Adventures in Gamification: Week Four – Scenarios as Levellers

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Welcome back to Week Four! So far we’ve covered the introduction and trying to define what a game truly is, the strategic use of games and applying games in education. Phew! We are now into week four of six and are investigating the use of scenarios as levellers.

What is a scenario?

From WikipediaIn the performing arts, a scenario (from Italianthat which is pinned to the scenery[1][2]) is a synoptical collage of an event or series of actions and events. In the Commedia dell’arte it was an outline of entrances, exits, and action describing the plot of a play, and was literally pinned to the back of the scenery. It is also known as canovaccio or “that which is pinned to the canvas” of which the scenery was constructed.”  
So a scenario sets the scene.  In video games, you often have an opening introduction or vignette that explains the mission or the premise for the game.  It’s what catches your attention and gets you to “buy into” the game.  When I think of the games I play regularly on Facebook, they all had a opening scene that was designed to catch my attention and tease me into playing for a few easy levels, which gradually get harder or feature a change in the conditions required to advance to the next level (more points required, more tasks to complete, etc).
How can you catch the attention of the learner(s) in your life?  By making things seem like an adventure! Check out Module 4 for more information!

Levelling Options

So, once you have devised a game, how do you keep in interesting?  Challenging?
As previously mentioned, you have to make it harder to advance or to complete a challenge.  This is done in many ways.  I will only review a couple, and you can find more when you work on Module 4 yourself!  Be sure to let us know what other examples you came up with in the comments below or in the unit forums.
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Weightings –  For example, ending a game on an exact throw.  Remember when Trivial Pursuit was played on everyones coffee table?  You earned your 6 wedges but couldn’t win unless you solved a final question on the middle cog.  If you rolled past the hub, you would answer a regular question and then wait for your next turn to try again.  Wasn’t it frustrating to get the answer wrong and have to roll all over to try again?
Abrupt Change of Conditions – You are mid way through a football (soccer) game and a teammate trips an opponent.  The Ref then awards a Penalty Kick to the opposing team.  Now you have to play by a different set of rules while the kick takes place, giving the opposing team a chance to get ahead. (See Law 14 for more information).
There were many more Levelling Options provided…I just don’t want to give away all of the secrets from the course.  I will share another secret though…I knew absolutely NOTHING about football (soccer) and had to research all of it to share with you!

Intermittent Reinforcement Schedules and Cognitive Dissonance

Perhaps you have heard of B.F. Skinner who was an American Psychologist who developed various theories – but one particularly interesting one was one that focused on Intermittent reinforcements.  This theory was tested on pigeons who were more prone to act when they could only sometimes get what they want.  Basically, strictly positive reinforcement wasn’t enough.  The withdrawal of rewards occasionally make the process more interesting and exciting.  Motivation and Human Behaviour….
Changes in the probability of reward can cause a change in motivating properties.  This partially explains gambling addictions.  Who are more likely to be driven by Chance?  Extroverts!  Introverts tend to want to be rewarded in a more linear relationship to their abilities.

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the excessive mental stress and discomfort[1] experienced by an individual who (1) holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time or (2) is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. This stress and discomfort may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction.[2] ~ Wikipedia

Long and short of it?  Having to earn the opportunity to learn means you will appreciate the learning all the more!
Want to learn more about the differences between men and women?  Module 4 has some interesting commentary!  Worth checking out and relating to your own life and the people in it!  There’s also a lot more information on Cognitive Dissonance…and a fun little project to do – see mine below!

In Summary

We covered a lot this week. Here are a few key points…but once again, not all of them!

  • Setting the scene provides the background info – can be realistic or far out there!
  • Making a game increasingly difficult keeps it interesting!
  • Earning the opportunity to learn makes one appreciate the learning more!

Next week we will learn about the Hero’s Journey, AKA the monomyth.  I admit to looking ahead a little…mythology is very interesting and I think I need to re-watch  a mythology based movie to see if I can apply the steps of the Hero’s Journey to it…perhaps Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief will do!  Don’t forget to add your projects and notes from this week to your Accredible profile and come back next Friday to find out what happens next!


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Canvas Courses Starting This Week

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Canvas has 6 courses that have started this week – and it’s just the right time to join! Check out these new classes below!

mastering academic research


Mastering Academic Research: Information Skills for Successful Students This six-week, instructor-led course leverages what you already know about finding information to help you understand bibliographic research concepts from a familiar perspective. Learn how to find, evaluate, and use library, repository, Deep Web, and government information in your own research, virtually painlessly. Instructed by Rose Petralia, MSLIS is an instruction librarian at Florida Institute of Technology’s Evans Library, where she teaches Research Sources and Systems, an undergraduate information literacy course.


reflective teachingTeaching Online: Reflections on Practice  Designing and facilitating online courses with a diverse student population is a challenge for new, as well as experienced online instructors. This course invites your critical reflection on the methods of online instruction; beliefs and potential bias of the online learner; policies and rules and how they align with course objectives; tone and the purpose of communication. Those new to online instruction will benefit from the practical knowledge shared in this course. Experienced online instructors and designers will both expand their exposure to new insights and focus on the details of their own practice. The unique community college perspective, with all its diversity, provides a rich backdrop and adds genuine complexity to the discussion. 

thinking like a writer

Thinking Like a Writer This course revolves around the work of revising writing, learning, and engaging with language and community. You will explore who you are as a learner as you write about yourself and your language use, as well as consider who you are as a communicator as you critique texts, persuade audiences, and collaborate with others. The skills you will practice in this course (like narration, summary, etc.) are fairly typical for writing classes at many U.S. universities; however, our course focuses on you as a writer and thinker. Recognizing specific learning and communication practices and considering ways to employ them can make you more successful in future coursework and in all communication.

technical math


Technical Mathematics for Industry Here’s your chance to review the fundamental processes of mathematics with emphasis on problem-solving techniques. During this five-week course, students can select individual math concepts or proceed through each of the self-paced learning modules. Topics include a review of arithmetic, introductory algebra, rudiments of analytic geometry, elementary trigonometry, introductory statistics, and basic finance. Module warm-up questions will help students identify learning deficits, which can then be addressed through the modules. This course also contextualizes math for trades, including electro-mechanical, engineering graphics, machining, and welding.


entrepreneurial educator

The Entrepreneurial Educator: Designing for the 21st Century Offered by Sonoma State University and taught by Dr. Paul Porter and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Mark Nelson, this course highlights the role of entrepreneurial thinking in contemporary education. Based on core modules, it covers defining features of entrepreneurialism in education, including becoming an economic unit of one, overcoming obstacles and failing forward, rethinking risk, and building alignment with business-education connections. 



Mega Events: Inside the FIFA World Cup examines the World Cup, a global competition for national soccer teams held every four years. With soccer the most watched and played sport in the world, the World Cup is a global phenomenon with one billion viewers expected for the final game in Rio de Janeiro this July. This course will explore not only the sport of soccer and its organization, but the logistics and development of the event as Brazil prepares for the 2014 World Cup. Join us as we examine the many dimensions of the World Cup—history, culture, politics, business, urban planning—and learn that the FIFA World Cup is more than a game.

Which of these courses will you add to your To Learn list?  Be sure to upload your incredible work as the course progresses to showcase your learning and to perhaps make a new friend or study buddy via the Course Activity & Community!  Happy Learning!