In the truest spirit of a knight who seeks the Grail, I’m about to engage in a new adventure in MOOCland, a quest for enlightenment on the subject of gamification of learning. Appropriately, the promoters have set up a scenario using a webpage with a web game theme, so I am now known as Sir João, knight of the Grand Order of the Royal Whatever. No I’m not, but I’m supposed to be a knight all the same. I hope there are no Knight Who Say Ni! on those whereabouts…
Gamification is something that interests me. I used to be a gamer back in the old days, before I lost a lot of interest when I was at university, but never left it totally. I always kept an eye on video games and I can say I recently played a few days my all-time favorite, Sid Meyer’s Colonization (thanks Dosbox!).
The phenomenon of gaming is of interest to me not only on the entertainment perspective but also on the learning and development point of view. Animals learn by playing, that’s only natural, everyone plays games in some way or another. Games are training for life. But games are not only play. Games are much more than that. There’s a whole science behind game design, game theory, game economics, and when you direct the game to the pedagogical field you can have very interesting results.
Nevertheless, the subject of this MOOC is not only games: it’s Gamification. That is a concept I wasn’t aware of until recent years. I confess I had eard it before but dismissed it as any fad mumbo-jumbo trend for the time being. Now, doing some research in education trends I refound it and, in context, it really makes a lot of sense. What we’re talking about is not the use of games for education purposes, it’s in fact the actual perception of the education as a game, borrowing elements from one reality to another to achieve a more natural, engaging and motivating experience of learning. Now, that is REALLY what learning design should be about, right?
So, let’s see how things go in this second MOOC experience. This one is shorter that OLDS MOOC (6 weeks) and doesn’t seem to be so demanding in terms of time. I’m sure It’ll be a great experience.
The link for the MOOC , which officially starts March 18th, is this one: http://gamesmooc.shivtr.com