Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Do badges kill motivation?

from Knewton.com
As Paul Allison started talking about incorporating badges into Youth Voices, it has me thinking more about the gamification of education in general and badges in particular, and what effect they might have on students' motivation. On the one hand part of me says that badges could stifle students' intrinsic motivation, that students might focus more on getting badges than on learning, and that this extrinsic motivation will ultimately have negative consequences. But on the other hand, it's hard to disagree with the rationale that badges are about "helping people of all ages learn and display 21st century skills, unlock career and educational opportunities, and find new life pathways." And the more I learn about the winners of this year's DML competition, the more of a believer I become. But still I wonder....

Even the people at Mozilla Open Badges on the FAQ section on their wiki are asking "how does introducing badges affect learners' motivations? If learners were already intrinsically motivated, how do we avoid 'crowding out' those motivations with an extrinsic badge system?"

For the next few days I'm on a quest of my own. I'll be reading and writing about what educational research has to say about motivation and how that might inform the use of badges in the classroom, I'll be talking to some people who know more about these topics than I do, and I'll be browsing websites like gamifyingeducation.org and the gamification wiki

In the meantime I'm wondering what people think about badges in education: what effect do badges have on learners' motivation?

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