April 14

What are some of the most important features of video games? Reflection 3.2

The writing of Wood et al (2004). The Structural characteristics of video Games: A psycho-structural analysis. Provides a powerful insight into what motivates gamers to play or to continue to play a game. The lessons learned offer a wealth of information for the educator trying to apply the principles of good games to promote learning.

In my opinion, the table below highlights some key considerations for the use of gaming concepts to improve engagement.

  • Most interestingly is the idea that gamers do not consider a linear structure, as important. This idea could/should revolutionise how we deliver subjects. Players like to explore new ideas and 75.2% rate an element of surprise as important in a good game. Learning should embrace this concept and introduce a more tangential approach to content, allowing exploration and introducing the element of surprise to motivate learners to continue to engage.
  • If 74.4% of gamers find fulfilling a quest as an important characteristic of the gaming experience, then a clear quest at the outset of the learning experience ought to be motivational. In order to fulfill that quest players seek to develop skills and to be recognised for that achievement.

Wood et al (2004) Participant ratings of structural Characteristics

Structural characteristics of good games Woods et al (2004)

Players enjoy a sense of “agency”   (Extra Credits 2012). The idea of being able to control their destiny. The concept that different choices have different outcomes develops a sense of empowerment. The option to achieve a different ending, find different things of collect different items all rank highly and support the idea that players and by comparison learners will respond positively to a sense of agency.


Another element which Woods et al (2004) point out as important is the absorption rate i.e. How quickly the player can get into the game. 76.5% of players rated this as important. Again I believe that in the classroom, learners need to be able to engage really quickly and easily with the learning “game” if they are to enjoy the experience.

The question which remains is how to do this… now that we know what is important, the implementation of these concepts remains challenging given the limitations of time, curriculum and expertise. Some of the concepts can easily be applied but some require major pedagogical shifts, which are just not that simple!



Extra Credits. (2012, May 13) Gamifying Education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watchv=MuDLw1zIc94&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_5BIUqSDPmfBuKjTN2QBv9wI

Wood, R. T. A., Chappell, D., & Davies, M. N. O. (2004). The Structural characteristics of video Games: A psycho-structural analysisCyber Psychology & Behavior, 7(1), 1–10

Posted April 14, 2016 by moraig in category INF541

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