Michael Cripps publishes article on using game-like structures in learning

Michael J. Cripps, Ph.D., associate professor, director of composition and chair in the Department of English, published “Gamification Fails: Negotiating Points, Badges, Levels, and Game Play in the Basic Writing Classroom” in The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy.

In the article, Cripps outlines a range of ways he employed gamification, using game-like structures in learning, in a writing class. He explores several challenges involved in game-and achievements-based practices.

Cripps reports that his overall experience with the gamified writing class was at best mixed.

He found that some of the in-class game play worked. He writes, “Students who might have been more content to sit silently practiced advancing ideas, probing peers’ interpretations and offering textual evidence as a key component of the work. They were in the spotlight, playing for their team, helping a teammate, and trying to outdo another team.”

A key question Cripps raises is one prevalent in reviews of the literature on gamification: do the extrinsic rewards encouraged by points, badges, and achievements motivate students to learn in ways comparable to intrinsic motivations?

Cripps found intrinsic motivation might best be addressed by means other than gamification. In the writing class, this might involve a choice of reading or writing topics.

The article was published June 7, 2019, in the Teaching Fails section of the The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, a publication promoting open scholarly discourse around critical and creative uses of technology in teaching, learning and research.

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