Education Game Theory and the Individual
Game Theory must first take into account the context of the challenge or process being performed. The most difficult part of describing this context is the attributes of the individual being catered to and how they can be measured or leveraged to promote greater adoption and engagement.
Certainty / Uncertainty
An individual must have variety available to ensure that a system is revisited. Too much certainty and the activity becomes mundane or tedious, too little certainty and the expected outcomes, or the content itself become unfocused and lose value.
Have you ever gone to see a movie that you’ve already enjoyed watching? This scenario describes the scale of certainty and its effect upon behaviour. In essence, you go to see that movie because you are certain that you have enjoyed it previously; but you are also hoping that you have forgotten enough of the movie’s content to be uncertain about this new viewing.
The individual must be able to identify themselves in the context of the application environment. Using digital profiles that allow customisation so that the individual has opportunity to alter their presentation to themselves and other individuals, and even the tool itself.
The combination of customisations that are within control of the individual must extend to at least the perception of ‘uniqueness’ for an appropriate degree of significance to occur.
The individual must be at liberty to forge or break connections to other individuals or groups of individuals. Most online communities that are successful use intimacy attributes to maintain connections. Seeking intimacy through digital mechanisms must leverage the requirements of:
- Honesty; transparency in the functioning of a community and its purpose
- Safety; the individual must have control over its exposure to connection and access to support
- Responsibility; An individual’s actions are linked directly
- Presence; an individual must be visible to others and be able to control what attributes are shown
- Gratitude; the system must provide the opportunity for gratitude to be shown amongst individuals
For an individual to deem the use of a system worthwhile a perception of personal growth must be developed. This growth can be measured by the uptake of content, the effective use of the system or the performance of tasks during activity; but to improve the individual’s adoption of the system this growth must be internalised. The individual must see benefit in their ongoing use of the tool.
The activity of exploration, that the system doesn’t necessarily have a finite application is a powerful mechanism in this requirement.
Contribution (give beyond the individual)
Finally, the opportunity for the individual to contribute to the system as a whole, either through:
- Improvement; adding or modifying system components to improve performance.
- Support; use connections to mentor and encourage other individuals
The act of contribution enhances a system through organic development, addition of external reference and focusing of purpose, allowing for a system environment and context to be more readily consolidated.
The Map for Activity
Another consideration for inclusion of ‘game’ mechanisms is a map to provoke activity. While individuals are engaged with the system itself what motivates the exploration and consumption of content.
Pathways and Triggers for Action
Following the requirement for variety and perception of choice, the system must present its components in a relative structure that allows for traversal alternative pathways in content and activity.
Through a process of event triggers and intervening challenges (tests, data collection) an individual’s progress can be observed in relation to the environment. Each action should progress logically toward another, while also providing an opportunity to deviate even if only temporarily.
The deeper and more numerous the pathways on offer, the greater the potential immersion of the individual; although this may also cause focus and value perception issues unless the pathways are made appropriately clear.
Observable and Transparent
Pathway choices, progress and achievement must always be presented to the individual. Where possible these presentations should also be linked the value outcomes, for example the final outcome for pursuing this pathway of ten objectives / events will lead to a specific reward.
The observation of a progress within the system should allow for an individual to plan their next steps and make personalised judgement calls on what they perceive as valuable. Even in linear process systems the ability to ‘see what’s coming up next’ improves certainty and, if modification or feedback is supported, can encourage process revision and refinement.
Encouragement and Reward and Discomfort
The measure of success around systems delivery and adoption can be measured through the perceived value of the ‘reward’ for completion. Manipulating the attributes of the systems outcome can reinforce iterative behaviour (repeat utilisation) and ensure progressive environment development. The key attributes for consideration are:
- Encouragement; how frequently and what quality of positive messaging does the individual receive.
- Reward; what value does the final outcome for a pathway deliver, is this pathway observable as ‘dominant’.
- Discomfort; can the individual improve upon the pathway, quantify how that improvement might occur.
About Digital Education
The Loft Group has identified the need for a software application upon which an individual can engage with content through self-organised educational models, benefit from proven social collaboration and be encouraged through the sharing of their efforts with industry professional mentors and peer groups. The purpose of this tool is to assemble the large concepts of education and make them more accessible and consumable by the individual.
The Loft vision for the ideal digital classroom is emerging. It meets the needs of the students and the community that surrounds them. It assists in the creation of innovative content design and supports delivery and assessment. It provides opportunity for active learning and collaboration amongst peers and mentors by putting control into the hands of the individual. In short, it’s not a room at all.
About The Loft Group
The Loft Group specialises in providing business consultancy through software solutions. Established in 2007, the Australian company constructs purpose-built digital infrastructure for clients to create online communities and harness the organisation’s communications, education, and human connections into one place, accessible from any channel.
The Loft Group lives and breathes a philosophy of customer intimacy and are committed to discovery, originality and entrepreneurship. With a Melbourne-based head office, the business is rapidly moving towards becoming a trusted business consultant, software developer and IT based business with satellite offices throughout Australia.