I’ve been thinking recently about how gaming principles could be applied to everyday activities in order to make them… well if not quite fun, at least palatable. My friend Emma has a really inspiring (and funny) blog in which she documents her ongoing weight-loss journey, and I found her recent post, in which she describes how she applies gaming principles to the process of losing weight, very interesting.
It also reminded me of an older post by Jane McGonigal on how she is using gaming principles to make the process of book writing more engaging.
When I’m approaching a piece of work that I know I’m not going to find overly engaging (e.g. writing a report, searching for papers for a literature review) I tend to break the task into chunks (e.g. writing 500 words, searching five databases) and ‘reward’ myself for completing the chunk with five minutes of something more interesting (important stuff like Facebook, Twitter or another level in the new CSI game). On reflection, I realised that I’ve been doing what I would advocate as being very poor educational game design – offering extrinsic rewards that are not related to the overall learning task.
I’m not entirely sure what I should learn from this… perhaps my method of making disengaging work less tedious isn’t the most efficient or educationally sound approach, but it works for me.