Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Gartner's 2015 Hype Cycle and a Year of Research on Gamification of Education

This year, gamification was not included in the Gartner's Hype Cycle. In the last four years, gamification was part of the cycle: see this post. This gave rise to some comments, like this one: The Hype is Over – Gamification is Here to Stay.

What really happened is that Gartner moved gamification to a digital marketing hype cycle:

As Jorge Simões points out, gamification hasn't gone - it's simply been downgraded from a major "game changer" theme to being a component of another one - in this case 'digital marketing'.  It's worth noting that few gamification practitioners really agree with Gartner's view that gamification is a purely digital technology.

In 2014, Gamification was on the "Through of Disillusionment", with a prediction to reach the "Plateau of Productivity" in two to five years. In 2015 in seems that Gamification reached the bottom and was kept out of the cycle. No problem with that. It will probably move to the "Slope of Enlightenment" but Gartner is now considering it just as a digital marketing tool and probably will keep it out of the cycle. But gamification is not relevant just for marketing purposes and it can even be used in non-digital environments (which is not the Gartner's opinion).

Gamification is still considered as relevant in Education and several other contexts. Darina Dicheva and Christo Dichev submitted a paper to E-LEARN 2015 (Gamification in Education: Where Are We in 2015?) where they present a follow-up of an initial study - Gamification in education: A systematic mapping study (see this post). 

In this follow-up (covering the period from July 2014 till June 2015), the authors found that there is "... inconclusive and insufficient evidence for making valid claims about the efficacy of gamification in education". They also point for " ... the drop of the empirical studies reporting positive results and the big jump of the studies with inconclusive or negative results".

It seems that, also in education, gamification is reaching the "Through of Disillusionment". Or it means that we still need further research on how to apply gamification effectively.

The paper also includes a definition for Gamification in Education: "the introduction of game elements and gameful experiences in the design of learning processes" (I have my definition of gamification in education: the use of game elements and game techniques in technology-enhanced learning environments in order to improve students’ motivation and engagement).

Dicheva, D., Dichev, C., Agre, G., and Angelova, G. (2015). Gamification in education: A systematic mapping study (in press). Educational Technology and Society, 18(3). 

Dicheva, D., Dichev, C. (2015). Gamification in education:Where we satnd in 2015?. E-LEARN 2015 - World Conference on E-Learning, Kona, Hawaii, October 19-22, 2015