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ISPI Charlotte

May 2015 Program – Charlotte, NC
Got Game? The Seven Essential Gamification Elements for Learning, Engagement, and Proven Results
Michael K. Thomas, Ph.D.

May 14, 2015
Cone Building, Room 111
UNCC Main Campus

Register now

Evening Program
5:30 - 6:30: Registration, Networking, and Food
6:30 - 8:00: Presentation.
15.00 USD for ISPI Charlotte Members, 25.00 USD for Guests



Many researchers have noted that harnessing elements of video game systems in the entertainment industry have yielded impressive results for learning. Video games are intensely motivating and incorporate elements such as:
  • Levelling systems
  • Rapid feedback
  • Narrative
  • Identity play
  • Zones of proximal development
  • Experimentation with the epistemic frames of experts
Games are also increasingly sophisticated, ubiquitous, and are being used in the areas of training (corporate, military, etc.). While for some the term “simulation” might be more palatable than “games” the term “gamification” has gained traction in the training world. The idea is that existing training systems may be made more game like with the incorporation of certain elements. These presentations will overview seven of these elements and how they may be mapped on to existing principles of instructional design.

By the end of this presentation, you will be able to:
  • Identify sources of information in the field of Instructional Systems Technology (IST) as related to games and game design for learning
  • Define the area of gamification as it relates to teaching and learning theory and practice.
  • Identify appropriate uses of games in a learning system.
  • Explain the contemporary issues and trends in gamification.
  • Identify criteria, strategies, and reviewing service/information sources for hardware and courseware evaluation, selection, and integration.
  • Describe each of the “Seven Essential Gamification Elements for Learning, Engagement and Proven Results.”
  • Summarize strategies needed to integrate gamification into a learning system.

About Michael Thomas

Michael K. Thomas is an assistant professor in Instructional Systems Technology in the Department of Educational Leadership at UNC Charlotte. He holds a double major Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology and Language Education from Indiana University, Bloomington. His research focuses the cultural dimensions of technology implementation in learning contexts and what this means for the design of technology-rich innovations for learning. Three key questions with respect to this are:

  • What are the central concerns of teachers, trainers, and other stakeholders regarding the implementation of technology in learning contexts?
  • What do they do to continually resolve these concerns?
  • In what ways does culture play a role in the design and implementation of technology-rich innovations?
He is particularly interested in video games and gamification in learning environments. He has expertise in qualitative research in general and grounded theory in particular.

Before joining, UNCC, he taught instructional technology and research methodology at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also been an ESL/EFL teacher in New York City Public Schools and has taught overseas. He is also an amateur musician and composer and enjoys long distance running and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.


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