It is our belief that the largest impediment to improving learning outcomes revolves around student motivation. Rather than striving to earn the best grade they can, many students today are content to merely pass a class or earn an “easy” B. Hence they do the minimum amount of reading required, the minimum amount of studying for exams, and as a result, retain little when a course ends.
Many game environments require that players learn new skills and knowledge, practice these newly developed skills to achieve competency, and then apply all they have learned to advance game play. Gamification in the classroom is an attempt to tap into those mechanics that motivate players to learn in game environments and to motivate students to take those steps necessary to learn.
Utilizing what we call the Journey Process, http://econjourney.com is designed to fundamentally change the way we think about education by providing a platform for students and professors to engage in co-creation and value optimization. More than just another platform that introduces economics principles, it is a method for teaching students how to write, solve simple math problems, and become analytical thinkers. It promotes creativity and (hopefully) fosters the mindset that learning can be fun. It is also designed to place individual action within a social context, thereby helping students understand that a single individual can truly make a difference.
By adopting the role of the hero, the student establishes an identity within the context of a story that can take on epic proportions, thereby contributing to a sense of self-esteem. Hence, EconJourney is a platform for empowering students to make personal progress, not merely a method for increasing a student’s capacity to recite economic concepts. Within each stage of the journey, the hero encounters a problem, the problem leads to conflict, and the conflict creates some challenge that must be overcome. In this way the story can be reduced to the equivalent of bite size “chunks” that make it easier to see the interrelationships between concepts while at the same time, advancing a coherent storyline. Meaning becomes part of the story through the choice of the event or series of events that motivate the narrative or trigger a major crisis that must be overcome.