8 Part Series on Gamification as Reigeluth’s Post-industrial Paradigm of Instruction: Part 5

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Customized vs Standardized

This idea should include customized content as well as customized methods.

player-statsI recognize that it may not be practical to do this individually in a large class – but it is possible in smaller classes. What is possible, even in a large class (I know because I’ve done it) is to set up a collection of content, methods and work for the students and then let them choose from a variety of tasks. This of course means that you, as the instructor (or course designer) must actually design all (*) of your assignments before the term starts. It also means you must have your assessment schemes set up at the start of term too. Students deserve to know how they will be assessed before they start an assignment.

Another way to do customization is to support a variety of paths through the course content. When a game is designed it usually gets laid out in a map according to the places the player can access or the regions on the game world. Each “node” in the map is a place where the player can do something. All eventually lead to the final challenge of the game. Sometimes you can go directly to the end game but players will rarely have the skills and assets they need in order to meet the final challenge. Often you will need to meet specific challenges at various points before being allowed to continue to the next one.

snap02006We can take this same approach to the design of allowable paths through a course. Although most of us learned our disciplines through lectures and textbooks that were organized linearly (see Figure 1), there is nothing inherently natural about this approach and there is very little evidence to suggest that this is an appropriate way to learn. It gets done mostly because it is easiest and most ‘efficient’ for the institution and the instructor, not because it is best for the student.

snap02007If instead of thinking about subjects as an ordered set of topics, we consider the actual dependencies of various topics, concepts, and skills, we can use that to create a flexible learning path (Figure 2). Clearly, some things must be addressed in a specific order, but others will be order-independent, and some are truly required while others can be optional. This has the added benefit of making relationships between the various topics explicit.

(*) You don’t actually need to have all of them ready, but you should have most of them. I often have a few categories (such as my Discovery and Delivery Quests) that I can set up on the fly to meet the needs of the class.

2012-01-08-14-00-45_wmJust to keep things organized: these are Reigeluth’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. [1]

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

  1. 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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8 Part Series on Gamification as Reigeluth’s Post-industrial Paradigm of Instruction: Part 5 — 4 Comments

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