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The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education Hardcover – May 1 2012


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The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education + The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pfeiffer; 1 edition (May 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118096347
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118096345
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 2.3 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"Karl has written the definitive guide to gamification, which itself is accessible and engaging. He brings trends to life and illustrates the principles of gamification through numerous examples from real-world games. . . . There is no doubt that "gamification" is an important and powerful weapon in the arsenal for learning, marketing, and behavior change of any kind. This book is a valuable guide for all who are trying to understand or adopt these important design principles."—From the Foreword by Kevin Kruse

Games create engagement—the cornerstone of any positive learning experience. With the growing popularity of digital games and game-based interfaces, it is essential that gamification be part of every learning professional's tool box. In this comprehensive resource, international learning expert Karl M. Kapp reveals the value of game-based mechanics to create meaningful learning experiences. Drawing together the most current information and relevant research in one resource, The Gamification of Learning and Instruction shows how to create and design games that are effective and meaningful for learners.

Kapp introduces, defines, and describes the concept of gamification and then dissects several examples of games to determine the elements that provide the most positive results for the players. He explains why these elements are critical to the success of learning. The Gamification of Learning and Instruction is based on solid research and the author includes peer-reviewed results from dozens of studies that offer insights into why game-based thinking and mechanics makes for vigorous learning tools. Not all games or gamification efforts are the same, the gamification of learning and instruction requires matching instructional content with the right game mechanics and game thinking. Moving beyond the theoretical considerations, the author explores how to design and develop gamification efforts. Kapp discusses how to create a successful game design document and includes a model for managing the entire game and gamification design process.

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction provides learning professional with the help they need to put the power of game design to work.

About the Author

Karl M. Kapp is a professor of Instructional Technology in Bloomsburg University's Department of Instructional Technology in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and the assistant director of Bloomsburg University's acclaimed Institute for Interactive Technologies. He has authored or co-authored four books on the convergence of learning and technology, Integrated Learning for ERP Success, Winning e-Learning Proposals, Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning and Learning in 3D.

Follow Karl on his widely-read "Kapp Notes" blog at www.kaplaneduneering.com/kappnotes/


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Format: Hardcover
There are two key words in the title of my review, "how" and "why." Karl Kapp thoroughly explores both in this first of two books that examine "game-based methods and strategies for training and education." The second is a companion Fieldbook (published in 2014) in which Kapp and his co-authors, Lucas Blair and Rich Mesch, offer brilliant explanations of (a) why it is so important to focus on gaming, (b) "Basic Elements," and (c) "Design Considerations" that must be addressed. They also provide worksheets, examples, samples, tables, and instructions that can help readers create their own ILEs (i.e. interactive learning experience). "This book can be used as a primer or introductory text to introduce the topic of designing instructional games, gamification, and simulation, but it is primarily designed as a practical fieldbook to help teams in the midst of creating games, gamification, and simulation projects." The Fieldbook ("Ideas into Practice") devotes more attention to "how" and less to "why." Together, both books provide just about as much anyone needs to know in order to make a significance contribution to a rapidly expanding field of game-based training and education.

With regard to the earlier volume, I commend Kapp on brilliant use of 33 Figures (e.g. "Flow, the State Between Boredom and Anxiety") and six Tables (e.g. "Meta-Analysis Studies of Game-Based Learning") as well as three reader-friendly devices: "Chapter Questions" (heads up) at beginning of all chapters, "Implications and Importance to the Future of Learning and Instruction" (Chapters 1 and 2, only), and "Key Takeaways" at conclusion of all chapters. These devices help to facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
159 of 174 people found the following review helpful
I'm so disappointed May 26 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I don't write reviews. But this book made me mad enough to write this.

When I heard about the book and read its description, I thought it was just what I needed. I am an instructional designer who has a lot of experience in developing courses for traditional classroom and electronic delivery systems. I have been following what gamification is doing in the online marketing arena and wanted to see how it could be applied to online instruction. I thought this book would provide some insight. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

I felt the author is using the "gamification" label to sucker me into buying the book. It turns out that he has simply pasted the new buzzword onto what is traditionally referred to in training and education as engaging teaching/learning activities. Information about the development and use of engaging instructional activities used in classrooms and for online courses has been widely available and discussed for many years. Instructional games in traditional classroom training or online training is not new and it is not what I expected of a book on gamification of learning and instruction.

Second, this book provides a lot of information that talks around the topic but rarely addresses it head on. The author dedicates multiple chapters to instructional theory and research summaries. He also adds multiple chapters on game theory and research, which is also widely available elsewhere. The problem is that he does a poor job of bringing them together into something of value that I can use to leverage gamification in my instructional projects.

This book lacks examples of online instructional applications. Many computer games are referred to by the author(s). Very few instructional examples are given. Disappointingly, when computer game or instructional game examples are provided, they are described with such little detail that they are of little value. Did I miss a website or links to the examples somewhere? Single screenshots and a few sentences of text just don't cut it.

I was surprised to learn that many of the chapters of the book were not written by the author. This is not disclosed in the book description. Most of those chapters missed the mark as well.

On the positive side, if you want instructional theory and computer game theory, this book has it. This book has some good high-level heuristics that could possibly help you in designing instructional games.

However, if you want to learn to design engaging instructional games, Thiagi is a better source. If you want to learn to gamify your online instruction, keep looking. This book does not provide enough detail, examples, or models that will help you to create your own online gamified instructional interactions. If you expect this, like I did, you will probably be disappointed.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
What Will Instructional Designers Gain From This Book? Sept. 6 2012
By Judy Katz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There has been much buzz about gamification in the last few years -- both the word itself and the practices it may or may not describe. I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with Dr. Kapp and several of the contributors to this book at TechKnowledge 2012, and we spent a great deal of time -- both during the panel and in preparation for it -- talking about that very terminology.

And while I do think there is value in those conversations, my primary concern about the gamification trend is less about the terminology being used and more about the possibility that the hype will continue to promote the creation of two things in the broad field of learning design and development:

- interactions that are amusing but not meaningful (which are already promoted by so many authoring tools promising easy engagement), and

- learning games that are just lame... perhaps the content is meaningful, but the addition of game mechanics isn't.

Knowing how challenging game design is and keeping those possible undesirable effects in mind, I decided to read The Gamification of Learning and Instruction with one lens only:

Assuming you are a typical instructional designer -- whatever that means -- what will you gain from this book?

And here are my answers to that question.

1) Possibly more than anything else, you will be able to articulate why and in what circumstances games can be more effective than other learning interventions. It may sound trivial, but full-on game development is more expensive and time-consuming (so, again, expensive) than ordinary elearning and stakeholders may not consider "games" to be serious, effective solutions. So instructional designers who want to explore game design (or explore hiring a game design company) may well need facts, research studies, and either a full round of ammo or +10 to charisma to get their points across.

2) You will have an appreciation for how many pitfalls there are in educational game design. And I think this is a good thing... not to discourage designers from stretching their skills, but to discourage them from doing so lightly and creating, as I said, lame designs.

3) You will be familiar with some of the reasons that people play games in ways that go far beyond "because they're fun". In particular, I liked Kapp's inclusion of Richard Bartle's gamer types, because they help us understand that different people will derive value from different aspects of gameplay. Designing to those preferences may or may not improve the outcomes of the game, but knowing about them is a start.

4) You will learn about a variety of games created for both educational and corporate use. This is an extremely important part of skill development for me and pretty much all instructional designers that I know; seeing examples is great first scaffolding for skill-building.

5) You will be encouraged to learn more about games in the best possible way -- by playing them!

Truthfully, there are many more reasons to read this book, but now I have to come back to the original lens and ask what a typical instructional designer would be able to do with these gains. Will you go out and create large-scale, well-balanced serious games? No. But I do think you'll have a good background to determine whether a game is an appropriate learning intervention, hire a game development vendor and evaluate game designs from a much more educated standpoint, and, if you want, dip your toes into designs of your own... even if just for practice.

All in all, this is a great resource to gain a foundation in the aspects of game design for learning.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I just wanted to understand gamification June 10 2012
By Joe Dager - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read several books on gamification and found most touting the use of rewards and badges or the technical aspect of design. I never wanted to design a game; I just wanted to understand gamification. Dr. Karl Kapp delivered what I was looking for. A book that started with the basics (it's not about rewards, games and badges) at the very beginning giving me a true understanding of games and maybe more importantly gamers. He then proceeded to get into just enough technical detail so that I would be able to communicate and participate in the creation process with a designer.

Many other books use examples such as frequent flyer programs and other reward schemes that have been used for decades. Dr. Kapp begins with the facts and why anyone wants to use gamification - Engagement! He goes on to create a learning experience that gives you the basic understanding for both an instructor trying to learn or create a game and the designer that is trying to understand how to construct a game. He marvelously constructs a bridge between the two disciplines.

The construction of the book is excellent (I wish more authors would do it this way). He starts out the chapters with questions preparing you for the material ahead. He ends each chapter with key takeaways and I found myself using them as my reference pointers for additional material. His notes are also delivered at the end of chapter with many links provided (Kindle Version).

Dr. Kapp's examples are current and readily applied to the real world. After reading the book, you feel that not only do you understand the gaming world better but you are much more willing to take a stab at trying a few games on your own. Something the author recommends that we all do if we are serious about gamification.

I have already purchased two copies of the book, sending the hard copy to a client and a Kindle version to use as a reference tool no matter where I may be.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Every Day is Game Day June 8 2012
By Andrew Boyarsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Having read Karl's earlier book, Learning in 3D, I was excited to open up Gamification of Learning and Instruction. The book met my level of excitement. The book does a great job at covering the essential aspects of what a game is, game elements and theories behind game use and their effectiveness in instruction, and then, building on that base, goes onto to describe practical applications of game design. Along the way, Karl puts solid instructional design at the core of any instructional exercise or course plan; in fact you can see that in the way the book is laid out.

The tone of the book has a great conversational quality, and, having heard Karl speak on a number of occasions, comes across as if he were delivering the message in-person. I especially liked the examples and stories from his son (being a Father myself this is a fantastic way for multi-generational, bidirectional learning- Bravo!) and Alicia Sanchez from DAU, among the superstars of elearning games. This is a book I will be referring to for the next couple of years when I need inspiration, reference examples, or research to back up my case. As I say to people who are averse to games in learning...Every day is game day, and this book will prepare you for that day.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Timely and on Target June 8 2012
By lhandjanx - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have followed Karl via twitter and his blogs for the last several years and I anxiously awaited the publication of this book. I bought it on my Kindle, and read it right away. It did not disappoint. Karl has a way to put the amorphous concept of ramification into an understandable and executable context using both classroom and corporate examples. I am interested in both areas and having Karl's ability to flip back and forth was incredibly valuable to me. There are many nuggets throughout the book that I know that I will use in the future, such as the research that has been done on reward systems and how to set them up in a game to have the maximum impact on performance. And for those of you who are just giving people badges, it is worth a look... I also liked the framework of the different game elements that need to be included to make it an effective game. Some are intuitive, but elements like "curve of interest" and "replay or do over" helped me see new approaches that I had not thought of before. The book was extremely helpful to me and is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the topic of the impact of gaming on learning.


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