Gamification: learning tool or serious hype?

By William Seidman Dick Clark  is Professor of Educational Psychology and Technology at USC’s Center for Cognitive Technology in their Rossier School of Education. He’s been studying gamification, the use of video game approaches to serious learning. Dick presented at ISPI  recently and argued that much of the conventional wisdom of training is unproven or downright incorrect. He was particularly negative about competencies, which I just discussed at some length in ASTD’s newsletter, “Links Plus.” Gamification is a hot topic in training. It promises the holy grail of corporate training: mass-produced, inexpensive and with high impact. The companies that build these games will benefit from its widespread acceptance. One big problem is that solid research supporting it is missing from the conversation. Cerebyte worked with a game company several years ago. A complete  commercial game takes between $10M and $25M to create.We kept looking at it and seeing the mass production part, but not the inexpensive or effective part. Clark indicated that the average serious learning game cost between $1M and $10M to develop. He also presented a paper to the American Educational Research Association last spring in New Orleans with this querying title:  Games for Instruction? He was adamant that, regardless of popular belief,  games and gamification result in no increase in motivation. They also show no appreciable impact on learning and may be negative in terms of learning because they focus people on winning the game and not learning.Also, they are too easy, and other research he has done shows that easier learning methods produce fewer results. Have you had experience with games for learning? Let me know what you think.]]>

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