Every child is different. We often consider how children differ in their abilities (we display this as Doodle Ages), and their strengths and weaknesses (demonstrated in our Gap Analysis).
In DoodleMaths, we try to create functionality which appeals to visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners (much research indicates that touchscreen interaction aids memory for these type of learners1).
We aim to structure our exercises, work programmes and reward systems with a regularity and rhythm that suits those with ASD; we provide a colour scheme, clear layout and ‘magnifying glass’ to suit those with poor sight, and we provide auditory commentary for poor readers.
But how have we designed elements of our apps to suit different types of gamer?
In the 1990s, Dr Richard Bartle suggested that there are four types of gamer, each of whom plays games for a different reason. Here are the player types and how we’ve used these to design our apps to maximise motivation:
These gamers help, share, comment, gift and greet. At home, if your child has siblings, encourage them to work together, for example, when practising their times tables.
In DoodleMaths, they’ll love the class leaderboards, giving kudos, seeing their friends’ pets and robots, and helping peers with tricky questions across all our apps.
These gamers like to explore, rate, review, vote and curate. If your child is keen to learn everything they can about a subject, engage their curiosity. Ask them about what they’ve been learning in school and about their interests. They’ll be thrilled to share their knowledge!
In DoodleEnglish, they’ll love the world map feature, and collecting and mixing potions in DoodleSpell, for example.
Win, challenge, create, show off, compare. Does your child’s eyes light up at the thought of winning a prize? If so, why not give them a point whenever they demonstrate good effort? When they have earned fifty points, reward them with a trip to the cinema.
These gamers will love the leaderboards – as long as they’re at the top! They’ll take a look at their friends’ profiles and challenge them to beat their level on games such as Monkey Mania and Maths Explosion. They’ll want to know their DoodleMaths Age. We are introducing target setting in the autumn for these types.
Harass, hack, cheat, heckle, troll, and win at all costs. They say that there is a bit of ‘killer’ in all of us. Many online games do a great deal to appeal to this type of gamer. We’re finding it difficult! We are exploring the introduction of peer-to-peer races and competitions to appeal to these types right now, but that’s as far as it goes as we reward effort over ability!
What type(s) of gamer are you? Your child? We’re usually a mix of two or three, but predominantly one. Establishing this will help you to motivate them in DoodleMaths and beyond – before you know it, you may find yourself gamifying everyday tasks such as clearing away the dishes, or getting ready for school in the morning!
1 Kinesthetic Cues Aid Spatial Memory – Desney S. Tan, Jeanine K. Stefanucci , Dennis R. Proffitt , Randy Pausch
Article by Tom Minor