you can do a lot of it with pencil and paper as
well by tracking it manually. But the idea that there are
multiple rewards systems. So let’s talk about some of
the things that players say. Reward Experiences, “For
a hunter, collecting pets “is the main rewarding
activities of the game, “I don’t know why. “They are simply beautiful, “I like those dark colors as
they reflect my personality. “It’s a sort of collecting,
they make me feel as “I were living in another
world, with other entities. “It’s reassuring to collect.” Another reward experience
had to do with world bosses in a place called Timeless Isle. “I passed my last weeks trying to defeat “the world bosses of Timeless Isle. “This allowed me to gain a legendary “cloak to face Ordos, another world boss “that promises to drop
incredibly precious loot. “Even today, I spent about eight hours “to empower my character toward this aim. “This meant also to
repeat a series of raids “in the hope of finding a rare drop “that could better the skills of my mage. “It is strange to say,
but the only relevant goal “that I had in my mind
in the last two months “was to reach this achievement.” Wouldn’t we love that in learning? And this is exactly what
we find when we build learning games with
multiple reward systems, students will play for
hours and stay after class, they get obsessed with
achieving that reward. Another player comments,
“that Farming is always “the same thing, I
always make the same path “to make my minerals. “I memorized it a long time ago “it’s boring, but it’s
useful for me and my group.” So there’s some rewards
you might do each day like a daily challenge
that are kind of routine but they give you a sense of routine. Do you begin to see
how this ties together? That the way human beings are built is that we love that
emotionality of rewards and we have to build
those into learning games and into learning in
general, and I tell you unless you use these
game design principles it’s not possible to build
these into regular courses. You have to have multiple reward tiers, and that’s really really hard to do unless you do these game environments. This idea of agency, personal
power and achievement is very hooked up into game achievement. “Each piece of gear, each
new experience level, “and each new unlocked dungeon opened “new possibilities for action. “The progression was exponential. “The more I advanced in the game, “the more I felt free in
choosing my own direction. “The interesting thing
was that I was connecting “all these rewards with
my character’s abilities “through them with my sense
of agency in the game.” So this highlights the idea that different kinds of players are sensible
to different incentives. Some like to acquire rewards
that strengthen confidence in themselves, we have confidence sliders in one game we’ve done with
Baycrest Health Sciences that we won the Ted
Freedman Award for recently, an international, prestigious award and that is that you
can determine how much confidence you feel in your answers, and when you’re just beginning
the game new nursing students die on the game, they
just get slaughtered. But their confidence goes
up, and their confidence was correlated in our
statistics that we did with solve rates. So as you get better at solving cases, your confidence slider increases and we saw positive connections. One of the reasons that makes
WoW so effective in engaging is its capability of delivering rewards that might satisfy diversified desires. We might have many desires in each of us for different types of rewards. Not just rewards connected
for a certain type of player, but each of us may have multiple level of rewards we’re interested in. So what is WoW doing right? It’s using a fundamental
reward-based system that connects to social experience. You can gain different Prestige and Item levels as you
advance in the game. That’s all we have for you
this week, David Chandross, Centre for Teaching and
Learning at Humber College Have a great week,
we’ll see you next time. (upbeat techno music)

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