If someone had told me six months ago that early in 2017 I’d be making a 7-minute video on gamification, I’d have thought they were barking well and truly up the wrong tree.
I’d never made a video and I didn’t even know what gamification was.
An Experiment in Gamification
A critical reflection
Content and copyright
“An Experiment in Gamification” contains video footage, screenshots and photographs. I prefer to make my own content, as it gives me more control and creative input. All media of my gardening were created by me directly, or under my direction, and are copyright AJ Macpherson.
Stills and video of Habitica and Duolingo apps include material that is the copyright of the respective companies and this content has been reproduced with permission.
The video project was edited in iMovie on a MacBook Air, and the two music clips used come from iMovie.
I wanted to combine a critical argument with a creative exploration of a topic that interested me. How to wrangle all these elements successfully and come up with something more interesting – and illustrative – than me just talking to (or hiding from) the camera?
That was indeed the question.
One hot December morning I was looking out my kitchen window at my struggling garden, and mulling over topics. I was fretting about getting the watering done before I left for work and cursing myself as a procrastinating, plant-killing gardener. The two came together; could I successfully gamify my garden, using an app, for my video project?
I approached Habitica in early January for permission to use screenshots and video footage and was thrilled and grateful when they agreed.
As part of my early attempts to explore gamification, I’d also started using a gamified app called Duolingo to learn Italian.
I approached Duolingo and was equally delighted and grateful when they too agreed to give me permission to reproduce content from their app.
I started with some general reading, watched some TED talks and YouTube videos, beginning with the supplied resources, browsing the open web, and then taking a deeper dive into the Deakin Uni library databases. I found 30 articles, which I’d skimmed through to get an overview, and as I used the apps and tended my plants – and started referring to tomatoes as ‘pomodoro’ and the cattle on the property where I live as ‘mucca’ – I culled this list down to 12 sources, as I refined my topic.
I knew what I was experiencing while using the apps, but was this usual or unusual? Was there any research on individuality of learning style or motivation levels, or attitudes towards gaming? And why did it seem to make such a big difference to me if the goal was integrated within the gamified solution – learning Italian interactively within Duolingo – versus external – checking off completed gardening tasks in Habitica?
I drew on nine of these sources for my final video. I wanted to offer not just a balanced perspective, but to do so from a widely-cast net.
Challenges and learnings
With no video-making experience I faced technical challenges and time constraints in learning how to use iMovie effectively. YouTube tutorials were a great help, and I made some practice videos.
Reflecting on key learnings, I became too fixated on filming the garden and didn’t start early enough on my critical discussion – my script – which in turn had an impact on my storyboarding. I’ll know better next time.
Despite how overwhelming this has been at times, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction. I can now create a video, from coming up with the initial concept through to final upload.
The idea of making a 7 minute on gamification was the right tree for me, after all.
Credits and Acknowledgements
Special thanks to Duolingo and Habitica for granting permission to reproduce images and footage from their apps.
Filmed using a Samsung Galaxy S7 and a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone.
Additional voice recording using a Samsung S7 phone and a Rode lapel mic.
Edited in iMovie on a Macbook Air.
Playful by iMovie
Neon by iMovie
Images and Video:
All stills and footage excluding material incorporating Duolingo or Habitica imagery are copyright AJ Macpherson.
All stills and imagery including Duolingo or Habitica contain material that remains copyright of the respective companies and is reproduced with permission.
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Landers, RN & Armstrong, MB 2015, ‘Enhancing instructional outcomes with gamification: an empirical test of the Technology-Enhanced Training Effectiveness Model, Computers in Human Behavior, (2015).
Nacke, LE & Deterding, S 2017, ‘The maturing of gamification research, Computers in Human Behavior, (2017).
Seaborn, K & Fels, DI 2015, ‘Gamification in theory and action: a survey, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, vol. 74, pp. 14-31.
Broader Online Activity
In addition to any Tiffits-earning activities, I have continued to engage in the following online activity:
I have shared content and tips on unit-related topics through social media as I find them.
I have engaged with my fellow students online, building a community and a continuing conversation around online technology, media and communications. I have been most active on Twitter, where my handle is @aj_mac_pherson.
I'm a writer. I love words and story. I'm also rather fond of my husband and my dog.