The Gamification course taught by Pr. Kevin Werbach (@kwerb) on Coursera is nearing the end. For my part, this learning adventure has been laden with surprises – mostly good ones – and has encouraged me to investigate the topic further on my own.
To be perfectly honest, my initial goal was to experiment with the so-called Massively Open Online Courses (often abbreviated into MOOCs). But as the weeks went by, I found myself more and more engrossed in the subject matter, reading up academic papers, researching on the Internet for assignments and screening through the discussions on the forum.
An international, engaged learning community
Aside from the course content, one of the perks of such online programmes is their ability to bring together in a virtual space students from all ages and all walks of life.
The only requirements to join the course were to have an Internet connection fast enough to enable one to watch the lecture videos online and sufficient knowledge of English, it being the medium of instruction. Some students would rely on subtitles to understand the lectures but they were unfortunately not allowed to submit assignments in a language other than English.
76,000 people signed up for the gamification course, although only a fraction of them (around 10,700) went beyond the second written assignment. This extremely diverse learning community took to the forums to discuss gamification-related issues ranging from education to business and the ethics of it all. Updates, questions and comments were also to be found on Twitter under the official hashtag #gamification12.
Some study groups were formed around regional or language affiliations but I did not join any so I can’t voice an opinion on this.
Broad presentations that invite further study
The lectures were broad enough that students from various educational backgrounds could follow comfortably. Indeed, among us were marketers, business managers, teachers, but also people with a curious mind and a penchant for 4-square! However, it was fairly easy to build up on the knowledge acquired to pursue personal interests. I, for one, explored the psychology of motivation more in depth, delving into positive psychology and flow theory.
The aspect I was most interested in was the application of gamification to educational contexts, including its potential failures and caveats. The lectures vaguely touched upon the subject and it was really up to us to put our thoughts together, share relevant resources and formulate our own ideas based on the more business-oriented models presented.
- I discovered that gamification is more than a mere buzz word. I enjoyed analysing examples of gamified systems and studying the underlying psychological mechanisms.
- I found this online course to be informative and surprisingly enjoyable, despite my having only little interest in business matters.
- Interactions with other students (especially on Twitter) motivated me to keep up with the work
- As for the practical value of the course, it’s a bit early to judge as far as I am concerned.
If you have taken the course yourself or are planning to do so in the future, don’t hesitate to post in the comments!