Gamification: What are the motivators of those designing and delivering this gamified training?

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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.

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Gamification: What are the motivators of those designing and delivering this gamified training? — 1 Comment

  1. Katrin, Thanks for your comments and critique of some of my comments on my web site. I really don’t think we disagree that much.

    I do agree that ID is used in many environments and not just corporate. However, from my experience in Higher Education, faculty members usually become “qualified” to teach not because they have an understanding of how to teach or design instruction but rather they become professors because they know their subject matter. In fact, I was amazed that when I joined the university there was NO training, education or instruction on how to teach. Fortunately, I had an instructional design background but professors in other disciplines had NO formal training in how to teach. No Instructional Design, no help in that area at all.

    Often faculty (although there are exceptions) they have no understanding of the systematic design of instruction and they resort to lectures and teaching how they were taught and not use the best approach for students.

    So I agree that ID is not just corporate (so I’ve changed the definition on my site to reflect my belief, our students teach in all environments after going through our program) but I would argue that it is predominately used in corporate as opposed to higher education at least from my experience with universities in the United States. Although I’d love to see ID used more in Academia and my latest course addresses that gap.

    I also believe that corporate profitability comes from learner-centric design. If the learners are not learning, they cannot live up to their potential. So the benefit to the organization only comes from a learner-centric design which is what I try to apply to my designs of gamification. But to fund such projects, one must speak to the corporations, learners in companies often don’t purchase instruction, they consume it. So the appeal needs to be to management for the initial sale and then to actually have the learners benefit, the design must appeal to the learners.

    Thanks the comments and critique. Health debate is the hallmark of learning and growth. I look forward to more discussions, although, I suspect we have more areas of agreement than disagreement.

    Take care,

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