Urgent Evoke

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I'd like your opinions about motivation, especially as regards Evoke. I've seen some posts about the gameplay aspect of this site, and some posts about teaching, but not seen the two groups talking very much.

I used to work in sales, now I'm a teacher, and I'm participating in Evoke after seeing Jane's TED speech about using games to teach people. I use stuff like Third World Farmer to stimulate conversation quite often. (Be careful, this one can be addictive.)

Sales is a science. It's a process of understanding your customer, helping them to understand their own problems more clearly, directing them to define a solution, then presenting them with something that solves the problem as they define it, and finally making it affordable/attainable. Sometimes, you have to mislead people in order to influence their understanding and decision-making, and I was never very good at it. But teaching is basically the same thing.

I just saw a brilliant speech about math education in the USA, in which the speaker says: I sell a product to a market that doesn't want it, but is forced by law to buy it.... it's just a losing proposition. (It's 11 minutes, and well worth the investment in time.)

Clearly he gets it, teaching is all about presenting information in a way that motivates people, which is where Jane comes in. Evoke is presented as a game, with points and runes to chase after. It's also time-limited, which in my case meant trying to do everything in just six weeks.

I'm trying to figure out:
  • does the points system detract from the learning objectives?
  • does the time limit motivate people or make them feel that the goal in unattainable?
  • what else should I be considering that I haven't thought about this early in the morning?
Games are all about commitment.

The key thing in sales is to obtain a commitment at each step of the process. The customer should have said "yes, I believe in you and your reasons for talking to me, and I have defined my problem as X and I really do want to solve that problem because the benefits are Y, and my ideal solution will be Z. I would really love to have Z, and if you can show me something that can do that and it's affordable then I will buy it."

If they haven't 'bought' you then nothing that happens after that point means anything. If they haven't bought you then they won't buy your vision. Even if they bought you, if they didn't buy your vision then your solution isn't going to solve their problm, no matter how cheap it is. And so on.

Sometimes people will nod their heads and go along with you, just to make you happy, but they're not committed. They just comply with your wishes until it comes to closing the sale, and then they make objections. (I don't like the colour.) A poor salesperson responds to the objections, a good salesman rewinds the process until they find the point where they stopped getting commitment and started getting compliance.

As a teacher, my students will comply in order to get the grades that keep their parents happy. Or, if I do my job properly, they will become emotionally committed to doing what I want because they see some benefit to themselves in extracting knowledge from me that is useful for them. Teaching is all about motivation, not facts. But the facts have to made available in bite-sized packages so that the students can digest them. In other words, we make the learning attainable, affordable in terms of effort required. Jane talked in her speech about games presenting goals that are achievable at each level. Same same, but different1

Similarly, Evoke has tried to use the 'game' format with points and runes to motivate people, to get commitment. I'm very interested in this concept and would like to hear other people's insights as to the successfulness or otherwise. The final task, Imagine10, was accepted by 146 people out of 19,348. Learn1 was accepted by 4,399 people out of a smaller original group. What's going on? What can be learned?

NOTE: THIS IS A RESEARCH POST AHEAD OF MY EVOKATION, PLEASE BE CONSTRUCTIVE, IT'S NOT INTENDED TO BE A PLACE TO B**** ABOUT STUFF YOU JUST DON'T LKE. GIVE REASONS FOR YOUR OPINIONS.

Thanks
Chris

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I looked up some related topics, please add others that you know of.

http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-win
http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/constraints-are-vital-and...
http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/evoke-politics-points
http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/evoke-is-boring-and-garbage
http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/this-is-an-excellently-cr...
http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-actually-make-this-a
http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/our-game-evoke-points-and

And finally: http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/the-wired-interview-with-...

Views: 93

Comment by Chris Ke Sihai on May 15, 2010 at 1:40pm
I don't know about you guys, but I LOVE the idea of mini-evokations. Especially if they were something that was repeatable, such as the ones suggested above.

The project management tool on ingeniousity.net has a facility to copy a project. I'm not really familiar with that, but in theory you could build up a framework for a mini-evoke like this, complete with a breakdown of all the tasks. Any user could then 'accept' that task by creating a copy (presumably they could then modify it too) and assemble a team to take it on. I'm specifically targetting schools anyway, so I'm thinking in terms of class projects.

Hmmm, as players could also create their own projects that would mean that someone could originate an idea and then enlist the community in refining the plan in a fairly structured way before trying to implement it. If you have some form of moderation (possible) then well-planned projects could also be added to the library of 'templates'.

There needs to be more content about 'how things work' too.

All this is, of course, at the risk of deciding in advance exactly how things should be done and closing the door to disruptive innovation.
Comment by Chris Ke Sihai on May 15, 2010 at 1:43pm
Personally, I didn't have time to really research stuff as much as I would have liked. I can see how it would be fun, in fact I spend a lot of time when I'm not busy reading random Wikipedia pages. But in this case there was simply too much to do in a short time.

I'm envisioning cla**** next school year that will work through the wh*** Evoke season in either one semester or one year. I think that if students have been guided through season 1 over 4-5 months, then they'll be ready to leap into season 2 on day one and complete the wh*** thing individually over ten weeks.
Comment by Chris Ke Sihai on May 15, 2010 at 1:44pm
I think there should also be a mission about the evils of coffee and the negative impacts of caffeine-dependence.
Comment by Chris Ke Sihai on May 15, 2010 at 2:12pm
For example, a game I'd like to play would define my winning "score" as having ten government and/or NGO leaders (X) publicly put the Maslow 2.0/Prime Directive into writing as their basic policy (Y), by my birthday on May 17th, 2011 (Z)

OK, so here's a silly idea: There are websites ouut there that allow people to 'bid' on projects or goods. Kiva is one example you're probably familiar with, or ebay. There are also 'reverse auction' sites such as elance.com where people can offer to do a project in return for payment.

If all this can be done, why can't players offer to 'fund' or reward a completed project? So, someone declares a public goal like the one above and other players pledge some form of points or cash if the project is completed. I don't know how you would verify completion, or keep people to their pledges, but all things are possible.

Perhaps players could be enabled to buy some kind of game money which could then be used to reward other players for completing missions? You get some other award for sponsoring missions, and the people completing the missions can do something cool with the game money. (Or use it to sponsor someone else and then win the sponsor award.)

I already know of several ranking and user-points systems. People can get points for introducing friends, submitting articles, having articles approved, commenting on others' articles, passing tests, etc. You could have ranks with special logos appearing on user profiles like the runes now.

It's probably quite easy to build something that allows people to buy "funding points" and receive game points if they use them to encourage someone in a project.

This is a very incomplete thought on my part, but money is no different from points, is no different from page rank (reputation), is no different from anything else that can be traded electronically.

The real question is: what currency will have value to the player?

http://thefuntheory.com offered small cash prizes for ideas that used fun to change people's behaviour in socially beneficial ways. Were people motivated by the cash, or by the chance to share an idea? I think the latter, or else the former was a means to achieve a social goal. But if large corporations will pay people to have good ideas (and sponsor sites like TED) who says it's not possible to find people who will put up real cash prizes for goals achieved?

Honestly, if Turil published the goal she described above and said she needed US$1000 to make it happen, would you contribute $10? Maybe not, but would you promise her $10 on condition she reached the goal first?

Before answering, consider the Save Toby campaign.
Comment by Jeremy Laird Hogg on May 15, 2010 at 5:41pm
It's funny I don't really see points as carrots. I love points because they are feedback and simple. The simplest form of feedback.

I believe feedback is king for empowerment. People don't always comment, on evoke, but whenever they leave a point it is of a *type* which is a byte of information - simple feedback.

Games are about codifying. You codify some kind of theme or event - in monopoly you codify becoming rich through property investment (brilliant idea that game, for the historical context - made in north american thirties, a fun escape from the depression).

Points are essential to codify *progress*. The win condition at the end of a game only comes once, at the very end. So too a prize attached to a win condition. But a good points system recognizes every tiny step in the right direction.
Comment by Kay Endriss on May 16, 2010 at 2:32am
Hi Chris (Ke Sihai),

A convergence of my courses! The link below will take you to an open course discussion post about game-based learning. I would recommend following the link to the first article, which provides some basic information on important aspects of games. My post follows as a reply to the original discussion comment, and in it of course, I am referring to you and your students!

http://edfutures.com/forumpost/blended-reality-and-game-based-learning

I really like the way you connected motivation to selling and to teaching. For my own motivation, I found that the Evoke setup was good, but my time was so severely limited that my accomplishments weren't as complete as I wished. I found some of the stories motivated me much more than others. Once I realized there were different amounts of points on offer, I was motivated to skip around more given my time constraints. Contrary to Jane's comment, I abbreviated my time on the learn objectives, also due to time constraints and knowing the information would be there to return to later.

I must say I enjoyed the different levels of objectives. The quests were interesting and fun, and having three mission aspects: learn, act, imagine allowed me quite a lot of choice in where to apply my effort. Choice appears to be quite important to motivation. Perhaps you have some thoughts on this from your sales experience?

I didn't experience a lot of collaboration, none really, until I found your blog post. I will say that collaboration has been very valuable as I am currently using Paul's weekly rubric with my high-schoolers - we've just started this. Based on my thinking today, I would say that this is an area that I would recommend be improved in Evoke 2. We connected based on our profession. If there were a way to connect groups that share some commonalities, or a way for individuals that share such commonalities to find each other, I think it would add an important dimension to the game. I've been thinking about a resilient structure that applies to humanity and it seems to be centered around two things: collaboration/relationship and innovation. What else did the first humans who discovered fire have?

That's all I have for the moment, looking forward to following this and your evokation plans!
Kay
Comment by Victor Udoewa on May 16, 2010 at 3:15am
I'm a teacher, not a gamer.

I was not motivated by points but I did have the emotion of wanting more points and wanting to be a leader when leaders were highlighted (the same thing happens in the classroom), but I knew points didn't matter. I was motivated by prize money to launch a social enterprise.

But it was so little. They should offer more. The first half of the game should all be educational, the second half is working on an actual evokation up to a certain point (demonstration stage). Then seed grants should be given to the best (like $100,000) and the teams have 1 year to do a proof-of-concept. If it's successful they get continued funding. I wrote about this in my 2.0 blog.

The educational objectives were the best. And I actually did go deep in my work with the EVOKE network, in my learning of the issues and probing and acting. But how far depends on what you want to do.

To give greater motivation, you also need more time for each of the weeks. One week was a horribly short amount of time especially if something came up one week in the life of an agent.

Victor
Comment by Ternura Rojas on May 16, 2010 at 2:17pm
As a interested in the social contents and the teaching potential of this Evoke
# does the points system detract from the learning objectives?
No,they don't. They are sueful, we humans like to have a tool to comapare ourselves with the others.
# does the time limit motivate people or make them feel that the goal in unattainable?
depends on the time limit, but in general, setting a time limit prevents procastination :-)
# what else should I be considering that I haven't thought about this early in the morning?
Points are not enough motivation, being featured and named hero of the week was veruy motivating. feedback was the most motivating to me personally. I would have loved if I had the chance to propose a Mission X related to the social problem of my interest and chioce=I see the evokation as my chance to do this
Agent Gilda Lorena offered a balance of her work in this post.
I would have loved to have my missions reviewed on line by an specialist in the field (more than a UE mentor). For example: Warren Karlenzig, the author of this post, which was used in Mission 7 contacted me last week, he actually thought that mi IMAGINE7 post was for real! he wanted to take my resilient Cochabamba to Shangai!
But I understand this might be expensive and complicated for high volumes of posts.
Lastly: have you cheked JCCO's evokation?
Besrt luck with this :-)
Comment by Jeremy Laird Hogg on May 17, 2010 at 6:56pm
the audience is high school. In my highschool, my first year ended in a mercy pass. But by the end I finished a year early with an a+ average. So I feel like I have some insight into the motivation of high school students, lol, just a little.

Time limits: time limits are not the answer to procrastination. Period. The answer to procrastination is preset time blocks of a prearranged amount in which you do work from the first minute of it until the last. For instance, for me: at a half hour past getting home from school, do homework for exactly 50 minutes. Period. It works and that's all there is to it. Go from 50% to 80%.

If you have time limits in your evoke game, do not expect them to help somehow. Time limits will probably have to be part of the game, but they don't crack the procrastination nut.

What else should you be considering? Well, Evoke has as one of it's major objectives to lift people up who have slipped through the cracks. Never forget that. Top prizes mean nothing to people who can't picture themselves winning. Somehow, you have to empower the people having a tough time motivating themselves - and that is the true challenge, because even while you give them a pep talk their eyes are on those players climbing the ranks who don't need the extra pep talk.

The leader cloud, where there is no overall tally but no less then 11 quantitative categories to qualify for recognition is a step in the right direction.

Another step in the right direction is this: you as the teacher are the dispenser of reward (largely) - be part of the game but use your voting power sparingly and for those flagging in motivation. (This idea highlights the importance to a points system that employs heterogeneous +1s rather than a 1-5 rating system - giving a 5 to a flagging student is patronizing, giving a 3 is limp - giving a +1 [category] is not such a minefield, and is more concrete)
Comment by Chris Ke Sihai on May 18, 2010 at 12:29am
You guys are giving me some great ideas her, many thanks. And keep them coming!

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