Now that we’re finishing the third cycle of the semester for Games and Learning I can look back and see what a whirlwind this semester has been. Between this course and the other course I’m taking, I’m not sure I’ve ever consumed this much information in such a short time. The readings for the course are often just the beginning as each reading spurs curiosity that leads to research outside of the readings. The scholarly critiques also require a lot of reading to find “the right one.”
It’s been challenging, and I love it.
By participating in the course itself I’ve learned a lot about the relationship between games and learning. As I stated above, the course content engages you in a way that spurs more learning outside of the course shell. Hypothesis is an excellent tool for creating dialogue and sharing information. Participants kind of challenge each other throughout the engagement with the readings—and that leads to more learning. A good game will do the same thing, it will challenge you and lead you to learn more in order to participate/play better. It will cause you to question your strategy at times. Another parallel in the course to games is how people create their identities in participation—they find a unique voice and style in their play.
Up until this semester, I never realized the intrinsic motivation aspects to online gaming. For me, it took studying an online game to be interested in playing one. I started thinking about the value that others find in the experience before I started to find it myself. Now that I’ve played, I feel motivated to play better. I will not likely become an avid gamer, but I find more value in and better understand the experience and the motivating factors that lead people to play.
Using Twitter has challenged my comfort levels in posting publicly through a social media site. It has also challenged me to write better more often. The posts on my site were rare and only shared when I felt comfortable posting them. Having our work in the course be this public has created a new challenge and altered my process for the better.
I’ve gained a lot of insights by reading every comment on hypothesis for each article. The ability to add media and links in comments expands the reading exponentially.
Why do people spend time playing online games? What I’ve found in my experience this semester is a new challenge to overcome. Avid gamers will play game after game as they are released. Each game is new challenge, there are new things to appreciate and dislike. Because of those factors, there are new things to learn and new ways to engage with something that is thoughtful creation. That is why people like games. People that see gaming as a lazy habit completely miss the point. Is reading a book a lazy habit? People want to learn and appreciate the skillful, creative endeavor of someone or some people.
I think my curiosities going forward in creating ed content will be finding ways to reach people that taps into individual’s intrinsic motivations and ways to make that content enjoyable. I’ve realized that gameful learning will tap into some level of enjoyment and manifest itself through that enjoyment.