Does gamification (dis)engage humans in technology-enhanced learning activities?
Friday, November 10, 2017
Gamification has become a buzzword in recent years. Everything seems gamifiable, including, of course, learning. In fact, game-based learning (GBL) has already existed for decades, and digital educational games (DEGs) have increasingly been utilized since the turn of the millennium. The underlying assumption is that the motivational power of game elements can engage humans in learning activities and thus improve learning outcomes. However, this assumption has been challenged in ongoing debates, given inconclusive empirical findings on the effectiveness of DEGs and varied epistemological stances. Specifically, the notion of engagement remains contentious, especially its measurability. In this talk, I will first present a brief history of gamification and three cases of DEGs involving different target groups (pre-schoolers, school children, university students) and domains (computer science, law, cultural heritage). I will then reflect on the conceptual, methodological and practical arguments whether gamification may (dis)engage humans in technology-enhanced learning activities in general and DEGs in particular.