NOTE: THIS PAGE SERVES AS HIGH-LEVEL OVERVIEW OF GAMIFICATION.
GAMIFICATION: WHAT IS IT, AND WHY GAMIFY?
According to Karl Klapp in his Lynda.com course, Gamification for Interactive Learning , gamification is “taking parts or elements of games and applying those elements to learning activities to engage those who are learning.” Some examples by Klapp of how gamification may be used are: “…awarding points to an employee for answering a daily safety question correctly, or awarding a badge to represent achievement on a course or skill pathway, or a challenge tied to learning objectives.” According to Klapp, the purposes of “gamification for learning” include:
- Creates a sense of mastery in the participant,
- Creates enjoyment, through overcoming challenges and the thrill of winning.
Benefits include: Gamification can enhance engagement, build a sense of community or communal identity, and amplify positive emotional and cognitive benefits of undertaking self-actualization and learning journeys.
Gamification is a natural choice for Cosmos’ platform. In Cosmos, there is learning happening in all directions—Cosmos learning from its users’ actions and interactions; users learning what they and each other desire, what is doable or attainable on the platform, and uncovering the most gratifying ways to plug in for the best outcomes.
There is also a root purpose to the learning: the focus on self, and (holonically) collective, actualization. Even if that end goal is never completed (ala the Infinite Game), the striving towards it is the reward. Thus, the very process of a human being’s self-actualization may be viewed as a natural “progression game,” producing generative learning loops that allows for the eventual emergence of “mastery” through attaining a fulfilling life.
Additionally, Cosmos’ desire for a platform structure in which member participation reflexively “shapes” the platform and its possibilities through interaction, modeled after a mutually-beneficial relationship, means it should be intrinsically rewarding and also intuitive for a user to experiment with the platform, interact with different communities, and generally try to optimize his/her/their use of the system. With Cosmos as a minimally prescriptive context for individual and collective dream fulfillment— processes hold great power and significance. The processes of taking action, receiving feedback, reflecting on the meaning of that feedback and then choosing one’s next action—which all constitute a “progression game” (more on types of games, later)—is the original activity or “game” of how Cosmos realizes itself .
STRUCTURAL GAMIFICATION ENABLES & SUPPORTS PROGRESSIVE SELF-ACTUALIZATION.
Engagement & Attention: Leveraging Available Resources Strategically So As To “Level Up”
Engagement is key to learning: without prompting and retrieval events (see more on this below), learning cannot advance. Cosmos would draw on best practices & the latest thinking from the field of gamification by building in social and interactive engagement around goal-striving, e.g. through a collective leaderboard and through attaching incentives or “bounties” to collectively-desired objectives—including solving complex problems.
Feedback & reflection. Encouraging reflection: feedback on what worked & didn’t work as a result of one’s efforts in the framework stimulates learning. According to Karl Klapp, players want to do better, and win, so they invest attention in making improvements through feedback. Additionally, feedback on how players are doing is integral to their path through the game and helps develop skills and strategic thinking throughout. Cosmos is oriented towards enabling clear and constructive feedback (through distributed game mechanisms like Litcoin, voting/ranking, commenting and messaging, peer coaching, and system progress reports/leaderboards).
Customized path through the game. According to Karl Klapp, “Gamification is a personalized experience: I may take a different strategy, seek a different outcome, or encounter something at a different time than my peer.” Personalized learning experiences become possible, which enable students to achieve mastery through self-direction and self-determination of their path. Indeed, the capacity to handle the complexity and reach new depths of user customization is a key intention, value and innovation of Cosmos (see more in Customization, later). Each “player” may have a different pace and have different experiences: like encountering a challenge sooner or later. Mastery is attained through slightly different learning paths.
Mastery. Winning is about a person’s performance, mastery is about achieving a person’s goal. When something is mastered, it’s permanently part of that person’s repertoire. Winning is fleeting. Few can win, almost everyone can mastery with the proper gamified setup and skilled trainers (Klapp). There may be some optional (Playbook) games within Cosmos that allow players to “win,” but mostly, Cosmos 's main game (self-actualization) is a mastery oriented game. The attainment of the goals, or “winning,” is not emphasized as much as is the feedback-loop learning process: What will you “take away” from this experience? How will you modify your choices or actions next time? One might call this reflective recalibration , which may resulting in changing the objectives of one’s game play–which is fine, so long as the frequency of such change-ups does not overcome the actual game play (or: goal-striving).