Mar 13, 2010
When I mentioned Lee Sheldon's experience point grade method in my 2010 DICE talk, I really thought of it as an unusual experiment. Then Joseph Lui sent me this link to uboost! It's a system that allows teachers to award points to students for good grades, or, well, pretty much anything. The points can be used to buy virtual goods for avatars or virtual pets, or for real world prizes and gift cards. Maybe this is a good way to enhance motivation in school? Or maybe, as some research suggests, this will actually backfire terribly, actually decreasing student motivation. Exactly when external rewards increases and decreases motivation is kind of mysterious -- because it is clear that depending on the circumstance, it can have either effect. I need to study the research more, to understand what the drivers are. Jesper's article doesn't make it clear to me. I've heard Chris Hecker talked about this some at GDC 2010, but I wasn't able to see the talk -- I'm hoping to catch a recording of it. Anyway, if you think you understand when extrinsic rewards help, and when they hurt, I'd love to hear about it!