ScreenCap of Prof Kevin Werbach's Gamification course home page on the Coursera website

Gamification with Kevin Werbach

ScreenCap of Prof Kevin Werbach's Gamification course home page on the Coursera website

PHILADELPHIA, 27 August — While I won’t be “physically” in Philadelphia to enjoy the summer humidity (my dad used to tell us that as a kid there he’d take a cold shower at 2am so he could actually sleep for another 20 minutes or so) I will be “virtually” hanging out at the legendary Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, courtesy of a free online Coursera Gamification course taught by Kevin Werbach.

Gamification gives me some real concerns, but simultaneously a lot of optimism, and regardless of whatever Vaneeesa thinks, it’s certainly our present and future. I’ve decided to gamify my large freshman Art Appreciation lecture class and I’m very excited about it. Unfortunately I don’t know very much at all about Gamification, and Prof. Werbach’s course is focused on Gamification in Business, but I’m going to give it my best shot and see if I can take student engagement and learning to a new level.

Does the topic interest you? Hey! Maybe you should take the class with me! It’s free, and it’s available wherever your laptop is! Then, OMG, we can join the FIFTY THOUSAND other students currently enrolled in his class! O_o


Kevin Werbach
Gamification is the application of game elements and digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business and social impact challenges. This course will teach you the mechanisms of gamification, why it has such tremendous potential, and how to use it effectively.

Next session: 27 August 2012 (6 weeks long)
Workload: 4-8 hours/week
Information, Technology, and Design
Business & Management

β€’ Gamification / Coursera

β€’ Kevin Werbach / Twitter

As a virtual public artist my work invites avatar communities to express their identity, explore their culture, and demand their civil rights.

5 thoughts on “Gamification with Kevin Werbach

  1. Here’s some inside information. I study at the IT University in Copenhagen, I’m on the analysis track, but there are also a design and programming track. So what do these people think about gamification, the current students who are just about to go forth, many of them into the game industry?

    This is just based off of what I see on Facebook and and the discussion I hear.
    – Several of the analysis students are skeptical, one outright hates it, he says it replaces intrinsic motivation with extrinsic.
    The designers and programmers don’t seem that fuzzed. They just want to make “real” games.
    It’s also my impression that the game industry and game academia is not that fuzzed.

    Who’s really fuzzed is business, loving the idea that they can get users to do a bunch of boring stuff or put in more user data, if only you award them points. Earning points in a game – a highscore, should I say, is a very simple mechanic, it’ll only take you that far and it seems to be the strongest point gamification has to show for itself – leaderboards. Another strong point is that it makes progress more quantifiable – the level up feature.

    I’m actually about to look into gamification myself in relation to social network games. For example, is Farmville a gamification of your social network?

    1. hahaha, I thought “it replaces intrinsic motivation with extrinsic” was *my* complaint! πŸ˜›

      A guy from a university somewhere (have to look up his details) spoke at an EDU meeting in SL a week or so ago and I asked that question, since it feels like such a problem… kind of analogous to all the problems I see with capitalism… that it can yield high productivity… but with crappy values…

      He had a really simple, but I have to say, resonated well with me, answer: “people are motivated by a lot of different things.”

      So the handful of General Ed students who are really excited about the subject, it’s not going to “ruin” that experience (actually it could, but we hope not! πŸ˜› and the least interested peeps might engage better if they have a bunch of little “Quests” that are “easy to swallow”… and other peeps might respond to other motivations in other ways…

      I think General Ed is profoundly valuable, both to being a more complete human being, and also to bringing creativity to anything you do – after all we don’t just want “creative” artists… but creative business peeps, creative marine biologists, creative nurses… the basic skills in any field are important, but it’s the creative application and innovative thinking that is so often valued.

      So, *I* like GE, but SO many students either think it’s a waste of their time, or they give it minimal attention. If “game mechanics” could make it any more engaging, I don’t think that’d take anything away from the “true appreciators” and might engage a bit more the unengaged.

      Some peeps do think Foursquare is moronic… but it’s very compelling for so many. Even your Toyota Prius is essentially gamified when you watch the “in-dash mileage game” and adapt your driving habits to maximize your mileage.

      I’m sure it’s not perfect… yet it may be powerful…

      1. β€œpeople are motivated by a lot of different things.”
        That’s a good point! The danger with games though is that they can be gamed, by that I mean, people figure out the path of least resistance in a gamed system and if they want to win, they know what to do. Maybe as long as winning is identical to whatever the actual purpose is, it’s fine. I’m just saying this without knowing your specific case, I’m just blabbing πŸ˜€

        I’m still not clear on exactly what I think about gamification yet, sometimes I do feel as if it borrows more language from games than it does mechanics.

        Gamification has it’s own dystopian expression too, alongside the futuristic technology robot videos, some of which you posted here.
        That in itself is interesting πŸ™‚

    2. I’ve seen a few games, that weren’t really games pre se, that have engaged me and led me to new levels of understanding. But I hear you with the pack of game designers who see only variations on the same basic theme. It you start looking at software applications in terms of gamification, I think this is a grand concept. The word itself has great power even.

      i’ve never played Call of Duty but the concept has always struck me as genius. I’ve seen videos of Department of Defense/Military College projects that even turn ancient battles into games for modern soldiers to study.

      I entered a game called Empire Avenue, assuming it was some kind of investment game but quickly learned it is about building social networks. It is the kind of game you can easily become obsessed with, but the lessons learn are very practical. In this game there’s no 3d graphics, btw.

      I never played Farmville and never will. I have no idea why I feel this way though. heh

      I’d play Barbie Dolls if it was a game… erm, oh. It is a game. It’s called Second Life.

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