How digital learning can use game-like rewards to improve engagement


Date: Thursday, October 8

Time: 3:00PM Eastern/ noon Pacific time (US)

Led by Serious Play Conference featured speaker Kevin Miklasz

Although reward structures have generally been successful in games, the types of rewards used in education have had mixed success. Are rewards like badge or microcredentials a poor fit to education, or are we just doing something wrong in how we use them? Also, what about all the rewards we already use in education, like grades, GPAs and diplomas? I offer the idea that in general, games have used well-designed, meaningful, intrinsic reward structures, while educational systems have often used poorly-designed, not meaningful, extrinsic reward structures. Without dissecting and addressing the reasons for this discrepancy, attempts to revolutionize educational systems in a game-based manner are doomed to failure. Especially as we switch to a more digital remote-learning world, how we design learning in the digital space, which is typically filled with reward structures, becomes especially important. To explore this idea, this webinar will address questions like:

  • How do games use rewards, and why have rewards helped games become so engrossing?

  • What do historical uses of rewards look like in fields outside video games and education?

  • How do you design a reward well?

  • If we had to apply game-based use of rewards to schools, what would that look like in practice?

Kevin Miklasz has worked in and around the fields of game design and education for the last 10 years. As a trained scientist, he has a PhD in Biology from Stanford University, but has spent his time gaining a smattering of diverse experiences in education: designing science curriculum, teaching after-school science programs, designing science games, running a science and cooking blog, running game jams for kids, and running professional development for teachers and professional engineers. He is currently the VP, Data and Prototyping at BrainPOP, where he leads the data team and coordinates prototyping work on new products. Kevin is a featured speaker of the Serious Play Conference.

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