I never realized how much of gaming exists outside of the game. I knew there were sites, magazines, YouTube channels, etc. that were dedicated to gaming. I didn’t realize that there were third party tools specifically created to track, measure and enhance game play and other aspects. I didn’t realize the amount of time, effort, and creativity that goes into the technology, media, and other cultural driving forces that surround video games. I didn’t realize the preconceived overlap of cultures, hobbies, and niches that constitute this “nerd culture” weren’t necessarily representative of gaming. Though, to be fair, there’s a large enough demographic here to understand why this stereotype exists. And, more importantly, I didn’t understand what drove someone to become skillful in playing a video game.
Intrinsic motivation is a major reason why the gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Video games tap into that motivation–all games do, to some extent, because they are associated with enjoyment. Previously, I would regularly think about ways to make learning enjoyable, how to integrate things that would grab people’s attention and engage them, but I never really understood the breadth of what it means and the possibilities to tap into intrinsic motivation in learning. The articles we’ve read this semester, the game play, and interaction with peers have have all helped further shape this understanding. I guess this is reading and research now. Really, the methods are the same as many traditional schooling models, they’re just updated. You read, you engage, you learn.
Online courses are a mixed bag as far as what resources are utilized by a given instructor. I’ve realized this semester that I believe that most current online courses should be fully online–meaning that texts and associated materials should be digital in most situations unless it is necessary to incorporate outside materials. Chances are, that book you love can be replaced by something else that is just as, or more, effective. Or, as an instructor, you can find snippets of the book online for free and supplement those. Most students aren’t going to read all of the book they had to buy on Amazon but they are more likely to read the entire article that’s posted to the course site if there’s a way to physically prove that they’ve read the entire article (annotations).
If you want to make learning accessible, then give students access to what they need because, frankly, I’m starting question the role of higher education in a world where the materials are already freely available for people that are motivated to learn. There are exceptions to this statement. The SEM portions of STEM largely require higher education, in my opinion. I’m sure there are more exceptions, but I believe this is a part of accessibility that should be a goal of instructors online.
The last two paragraphs are specifically focused on online learning. Within classroom settings other senses, senses that can appreciate holding a book, change the game.
Going forward I hope to expand my understanding of gameful, intrinsically motivated solutions for educators that actually make learning enjoyable.