Blended Learning, Continuing Education, Domestic, Education Quality, Elementary / Primary / Junior, Flipped Classrooms, High school / Secondary 2, International, Open Source Education, Private education, Public education, Required, Startups, Technology - Written by on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 10:00 - 0 Comments

Shantanu Sinha of Khan Academy Explains The Gamification Approach of Khan

Shantanu Sinha, President of Khan Academy

The President of Khan Academy, Shantanu Sinha, writes on The Huffington Post about the gamification ideas – such as badges, he and his team are taking to Sal Khan’s video vault…. 

We don’t need to hide math problems inside of action games to make learning fun. Learning is naturally fun, and students should want to learn. However, most students seem to steadily lose their natural enthusiasm and curiosity, as they grow older. One of our biggest problems is that our education system has a very poorly designed motivation and incentive system. It just doesn’t work for the majority of people.

Being in Silicon Valley, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some senior leaders in the game industry. I have always been astounded by how well they understand human behavior. One CEO of a game company recently told me, “If we build a game in which someone is demotivated or disengaged for 45 seconds, we know we need to improve.” Forty-five seconds! Imagine if we thought this way in education. I think I went years demotivated at school when I was growing up. And, that’s likely the norm, not the exception.

The game industry has figured out a slew of techniques that really drive human behavior. The list of effective game mechanics is extensive and I won’t go into them here. However, let’s think about a few of the implications of applying some of the basic gaming concepts into learning.

Most games are fairly non-judgmental. You feel good when you progress, regardless of how old you are or how long it took you. Imagine if education was the same, and a 9th grader who struggles with fractions wasn’t chastised for not understanding algebra. Instead of threatening to fail him, suppose we made him feel proud to actually learn fractions.

Most games give you a sense of immediate success and progress. Instead of waiting for the end of the year to get your grade, imagine if you accumulated a sense of progress with every action you did every single day. Progress shouldn’t be measured by cramming the night before and passing the final; it should be measured by your actions and good work habits every single day, and how well you retain and apply your knowledge.

Most games encourage you to push your own personal boundaries. They provide users a sense of improving themselves, and they provide challenges perfectly suited for them. Imagine if students (or even adults) were always encouraged to improve themselves incrementally. You aren’t done after you secure an ‘A,’ that’s just one phase of a never-ending journey of learning and discovery.

via The Huffington Post

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