In his landmark paper describing what the new post-industrial paradigm of instruction should look like, C.M.Reigeluth outlines 8 core ideas:
- Learning-focused vs. sorting focused.
- Learner-centered vs. teacher-centered instruction.
- Learning by doing vs. teacher presenting.
- Attainment-based vs. time-based progress.
- Customized vs. standardized instruction.
- Criterion-referenced vs. norm-referenced testing.
- Collaborative vs. individual.
- Enjoyable vs. unpleasant. 
Are we really sure that we actually teach people – especially in higher ed? For some time now, I have thought that mostly what we do is select for those who are like us, who can do what we can. We don’t actually teach them. We throw a bunch of stuff at them, and, because they’re like us, they mange to take it in. Have you ever wondered how many we lose? How many of those might have been just amazing if only they’d been given the chance?
Most of us would acknowledge that people learn at different rates and have different learning needs, but most of our courses continue to enforce a lock-step progression of topics and assignments that is much better suited to an industrial style of teaching and learning than a 21st century one. Reigeluth’s new paradigm calls for radical transformation and while that may well be justified, radical change to our institutional structures is unlikely to happen, at least not in the near future. What then can we do in the meantime? Gamification is a pedagogy that can be implemented without the need for institutional systemic change. This series of posts will examine Reigluth’s core ideas and propose a variety of changes that can easily be implemented in the classroom to address them.
This series of posts will go through each of Reigeluth’s core ideas and relate it to Becker’s Gamified ID Model. (stay tuned for an upcoming post on that).
While many aspects of gamification are *not* new, some are, and when taken together they create a pedagogy that qualifies as one of Reigeluth’s post-industrial paradigms.
Gamification, done right, addresses all eight of his core ideas.
Learning vs Sorting
It can be a real challenge to create an environment that focuses on helping students learn rather than sorting them into those who can and those who can’t, especially in university classes with large enrollments. The idea of designing instruction and assessment to foster learning rather than simply sorting students is really the core idea that underlies the other seven.
We have been sorting students in formal education for a very long time, and it is known that a student’s grades affect their likelihood of either staying in or transferring out of a particular program , and that a student’s sense of belonging can profoundly affect their persistence and retention rates .
Giving them choices and providing opportunities for students to take control of their own learning gives them ownership of their grades and a sense of being an active participant rather than just the recipient.
- C. M. Reigeluth, “Instructional Theory and Technology for the New Paradigm of Education,” Revista de Educación a Distancia, vol. 11, Sept. 30 2012 2012.
- P. Arcidiacono, “Ability sorting and the returns to college major,” Journal of Econometrics, vol. 121, pp. 343-375, 7// 2004.
- E. Kim and J. P. Irwin, “College Students’ Sense of Belonging: A Key to Educational Success for All Students by Terrell L. Strayhorn (review),” The Review of Higher Education, vol. 37, pp. 119-122, 2013.