April 24, 2014
In her spectacular TED Talk " Gaming can make a better world" researcher and game developer Dr. Jane McGonigal talked about four important features that make gamers spend a tremendous number of hours playing tirelessly online games. Let me first share with you these interesting statistics Jane mentioned in her talk:
- We spend 3 billion hours weekly playing online games
- 500 million people spend at least an hour a day playing games.
According to Jane these are the four elements that give games the power to spend thousands of hours playing games and collaboratively solving challenging problems posed in these games. These same elements, I believe. if applied in a learning context would make us better learners.
1- Urgent optimism
This is extreme self motivation. It is the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle combined with the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success. Gamers always believe that an epic win is possible and that it is worth trying and trying now.
There is a lot of research that shows that we like people better after we play a game with them even if they beat us badly. The reason is that it takes trust to play a game with someone we trust they will spend time with us, they will play by the same rules, value the same goals, they will stay with the game until it's over. Playing a game together actually build up bonds and trust and cooperation and we build stronger social relationships as a result.
3- Blissful Productivity
The reason why so many gamers spend several hours playing games is because they feel happier working hard than relaxing or hanging out. It gives them an uplifting sense that they are optimized as human beings to do hard and meaningful work .
4- Epic meaning
Gamers love to be attached to inspiring missions to human planetary scale stories. Here is one bit of trivia that helps put this in perspective: The second biggest wiki in the world after wikipedia is the World of Warcraft wiki with nearly 80.000 articles and 5 million people use it every month. These people have compiled more information about the World of Warcraft in the internet than any other topic covered in any other wiki in the world. They are building an epic story.They are building an epic knowledge resource about the world of warcraft.
Watch Jane's TED talk to learn more about why gaming can make a better world.
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