Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Fun Is Learning through Interesting Challenges – about Gameful Design

Sebastian Deterding is a designer and researcher working on persuasive and gameful design (or »gamification«), user experience and video games. He is broadly interested in how code shapes conduct – and how to put that knowledge into practice. This presentation gives a coverage from fundamentals to good and bad examples, even to the deep philosophic thoughts. (open licensed under CC BY)

Quoting from Raph Kaster:

Fun is just another word for learning(through interesting challenges). Fun from games arises out of mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that makes games fun. With games learning is the drug.

So, the core of game design is all about crafting these interesting challenges with:

  • Goal + Rules(environments) = Interesting Challenges
  • Interesting Challenges + Feedback = Experience of Mastery

What’s an interesting game that leads to learning?

Principles 1: Clear goals

Principles 2: Structured flow of goals (goals of long term, medium term, short term)

Principles 3: “A (good) game is a series of interesting choices” — Sid Meier

Principles 4: Scaffolded challenges

game-based learning

Principle 5: Scaffolded complexity

Principles 6: Find and support the core challenge

Principles 7: Juicy feedback

Principles 8: Actionable feedback loops

autonomy, game-based learningMore on playful elements…

  • Autonomy makes all the difference between work and play! Remember Tom Sawyer’s fence?
  • Trusted safety place
  • Shared focus and attitude (setting a playful tone)
  • Generative tools/toys (when designing tools for play, underspecify!)

This is a splendid presentation which will walk you through all the gameful design elements and lots of examples. (remember to enjoy it with full screen)


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3 Responses »


  1. Fun Is Learning through Interesting Challenges – about Gameful Design | Games and education |
  2. Fun Is Learning through Interesting Challenges – about Gameful Design | Educação, EaD e Games |
  3. Play and Learn Weekly Sep.8th, 2012 | Classroom Aid

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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