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Professor Jared Chapman ran across the idea of gamification in his research and became intrigued. He began to wonder if he could design a course in which his students might “get addicted” to doing homework, similar to how he had observed that many of his students appeared to be addicted to smartphone games. This led to the creation of Project Delphinium, an attempt to address the challenge of student “skill” and “will” in online learning by applying gamification principles. Dr. Chapman is also an assistant professor at Utah Valley University’s Woodbury School of Business.
Jared starts his day really early with his team of programmers in Eastern Europe, building game elements for project Delphinium. Then he goes on to teach his courses and do his research in gamification.
He considers bad gamification to be around in many places, as in the title of the paper titled something around “School is a game and this game sucks”. It is important to think about what gets people motivated to play a game, what makes a game good. An example of bad gamification of education is every time you’ve been bored in a class, the game has been designed poorly. How is a hobby different from a school, from a college? It is important to consider that education is a long-term game, keep this in mind when designing. A specific example that he’s made that was not good: when starting he created a leaderboard using points and badges. It worked for very competitive students, they loved it, for others they felt intimidated and shut down. In a game loss is ok, in education it is more complicated. There’s another group also, even though small, that hate play and games, so Jared also tries to think of an interface for them, which looks more like a dashboard.
One of the biggest challenges he’s faced is technology. But he wants to create a more personal experience for 1,000 students online than they would have face to face. That’s what Project Delphinium is all about. You can check it out at delphinium.uvu.edu. Dr. Chapman is an academic and he really enjoys Sebastian Deterding, especially when his work is tied to self-determination theory. Creating environments where people feel autonomy, social connectedness and competence, which is where Jared feels is the place where gamification design can really make a difference. Another researcher he follows is Richard N. Landers, who talks about skill-will-thrill, an important place for gamification in education.
A best practice proposed by him is creating an environment where people can feel socially connected, competent and autonomous. Jared says he’s not a gamer, but he’s started picking up games to understand them better and enjoyed Plants vs. Zombies.
Jared Chapman would really enjoy listening to Sebastian Deterding, Richard N. Landers and Juho Hamari, all great gamification researchers. His superpower is definitely focussing, doing something for a very long time, until reaching goals. With Project Delphinium as an example.
Want to know how would Jared start approaching gamification in education? Listen to the interview! This is one of the questions we really enjoy the most.