I happened across some posts by noted Gamification advocate Karl Kapp the other day.
I’ll talk more about those in upcoming posts. First there is something I’d like to clear up. While I like Dr. Kapp’s books, I also have some issues with some of what he says. We appear to have a fundamental difference in perspective. We even define some of our terms differently. I’d love to generate some dialog on this because I see a key difference in our ultimate objectives for using gamification, and that changes how we design and apply notions of gamification.
From his bio, Dr. Kapp says he “is committed to helping organization’s develop a strategic, enterprisewide approach to organizational learning. He believes that effective education and training are the keys to increased productivity and profitability.”
It appears that Dr. Kapp’s approach seeks to benefit the corporate entity, while mine seeks to benefit the learner. One imposes things onto learners, while the other invites learners to participate.
I’m not convinced that these two goals are at odds with each other, but I do see fundamental differences in how this translates into the way we implement gamification and how we measure success.
The first focuses the benefits of gamification on the corporation. That is a decidedly capitalistic view, though in and of itself, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A common topic of conversation around gamification has to do with motivation. We distinguish between external and internal motivators, but there is another layer to this that doesn’t get as much attention. We talk about the motivation of the learner, but we don’t spend as much time talking about the motivation of the instructor or trainer. Maybe we should. What are the motivators of the people who are designing and delivering this gamified training or instruction?
From his website, Dr. Kapp also claims that Instructional Design “primarily focuses on the systematic design, development, delivery, and evaluation of instruction in a corporate environment“.
Now, I really can’t agree with Dr. Kapp’s definition of Instructional Design. ID does indeed include systematic design in corporate environments, but that’s certainly not ALL. What about formal educational environments? What about Higher Ed? We certainly do ID here, and there are plenty of approaches that don’t fall under the ‘systematic’ umbrella. I have no problem with someone whose interests are confined to ISD in corporate environments, but I do have a problem when they make it sound like that’s all there is.
I do realize that the corporate world has different goals and motivations than formal education does, but can you imagine what would happen if a university actually admitted that it saw effective education as a key to their own profitability?
My next post will examine Dr. Kapp’s Eight Game Elements to Make Learning More Intriguing.