Virtual Realities

More than 183 million people (57 percent of the population) in the United States play video games at least one hour daily. With so much time spent online, how can we separate virtual from real? What does scholarship about gaming reveal about the marketplace, leadership, teamwork and  entrepreneurship? Virtual worlds not only connected with reality but also inform and shape how we function daily. From earning mayoral status in Foursquare to discovering new football moves online, persistent virtual worlds influence our thoughts and behaviors in many ways.

According to researchers Jesse Schell and Jane McGonigal, young people will spend more than 10,000 hours online before they are 21. This equals the amount of time they are in class in grades five through 12. In addition, in their book “Got Game,” John Beck and Mitchell Wade argue that the brains of people who grow up playing games are wired differently from those not exposed to gaming from an early age.

“Gamification”–the use of game-like properties in non-game settings–engages people in activities that offer opportunities to earn and collect points and use those points for privileges. Examples are frequent-flier programs and retail store loyalty cards.  Also, the game “Re-Mission” was designed to attract teenagers with cancer who are now in remission. They play and earn points but the real outcome is to continually remind players about the importance of taking their medicine, even as they are feeling better. There are numerous other examples of gamification as ways to deliver information and influence behavior. Educators and employers have a unique opportunity to engage those who are comfortable in the digital space.

VCU’s Business and Collections Librarian Pattie Sobczak has expertise in gaming and virtual works as they connect to business and real world challenges. Available to consult with faculty who want to integrate gaming materials into curriculum, she writes and presents widely on the topic. Her doctoral dissertation in a program on human and organizational systems was on Ephemeral leadership in the workplace and in on-line gaming. Her doctoral dissertation in a program on human and organizational systems was on leadership in the workplace and in online gaming. See her presentation at a recent Digital Pragmata workshop.

Her recommendations for reading to inspire teaching and further research are:

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education

The Gamification Revolution: How Leaders Leverage Game Mechanics to Crush the Competition
HF5414 .Z53 2013

The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice

Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
GV1201.38 .M34 2011

Gamification in Education and Business

Creating E-Learning Games with Unity: Develop Your Own 3D E-Learning Game Using Gamification, Systems Design, and Gameplay

A Gamified Collaborative Course in Entrepreneurship: Focus on Objectives and Tools 
Computers in Human Behavior

Gamifying Learning Experiences: Practical Implications and Outcomes
Computers & Education

Motivational Effects and Age Differences of Gamification in Product Advertising
The Journal of Consumer Marketing

Gamification, Social Networks and Sustainable Environments
International Journal of Interactive Multimedia and Artificial Intelligence

By Sue Robinson, director of communication and public relations. For more information about this resource or others

Image: Creative Commons

Categories Arts, Update
Tagged , ,

Leave a Reply