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The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-Based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education Hardcover – 15 May 2012
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From the Inside Flap
"Karl has written the definitive guide to gamification, which itself is accessible and engaging. He brings trends to life and illustrates the principles of gamification through numerous examples from real–world games. . . . There is no doubt that "gamification" is an important and powerful weapon in the arsenal for learning, marketing, and behavior change of any kind. This book is a valuable guide for all who are trying to understand or adopt these important design principles."
FROM THE FOREWORD BY KEVIN KRUSE
Games create engagementthe cornerstone of any positive learning experience. With the growing popularity of digital games and game–based interfaces, it is essential that gamification be part of every learning professional′s tool box. In this comprehensive resource, international learning expert Karl M. Kapp reveals the value of game–based mechanics to create meaningful learning experiences. Drawing together the most current information and relevant research in one resource, The Gamification of Learning and Instruction shows how to create and design games that are effective and meaningful for learners.
Kapp introduces, defines, and describes the concept of gamification and then dissects several examples of games to determine the elements that provide the most positive results for the players. He explains why these elements are critical to the success of learning. The Gamification of Learning and Instruction is based on solid research and the author includes peer–reviewed results from dozens of studies that offer insights into why game–based thinking and mechanics makes for vigorous learning tools. Not all games or gamification efforts are the same, the gamification of learning and instruction requires matching instructional content with the right game mechanics and game thinking. Moving beyond the theoretical considerations, the author explores how to design and develop gamification efforts. Kapp discusses how to create a successful game design document and includes a model for managing the entire game and gamification design process.
The Gamification of Learning and Instruction provides learning professional with the help they need to put the power of game design to work.
From the Back Cover
Praise for The Gamification of Learning and Instruction
"Kapp argues convincingly that gamification is not just about adding points, levels and badges to an eLearning program, but about fundamentally rethinking learning design. He has put together a brilliant primer for learning professionals on how to gamify learning, packed with useful advice and examples."
ANDERS GRONSTEDT, president, Gronstedt Group
"After reading this book, you′ll never be able to design boring learning again."
CONNIE MALAMED, author, Visual Language For Designers; author/creator of The eLearning Coach Blog
"Engaging, informative and complete; if you need to understand anything about instructional game design, this is the book you need. It provides the right amount of academic evidence, practical advice and insightful design tips to have you creating impactful learning in no time."
SHERRY ENGEL, associate director learning technology, Penn Medicine Center for Innovation and Learning
"What Karl Kapp has done with this book is looked at games and learning from every possible angle....he provocatively asks questions that the learning community needs to answer, like ′Do our design processes still work?′ and ′Are we really meeting the needs of today′s learners?′ This book may make you anxious, make you laugh, or make you angry. But one thing it will definitely do is make you think."
RICH MESCH, experiential learning guru, Performance Development Group
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Top Customer Reviews
However, it's a light read, and doesn't go into any theoretical details on why games are good learning tools. And it presents no statistics on the learning outcomes of using games in teaching and/or training. However it talks about both theory and statistics, but just in a peripheral way. This of course helps make the book easily readable, and entertaining. But it doesn't have any depth, just a lot of ideas thrown together without much interlacing.
With regard to the earlier volume, I commend Kapp on brilliant use of 33 Figures (e.g. "Flow, the State Between Boredom and Anxiety") and six Tables (e.g. "Meta-Analysis Studies of Game-Based Learning") as well as three reader-friendly devices: "Chapter Questions" (heads up) at beginning of all chapters, "Implications and Importance to the Future of Learning and Instruction" (Chapters 1 and 2, only), and "Key Takeaways" at conclusion of all chapters. These devices help to facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
When I heard about the book and read its description, I thought it was just what I needed. I am an instructional designer who has a lot of experience in developing courses for traditional classroom and electronic delivery systems. I have been following what gamification is doing in the online marketing arena and wanted to see how it could be applied to online instruction. I thought this book would provide some insight. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
I felt the author is using the "gamification" label to sucker me into buying the book. It turns out that he has simply pasted the new buzzword onto what is traditionally referred to in training and education as engaging teaching/learning activities. Information about the development and use of engaging instructional activities used in classrooms and for online courses has been widely available and discussed for many years. Instructional games in traditional classroom training or online training is not new and it is not what I expected of a book on gamification of learning and instruction.
Second, this book provides a lot of information that talks around the topic but rarely addresses it head on. The author dedicates multiple chapters to instructional theory and research summaries. He also adds multiple chapters on game theory and research, which is also widely available elsewhere. The problem is that he does a poor job of bringing them together into something of value that I can use to leverage gamification in my instructional projects.
This book lacks examples of online instructional applications. Many computer games are referred to by the author(s). Very few instructional examples are given. Disappointingly, when computer game or instructional game examples are provided, they are described with such little detail that they are of little value. Did I miss a website or links to the examples somewhere? Single screenshots and a few sentences of text just don't cut it.
I was surprised to learn that many of the chapters of the book were not written by the author. This is not disclosed in the book description. Most of those chapters missed the mark as well.
On the positive side, if you want instructional theory and computer game theory, this book has it. This book has some good high-level heuristics that could possibly help you in designing instructional games.
However, if you want to learn to design engaging instructional games, Thiagi is a better source. If you want to learn to gamify your online instruction, keep looking. This book does not provide enough detail, examples, or models that will help you to create your own online gamified instructional interactions. If you expect this, like I did, you will probably be disappointed.
Many other books use examples such as frequent flyer programs and other reward schemes that have been used for decades. Dr. Kapp begins with the facts and why anyone wants to use gamification - Engagement! He goes on to create a learning experience that gives you the basic understanding for both an instructor trying to learn or create a game and the designer that is trying to understand how to construct a game. He marvelously constructs a bridge between the two disciplines.
The construction of the book is excellent (I wish more authors would do it this way). He starts out the chapters with questions preparing you for the material ahead. He ends each chapter with key takeaways and I found myself using them as my reference pointers for additional material. His notes are also delivered at the end of chapter with many links provided (Kindle Version).
Dr. Kapp's examples are current and readily applied to the real world. After reading the book, you feel that not only do you understand the gaming world better but you are much more willing to take a stab at trying a few games on your own. Something the author recommends that we all do if we are serious about gamification.
I have already purchased two copies of the book, sending the hard copy to a client and a Kindle version to use as a reference tool no matter where I may be.
And while I do think there is value in those conversations, my primary concern about the gamification trend is less about the terminology being used and more about the possibility that the hype will continue to promote the creation of two things in the broad field of learning design and development:
- interactions that are amusing but not meaningful (which are already promoted by so many authoring tools promising easy engagement), and
- learning games that are just lame... perhaps the content is meaningful, but the addition of game mechanics isn't.
Knowing how challenging game design is and keeping those possible undesirable effects in mind, I decided to read The Gamification of Learning and Instruction with one lens only:
Assuming you are a typical instructional designer -- whatever that means -- what will you gain from this book?
And here are my answers to that question.
1) Possibly more than anything else, you will be able to articulate why and in what circumstances games can be more effective than other learning interventions. It may sound trivial, but full-on game development is more expensive and time-consuming (so, again, expensive) than ordinary elearning and stakeholders may not consider "games" to be serious, effective solutions. So instructional designers who want to explore game design (or explore hiring a game design company) may well need facts, research studies, and either a full round of ammo or +10 to charisma to get their points across.
2) You will have an appreciation for how many pitfalls there are in educational game design. And I think this is a good thing... not to discourage designers from stretching their skills, but to discourage them from doing so lightly and creating, as I said, lame designs.
3) You will be familiar with some of the reasons that people play games in ways that go far beyond "because they're fun". In particular, I liked Kapp's inclusion of Richard Bartle's gamer types, because they help us understand that different people will derive value from different aspects of gameplay. Designing to those preferences may or may not improve the outcomes of the game, but knowing about them is a start.
4) You will learn about a variety of games created for both educational and corporate use. This is an extremely important part of skill development for me and pretty much all instructional designers that I know; seeing examples is great first scaffolding for skill-building.
5) You will be encouraged to learn more about games in the best possible way -- by playing them!
Truthfully, there are many more reasons to read this book, but now I have to come back to the original lens and ask what a typical instructional designer would be able to do with these gains. Will you go out and create large-scale, well-balanced serious games? No. But I do think you'll have a good background to determine whether a game is an appropriate learning intervention, hire a game development vendor and evaluate game designs from a much more educated standpoint, and, if you want, dip your toes into designs of your own... even if just for practice.
All in all, this is a great resource to gain a foundation in the aspects of game design for learning.
The tone of the book has a great conversational quality, and, having heard Karl speak on a number of occasions, comes across as if he were delivering the message in-person. I especially liked the examples and stories from his son (being a Father myself this is a fantastic way for multi-generational, bidirectional learning- Bravo!) and Alicia Sanchez from DAU, among the superstars of elearning games. This is a book I will be referring to for the next couple of years when I need inspiration, reference examples, or research to back up my case. As I say to people who are averse to games in learning...Every day is game day, and this book will prepare you for that day.