3 Conclusion 3.1 Conclusion

Although the target group “formal and informal educators” as referenced in this thesis is fairly specific, I propose that considering the different theoretical frameworks outlined in this concept when planning a blended learning program would be beneficial to any target audience. Presumably, adding gamification to curriculum will engage any audience, as human beings are naturally apt to play. Furthermore, learning by making (as outlined in Chapter 2.2.1) is a pedagogically sound process for acquiring both cognitive and affective skills.

With the combination of frameworks as proposed in this thesis, an organization can compete in the market by creating scaffolded, gamified, blended-learning programs that allow for independent development of the social and technical skills required in the Information Age. These organizations can create programs that highlight the process of learning, rather than the outcome of a particular exercise, leading to a real cognitive development. Organizations that create batches of modifiable and modular content, so-called baseline curriculum, that can be modified and reused for specific target groups, will be leaders in the creation of flexible and efficient learning programming. In addition, organizations that measure and evaluate their programs through surveys, quantitative data measuring, peer to peer evaluations, observations and focus groups are able to iterate on their content. They are able to create learning experiences that are co-designed by the people that are doing the actual learning. This gives agency to the learners and a feedback loop to the organization so that the learning experiences are more specialized, original and thought provoking. Learning can be interesting and fun, and organizations that pay close attention to their learners are able to create such learning experiences.

Because media and technology are being redefined and developed at an exponential rate, more detailed research is needed to determine the best game mechanics to use in curriculum. An expansive research project on the topic would need to create two forms of curriculum, one that is gamified and one that is not. The project would then need to run programs with control and variable groups to determine whether or not gamification truly leads to more successful learning of web literacies. Such a research project would need to answer a variety of questions to definitively show how game mechanics are beneficial to learning. Are there specific mechanics that should be used with specific target audiences? Are there game mechanics that lead to cognitive dissonance instead of learning? How gamified can curriculum be before it becomes just a game and not a learning endeavor? These are just some of the questions researchers must look into to ensure that gamified materials are, indeed, better than other types of curricular designs. Such a research project would be beneficial in determining the nuances of designing gamified curriculum for a blended learning environment.

At the moment we find ourselves in a structural crisis. Our society is and has been changing from the industrial age to the digital age, and we are now organizing and designing two different social worlds, an online life and an offline life. In addition, we’re expanding our offline social life through the development of our online social life. From a theoretical perspective, the difference between the online and offline is blurred, at best. We are becoming much more polymorphic. The WWW has allowed us to create multiple definitions of our self. It’s also led to the integration of multiple perspectives as the Web is multicultural. The dynamic of new media has led to the understanding of the relativity of information as a common skill. Internet users need to be critical of the information they receive as being critical will lead to a more flexible usage of information (i.e. we’ll no longer take information at face value, we will become more inquisitive). Additionally, people using the World Wide Web need to be able to communicate in these two separate social worlds, they need to understand and follow rules and regulations in two separate worlds, and they need to be able to participate in the distilling and creation of new information in two separate worlds. In short, people need to have certain technological competencies to fully participate in modern life.

This is only possible if web literacies become a method of practice in all educational endeavors.

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