Last month I finished Coursera’s Gamification course delivered by Prof. Kevin Werbach where I learned that gamification involved much more than points, badges and leaderboards. The course looked at not just was gamification is, but at the psychology behind it – what motivates people, how people are attracted to a gamified system and what keeps them coming back for more. The highlight of the course was looking at lots of great examples of gamification, in particular ones that resulted in outcomes only made possible because of its gamified approach.
The course went for 6 weeks and involved watching online video lectures, completing multiple choice quizzes and submitting short written assignments that were peer reviewed. The course content was well structured and interesting and whilst it wasn’t gamified, it did involve a hidden message for students to decipher if they watched what was happening with the carefully placed props behind the lecturer in the videos.
‘Gamification’ was my first online course that involved written assignments. I was at first unsure about how the peer review system would work but the guidelines on how to mark an assignment were remarkably clear and the marks given were an average of a number of peer reviews and your self review (done after marking your peers’ assignments). Marking peer assignments became just as much a learning exercise as writing the assignment itself and therefore did not seem to be the chore I thought it would be.
This course was a refreshing change after the coding involved in Udacity’s CS101. One of the lecture tasks involved recognising various game elements by playing ‘Plants Vs. Zombies’ – a far cry from the many nights I spent agonising over search engine code and resulted in many hours of fun playing ‘Plants Vs. Zombies’ with my eldest son on the X-Box.