Gamifying higher ed

Higher ed can currently be viewed as an alternate reality game. It offers every student, faculty member and administrator ways to play, upgrade their dashboards and level up in the game. I've been messing around with ways to make this game more fun, immersive and valuable. I'll be sharing what I've come up with in this next series of blog posts.

The game begins in Higher Ed Hell. It's living hell for the students, faculty and administrators. Each player has the side effect of making the others miserable as a result of what's missing in the gameplay. I'm imagining the students start the game with only two readouts on their dashboards: Locating and Scheduling. Both are locked and cannot yet be upgraded or revised. In order to move out of this entry level, the player needs to acquire two more readouts on their dashboards: Testing and Grading.

In order to level up beyond the second level, these four readouts must be unlocked. This will empower substantial innovations to where learning is located, how it's scheduled, tested and graded. Two other readouts must be added to a student player's dashboard: Credentialing and Advising.

The highest level gets accessed by adding a seventh readout to the dashboard: Staffing. Once unlocked at the top of this game, who the player learns from gets thoroughly reinvented.

In each level, an experience of making changes to one's own location, schedule, etc. -- precedes changing what the readout monitors. The initial process of making personal changes cultivates the prerequisite power, confidence and efficacy to make changes in a dashboard readout. When first entering each level, the player experiences getting gamed by the system. This sets up getting how the game thinks, challenges and rewards the players. Learning how to succeed serves game play as well as generalizing to other social and economic contexts.

Each level is an experience design which delivers a spectrum of consequences for conduct in that level. Learning from those consequences to move forward and play better eventually puts higher ed in its proper place. The big institution morphs from an imposing police state to a set of useful tools and resources for personal and collaborative advancement.

to be continued ...

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