More than just pastimes, games have long played a role in shaping the world.
Today, “gamification” is more prominent than ever, as creative people develop games to help heal the sick, prevent industrial accidents and enable kids to do well in school.
Motivation is a problem for many people. How can they overcome their inner resistance? One answer is gamification: introducing play into everyday situations.
Take 14-year-old Paula Monfeld. She has to do strenuous muscle exercises every day, or her condition – cerebral palsy – will worsen. Game developers want to help her have more fun doing these exercises.
“The good thing that gamification can do is tap into a person’s potential,” explains game developer Thomas Immich. “But simply awarding points or rewards is not gamification, that’s not enough.” Instead, tapping into intrinsic motivation is, so to speak, the name of the game.
With games for doctors, medical technologist Stefan Vilsmeier wants to “democratize access to adequate healthcare and training.” In the future, before surgeons lay hands on their patients, they ought to first practice on their cell phones, “playing” the operations through, down to the smallest detail.
One Danish school manages without any technology at all. At the Østerskov Efterskole, teachers and students teach and learn via role playing. For example, German teacher Iris Sanders and her students spend an entire week “living” in communist East Germany. “When you learn something, you learn best when emotions are involved.” That’s Iris Sanders’ credo.
But does gamification help when it comes to learning new work skills? Belgian Jelmen Lombarts and his team want to test this idea using a forklift simulator. With online trade and logistics growing rapidly around the world, new forklift drivers have to be trained quickly, and accidents are becoming more frequent. Training on a simulator could help, says Jelmen Lombarts: “Industry must also accept that the future is in games and that the new generation is more than ready for it.”
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