Gamification, did it rise out of Adult Education Theories.

This September I will be taking an Adult Education Course at the University of Victoria. The text book that they use is called Making Sense of Adult Learning by Dorothy. When reading through the first chapter of the book, it occurs to me that we can draw many parallels between today’s use of Gamification and the “Facilitation of Adult Education.” While reading MacKeracher (2004, p 50) I came upon the work of Kurt Lewin who in 1936 modeled education as B=f(P,E), as pointed out this is not a mathematical concept but a model on the three main components of facilitating education.

The B=f(P, E) is read as Behavior is a function of the Person and the environment. If we think of this in terms of Gamification, one of the main functions is to solve an issue, typically by modifying a user’s behavior in some way. This would suggest that Gamification is really just an environment that allows for some sort of facilitation to take place between the person and the system to bring about a learning outcome that will change or modify behaviours.
Can we take MacKeracher (2004, p.5) lists what she calls a Learning Centered approach which consists of a number of concepts the first is ‘Learning is a natural and Dialectical process’, this is simply the process of the dialogue that exists between the learner (user) not only internally but externally, therefore in Gamification it is important to receive meanings from the information we receive, that can be compared with the experiences of the user in order to construct new meaning. For Gamification this could mean that when creating the environment, users must have autonomy interact with the environment that allows them to construct their own conclusions to the importance of the behavior that leads to a transformation change to the new behavior.

Granted there is far more to adult learning then what is presented above, but I just want to get my juices going in applying Gamification to Adult learning, or is it really applying Adult learning to Gamification. I personally think that Gamification is just a broad umbrella term that has gone beyond its original meaning. To me Gamification is basically the facilitation through technology and/or other resources in our environment to create a dialogue between the user and the system to engage the user in order to sway them into new learned behaviours. By understanding adult learning we can create better systems that engage and challenge users.

MacKeracher, D. (2004) ‘Making Sense of Adult Learning, 2nd edition”, University of Toronto Press:Toronto.


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