The University of Essex is trying to trying to increase student retention. That is where Richard Bartle works, and he notes:

The thing is, all the ways that the document listed to increase retention among new students were straight out of the MMO newbie-retention handbook. A place where people can hang out between teaching events and make friends? Check. Organised groups led by experienced students that you can join? Check. A communication channel for students just like you? Check. A method of finding other people who are interested in the same things you are? Check. Fun tasks for people with different skills working together ? Check. Easy challenges with small rewards to get you into the swing of things? Check.

Remember your gaming insights at work. Games are designed to be more enriching and enjoyable than real life, so why can’t we take the lessons of games to make real life more fun? I currently work in educational assessment, and we are looking ahead to games as teaching and testing tools.

: Zubon

2 thoughts on “Retention”

  1. But if life ends up becoming as much fun as playing games, who will want to play games any more?

    The really interesting part of Dr. Bartle’s blog, though, isn’t his comparison of his job and his hobby. It’s the fact that 40% of UEA students quit in the first year. That sounds astoundingly high. This piece in The Independent from May 2016 lists the highest drop-out rates for first-time students in UK Universities.

    The highest is 29% falling to 22% by #10 on the list. UAE is not in the top 10. Of course that may be a snapshot using different criteria. Still extraordinarily high, even so. I had no idea it was that common. I went to Cambridge and as you can see from another list in the piece the drop-out rate there is less than 2%. I can literally name the people I knew who didn’t come back for the 2nd year. There were three of them and of those three only one dropped out from choice. The other two were asked to leave or failed their first year exams.

    Retention is one thing but addressing the underlying problems of the political culture that created the situation in the first place is entirely another. I don’t think gamifying the first year is going to do much to help with that.

  2. “The right way” just doesn’t exist, but as long as we are willing to try new things, educational models and such, we are obtaining incalculable experience points that would eventually throw us into the right path, finding what works and what doesn’t. And even embracing the way that works, still there would be people that would feel inadequate in that way.

    I’m not into gamifying, but on using games as a medium to let knowledge flow. I’m currently testing a model for school that allows the teacher to prepare and organize the contents that will feed the game that students play together, as an mmorpg. Perhaps university could find some use on something like this. I would also like to point you to the MIT scheller teacher education program and education arcade.

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