We have been learning about the Super Mario Effect. In essence it involves what is called "metacognition" - thinking about how we think. When we think of learning experiences as tests, we tend to try less and give up more easily. When we think of learning experiences as games and challenges to be conquered, we spend more time learning and they are more fun for us. We get more or less out of the experience based on how we mentally frame the experience.
The challenge for us as coaches for teams of students whose goal as a team is to learn, is to make the learning process more effective. Using the Super Mario Effect is a critical tool to turn challenging situations into fun challenging situations that we want to learn from. Gamification (the Super Mario Effect) is a very helpful approach.
We can learn a lot from the Super Mario Effect:
- We need a fun, visual, interactive way of framing the problem - You could write down the buttons to push to solve the levels for super mario, but that doesn't make it fun.
- Focus is on learning from the process and not the failures - When you die in the game, you just start over and try again. Celebrate how far you get and learn from your failures
- Engaging, hands-on experiences really strengthen the process - Everybody plays, everybody learns.
- Goals and successes we can celebrate when we accomplish them - you need a Princess Peach to save and when you do, you do your happy dance
- Appropriate challenges - earlier levels are simpler and have simpler bad guys. Start with challenges appropriate to the skill set and build up.