Game Design and Instructional Design, is one a subset of the other? Clearly, gamification has appeal to educators seeking engagement. It all comes down to what we learn (if anything) from playing the game! ~ Dennis
In many ways, education somewhat resembles a game (Lee & Hammer, 2011). A game can be thought of as a highly structured system designed with specific rules, goals, and challenges. Successful games are fun – they motivate players to engage in the task at hand, from collecting coins and saving princesses (gotta love Mario Bros.) to storming battle fields in multiplayer combat scenarios (the Modern Warfare series comes to mind). At a deeper level, games activate a very primal response; they tap into the learning and behavior processes of the brain. People becomes so completely engaged in gameplay precisely because they are challenged; they must acquire and master new skills if they wish to advance to higher levels of complexity. If a task is too challenging it will lead to anxiety; if it is too easy it will lead to boredom. That perfect balance between the two is termed flow – that state in which a person is fully immersed in the experience (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).