gamesBook your tickets now: The 9th International Conference on Persuasive Technology will be hosted in Padua, Italy, on May 21 through 23, 2014. The special theme of 2014’s conference is building persuasion into games, whether they be video games, serious games, or game-based learning programs. According to the website, “Adding game elements is one of the most challenging, acclaimed and updated strategies to turn any information and communication technology application into a system that persuades, motivates, and empowers users to take action.” I’ve written a bit about gamification in the past. Gamification is the conversion of specific learning exercises into a structure borrowed from video games. The assumption behind gamification is that people are motivated by playing games and earning points; in the process, it’s assumed that they will actually learn something. Yet the effectiveness of gamification is a source of controversy. Players may learn the game, but they inevitably find ways to win the game without learning. When score keeping is a factor, players may become overly focused on keeping score rather than learning. Furthermore, developing games is expensive and time-consuming. I see organizations spending time and money to create learning programs in order to motivate people to learn something that they should already be trying to learn themselves. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the 2014 conference in Padua.]]>

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