Instructional Designer

Gamification Courses on and Coursera

Maybe a better title for this post is MOOCs vs.  In the past 6 months I completed Kevin Werbach’s MOOC on Coursera and Karl Kapp’s course on both on gamification.  I really enjoy gamificaiton because I think it makes learning fun when used properly.  I read both Werbach’s For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize Your Business and Kapp’s The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education.  I liked both books but I probably got more out of Kapp’s book and video because Kapp puts gamification in my field rather than the business world in general.

I really underestimated the time commitment of taking a MOOC.  Off the top of my head, the course was about 2 hours 15 minutes long and it was a pure lecture format.  It was extremely interesting and held my attention.  It was great reinforcement to Kapp’s book.  The Coursera session was about 6 weeks long with multiple lectures.  Both are on demand so you can take them when you want to however, Coursera releases more videos on a weekly basis.  I’m not exactly sure how long the videos would take since there’s not a running total but I would estimate probably about 6 hours of video.  Then on top of the video there were quizzes and written assignments.  This was great to reinforce the learning but it really added to the time commitment.  In the class notes, there is a note that states that one should expect 3 to 4 hours of weekly work.  I think this was conservative.

The video production value is much better at but making training videos is what they are known for.  The Coursera sessions appeared as if Professor Werbach recorded the sessions on a video camera in his office.  This is the difference between a $250 annual subscription vs. free.  I suppose this really doesn’t matter as long as the content is there.

What I find interesting is that neither session was gamified.  Perhaps this is extremely difficult with the nature of recorded lectures but I would say it’s worth a try given the subject.  Werbach did try with a series of guess what’s different in the frame behind me but most of the time I couldn’t tell.  I’m not sure that’s true gamificaiton or just adding some fun or visual interest to a lecture.

I think both experiences were valuable.  I don’t think I gained any more information from the MOOC than I would have by just reading Werbach’s book alone.  I didn’t expect the volume of work from a non-credit class that was involved.  Overall I think I liked the combination of Kapp’s book and the video better.


  • Ginger Nichols,
  • July 18, 2015

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