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906 - Elections and Gamification; Assessment/Evaluation LAB

Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie - Feb 10, 2016.
#906 - Updates on Learning, Business & Technology.
57,207 Readers - - twitter: emasie - The MASIE Center.
Host: Learning Systems: LMS, LCMS, Social & More! - Chicago in April.

1. Elections & Gamification: Oh Myyy!
2. Assessment, Evaluation & Evidence LAB Announced.

1. Elections & Gamification: Oh Myyy! Watching the coverage of the United States Presidential election campaign has been a very strange experience. No matter what your political party or leanings, it is strange to watch how the media (and the candidates too) have invoked a Gamification approach to Election Coverage.

My working definition: Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to non-game situations (e.g. learning or shopping) to trigger higher levels of engagement.

I watched 4 hours of election coverage in the past day, as the results of the New Hampshire Primary were covered. It was stunning to observe how much gamification was invoked:

- Leader Boards: The television stations used the same graphic packages from sports coverage to show macro and micro level Leader Boards.  Position on the leader board was significant, even if there were only 500 votes between two candidates in the middle of the pack.
- Threshold and Levels: Reporters created these thresholds or levels that candidates were asked to predict against. For instance, will you be at the top of “Former Governor Lane”?
- Positions in Game vs. Positions in Policy: There was an amazing lack of deep conversation about the policy implications of each candidate’s approaches. Rather, the positions were seen as short term strategy to gain higher position on the Leader Boards.
- Voters in the Game, Too: Interviews with voters also took on the gamification approach.

And, perhaps most interesting was the sense of a multi-week game or reality show, where we the viewers were expecting that contestants would be thrown off the show.  The interest in the “election show” is sustained with continuing big waves of ups and downs, much as one might see on an episode of Survivor or Dancing with the Stars.

This is not a political rant on my part.  And, it is not triggered by or aligned with Donald Trump’s presence.  In fact, it is applied to both parties and to seemingly the entire spectrum of coverage.  For some reason, the US viewing public has “asked for” or is responding to Gamification of election coverage.

Like Gamification it can drive engagement, add energy and provide a more personalized sense of competition and challenge. And, like Gamification, it is a set of gaming elements applied to a non-game.  And, I have noticed that many of my conversations with friends and colleagues about the election have been tipped towards the Gamification side rather than exploration of difficult challenges that will require competent and agile leadership.  Would we select the CEO of our Fortune 500 company in this fashion?  Or, is the engagement level of the Gamification dimension adding to citizen involvement and participation?

So, does it help or hinder the process of democracy or leadership selection?  I would love to hear from TRENDS readers on your views. Send me a note to

2. Assessment, Evaluation & Evidence LAB Announced: I am honored to announce a new program, focused on the tricky topics of assessing and evaluating learning:

Assessment, Evaluation & Evidence LAB!
Led by: Doug Lynch and Elliott Masie.
April 5 to 7, 2016 in Saratoga Springs, NY USA.    .

Our Assessment, Evaluation & Evidence LAB will examine these key changing factors:

- Tools are evolving and hint at better ways of capturing and analyzing data. Shifts in LMS, LCMS, Assessment and Talent Systems will impact or facilitate your efforts.
- Pedagogies & Learning Approaches give us new ways of helping learners improve their understanding and performance.  As learners drive more of their own learning choices, our assessment approaches are affected.
- External Factors are forcing us to teach different people new and different things. For example, what is the role that TED Talks have in leadership development – even though they are not prescribed by the organization?

Space is limited and complete information is online at

Yours in learning,

Elliott Masie
Host, Learning 2016
Twitter: emasie

MASIE Center Seminars, Events and Services:
- Learning Innovations LAB - May 17-19, Saratoga Springs, NY.
- Assessment, Evaluation & Evidence LAB - April 5-7, Saratoga Springs, NY.
- Learning Systems: LMS, LCMS, Social & More! - April 27 & 28, Chicago, IL.
- Membership in The Learning CONSORTIUM.
- Learning 2016 - October 23-26 - Orlando, Florida.

Info and Registration: