8 Part Series on Gamification as Reigeluth’s Post-industrial Paradigm of Instruction: Part 2

Approximate Reading Time: 3 minutes

Learner Centered vs Teacher Centered

Picture4McCombs and Whisler [1] define learner centered as: “The perspective that couples a focus on individual learners (their heredity, experiences, perspectives, backgrounds, talents, interests, capacities, and needs) with a focus on learning (the best available knowledge about learning and how it occurs and about teaching practices that are most effective in promoting the highest levels of motivation, learning, and achievement for all learners)” (p. 9).

Students who are permitted the opportunity to choose and control their learning report higher motivation, greater commitment, deeper involvement, and more strategic thinking [2,3]. There are a number of ways of providing choice, such as being able to choose which problems to complete, variations on specific problems, allowing for resubmission, proposing work not assigned, and the relaxation of strict deadlines [4]. Games rarely require the player to complete all challenges perfectly in order to win. A key aspect of a pedagogically gamified approach to providing choice would to provide students with a greater number and variety of tasks to complete than are needed for a perfect score. In the most recent gamified course I taught a perfect score was deemed to be 1000 points (for ease of translation to the university’s standard grading scheme), but the total number of points possible if students were to complete everything perfectly was over 1500 [5]. This means that students can avoid assignments they don’t find interesting AND it also means they can try something that might not work and still earn a perfect score.

This is really important: With this approach they can fail at things and still earn an A. This changes the risk factor dramatically. This is a rarity in formal education. Sure, we sometimes give out work that we don’t grade, or simply grade as pass/fail, but here, I actually DO grade the work, and they only get a good score if they do a really good job. They can earn full points for doing it well, BUT, if they don’t, they have the option of re-doing it and re-submitting it, OR they can do something else to make up the points.

They never get anything for nothing, but they do have a fair bit of control over what they do. Right up until the end of the course, they have the option of earning more points. In other words, I have completely eliminated the case where it becomes impossible to earn an A because of a blown exam or forgotten assignment. My goal is to help them learn, not to punish them for trying.

Just to keep things organized: these are 2012-01-08-14-00-45_wmReigeluth’s 8 core ideas for a new post-industrial paradigm of instruction:

  1. Learning-focused vs. sorting focused.
  2. Learner-centered vs. teacher-centered instruction.
  3. Learning by doing vs. teacher presenting.
  4. Attainment-based vs. time-based progress.
  5. Customized vs. standardized instruction.
  6. Criterion-referenced vs. norm-referenced testing.
  7. Collaborative vs. individual.
  8. Enjoyable vs. unpleasant. [6]

For more on my gamified approach to course design, see here. I am working on a book that should be out in 2016.

  1. B. L. McCombs and J. S. Whisler, The learner-centered classroom and school : strategies for increasing student motivation and achievement, 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997.
  2. R. W. Adler, M. J. Milne, and R. Stablein, “Situated motivation: An empirical test in an accounting course,” Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 2001.
  3. K. Peer and M. Martin, “The leaner-centered syllabus: From theory to practice in allied health education,” The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, vol. 3, April 2005.
  4. K. Becker, “How much choice is too much?,” SIGCSE Bull., vol. 38, pp. 78-82, 2006.
  5. K. Becker, “Gamification: A Different Paradigm of Pedagogy,” 2014
  6. C. M. Reigeluth, “Instructional Theory and Technology for the New Paradigm of Education,” Revista de Educación a Distancia, vol. 11, Sept. 30 2012 2012.
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