Engaging participation in workshops and classrooms can be very challenging, especially in an age where knowledge and information is accessible online 24/7 and interactive and immersive technologies on mobile phones and tablets constantly compete for attention. Gamification of classrooms and workshops is neither new nor difficult. Good teachers have used games psychology and mechanics long before modern technologies came on to the scene.
The use of some of the strategies, elements and influencers I describe in various Slideshare White papers such as http://www.slideshare.net/dwortley/the-gamification-elements-glossary not only help to make learning more fun but also more effective. Here are a few of the gamification elements I use in workshop and classroom environments.
Chance/Luck/Fortune is one of the most important tools in the gamification armoury. Human beings have an essential need/desire for chance in their lives. If everything could be predicted in advance, life would be very boring but introducing chance / Unpredictability into classrooms and workshops can pay dividends.
Challenges are essential to learning and engagement. Giving tasks which require action and/or learning and development to produce a response is a great way to motivate participants.
The ability to measure progress against targets and the delivery of clear and understandable feedback is very important for both motivation and assessment purposes.
All of these elements (and many more) are embedded in different types of games and they can easily and effectively be introduced into any workshop or classroom situation. My favorite solution is to use playing cards to hand out at random to participants at the beginning of the workshop. I use UNO cards which have numbers and colors that can be used to form random teams to collaborate on tasks and to select individuals to report back on group discussions/research (e.g. in a “flipped classroom” context).
Using this technique, chance, challenges and measurement/feedback can be simply embedded into almost any learning exercise.