Looking through the attributes of a good game it is obvious that several of them are connected with motivation. Teachers know that motivation is at the core of effective learning and one of the main complaints I hear around the staff room (expressed in a number of ways) is the lack of students’ motivation. Fishman points out that students don’t lack motivation, they are just not always motivated towards our learning goals.
A key theory of motivation is Achievement Goal Theory. AGT identifies three types of motivational orientations:
- Mastery Orientation. These students are motivated to achieve mastery in their learning. This is the preferred type of motivation and leads to better learning outcomes.
- Performance Approach Orientation. These students are motivated to look good. this may mean a student strives for an A to look good, but if in their peer group a C looks good, then that will be their goal.
- Performance Avoidance Orientation. These students are motivated not to look bad. They will be satisfied with any mark that doesn’t make them look dumb, or failing that they will try to hide their performance.
Research has found that the orientation is an indicator of success, with mastery orientation supporting the best learning outcomes and performance avoidance the worst. Surprisingly, it has been discovered at Michigan University that Gameful Learning design mutes the effect of performance orientations.
Students may still [have that performance orientation], but you’ve created a safe space for them to feel like they can accomplish what they want to accomplish, and not let their performance drive be … what’s really ruling their decision making.
So in summary, Gameful Learning Design overcomes motivation orientations which are limiting effective learning.
At this point in the MOOC I was starting to get very excited about Gameful Learning, as I could see that my intuitive sense that gameful design improved learning was supported by research findings and learning theory.
Next we will move on to look at motivation and ‘flow states’.