I recently bought a premium subscription to the #ProductGamificationSummit when I saw the speakers, and realized I want to hear from most of them. I saw the free option and it sounded tempting, but then saw also the pricing and thought it would be worth the buck, since I could watch all the talks on my schedule, along with a few goodies. So first of all, Vaida Jasiuleviciene (had to copy that last name from your twitter @VaidaYes, but can hardly complain, Bucholska is not an easy one), thanks for putting this out to the world.

Since I got premium and lifetime access, I was also lucky enough to get a headstart on the talks, and have already seen three: Nir Eyal, Ami Jo Kim and Michael Wu. Have to say they were all I expected plus one, and I’ll comment on some highlights I found from them, especially from the point of view of (higher) education and learning.

Let’s start with Nir Eyal, who with his hooked model talks about forming habits for the products. What happens when the product is education? This is the first thing that came to my mind, and was able to fit what he was saying into my own context. Education, all of it, uses a bit of this, but we could certainly profit a lot more. He very clearly explained how the trigger, that motivates an action which has a reward and, very important as he was adamant in highlighting, then comes an investment from the user (in our case a learner) that makes them feel more attached, invested, and hence more inclined to positively reacting to the next trigger cycle. He also mentioned how these triggers could be extrinsic or intrinsic, and that every time they go through the cycle we want to make these triggers more intrinsic, to make the activity, learning for us, a habit! Very powerful.

Then I spent a while with Ami Jo Kim’s talk, were among many other things she says that successful products make customers more awesome. I’m sure we can safely say that education is meant to increase students’ awesomeness, but are we showing them this fact enough? Here we can even extend it beyond education to learning in general, isn’t learning awesome? Well it is, but many more things can be done to progress in this direction. Amy Jo Kim defined Game Thinking as the intersection of Game Design, Agile and Lean UX, Design Thinking and Systems Thinking. All these disciplines have much to show us about how we can improve learning so students can, well, be more awesome.

My last one for now was Michael Wu, whose talk revolved around the state of flow (very spoken of in the game industry), and the Gamification Spectrum (which he has patented). That brought me to the point that, if learning can and should be engaging, how do we place the learners in the state of flow, and at least keep them around that state? As research has shown, in this state we tend to forgo other needs and situations around us, which can be beneficial for learning as it helps students laser focus on learning, if we take them there. He also expanded around short versus long term objectives with gamification. Of many things he mentioned, I wanted to highlight the distinction he makes between competitive, that he associates with short term, and cooperative gamification, that he associates with long term engagement. So as I’ve heard others say, sometimes we need to get started and that’s certainly short term, so perhaps we do need to put in place some competition, which tends to spark the flame quickly. But if we want to build a fire that lasts, we have to get to work on how to introduce cooperation so the “hook” to learning stays there in the long run.

This is it for now, but grab at least your free ticket while you can! Simply go here www.productgamificationsummit.com and register, certainly worth a look!

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