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A thought


Tigranes

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So I'm watching a TED talk on what video games tell us about the way we learn. To a general academic/professional audience so some of this is obvious obvious, but I thought you know, isn't it about time that 'obvious' stuff translated into some common-sense, practical applications.

 

To start off, I'm thinking why can't we have the experience bar / progression / satisfaction model in games/RPGs, and, just like how it's been translated into web sites, social media sites, etc, it can't be planted in, say, an online university student services system. i.e. You are enrolled as an undergraduate student, and you are given an avatar that you can customise, all the basic functions, etc. In the true spirit of new media/video games, all actions that contribute to your academic progress (or other means of progress, if you go to Duke University or something) are arranged into a quantified matrix - if I simplify it, 10XP for attending a class, 100XP per GPA point, etc. I mean, so much of academic achievement at high school/undergrad level, esp. in the US, is quantified already - SAT scores, etc. This wouldn't take those things over (as I think student ability is too quantified already, and that's very problematic), i.e. your XP wouldn't determine your final GPA, but balanced between irrelevance and overrelevance, it would be a nice way of stimulating and motivating students, and more importantly, orienting them towards a strategic university life of achivement and effort.

 

What I mean there is that in so many developed world universities everywhere you now see a mass of often middle-class students who just can't be arsed. The very general counter-intellectual trends post-50's that has given birth to the Nerd stereotype (which has seen a small setback, but hasn't yet been the kind of resurgence of the geek that Bill Gates spoke of), the whole environment of party-based socialisation, etc, etc - there are so many social reasons for university students to be conditioned into saying assignments are what you do the night before, B is an awesome mark to have and university classes are there to be flunked. Seems to be that in middle, high and undergrad levels transposing the XP system and introducing a quantified reward/value system for productive actions could potentially have a role in rebalancing this 'hip-chic' orientation.

 

Of course, some part of me rebels from an innate distate of such instrumental applications of quantification, but just thinking...

 

Edit: Finishing the video, I have to point out that #4: Feedback is so very important. I think one of the greatest injustices about education today is the discourse surrounding it. Though this is changing in areas, so many people don't recognise that "studying", just like "building" or "running" or "woodworking", is a craft. There are methods you use, there are proficiencies you develop, there are key skills that you pick up. Instead, so many people continue to just think of it as 'being smart' - if you study a lot and you are smart then you will do well, so if you don't do well either you're not very smart (very demotivating) or you're not studying enough (equally demotivating). And one of the most practical solutions to this at the moment is creating better feedback loops at all levels of education. From what little I've seen as a university tutor and student and private tutor, feedback often doesn't work because;

 

(a) many students don't read feedback. This is because while other processes, like research or bibliographies, have been highlighted as important throughout their education, but they usualy don't learn how to read feedback, respond to it, and integrate it into future assignments.

(b) feedback is often castrated because in many places teachers are discouraged, to varying degrees, on being too critical, overwhelming the kid with too much feedback, etc.

 

If feedback can become more immediate, more modulated, more calibrated...

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This may interest you: http://gamingtheclassroom.wordpress.com/

 

Summary article which may be more palatable as an intro: http://itnews.com.au/News/169862,employers...vate-staff.aspx

 

Some of the comments from Slashdot users on this topic are interesting, e.g. mention of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawthorne_effect

Edited by Krezack
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Radical change, probably won't happen for a long while.

 

Reason No. 1: parents who hate games, those that think that games are the cancer that it's rotting their sons brain.

 

Reason No. 2: the inevitable failure of some students to adapt to the new system; the current system is made to give a passing grade to the majority of students.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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Actually we were discussing something similar here a few days ago. The notion was for tasks at work to earn 'XP', which would empower you in a parrallel strcuture to the company legal one. Levelling up would entitle you to buy things like longer smoke breaks, better coffee, gym access, even the right to address concerns up and outside normal channels.

 

The core point I think is the same as yours, that work can and should be made more rewarding to better motivate a workforce that (outside work) feels very entitled to rewards. Yet not in a way that relies solely on cash incentives that manifestly have a poor return.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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