One of the things that intrigued me about LoveMath™, the web-based educational program that’s also GeekDad’s newest sponsor, was its integrated reward system. Offering occasional surprises for a job well done is heavily encouraged, and, to that end, the parent’s dashboard prominently features a Motivate tab. This easily allows me to set the frequency and order of these rewards, as well as the types of rewards themselves.
The Surprise List interface lets me add a number of Reward Categories–some already pre-generated within the Rewards Store, a master list of ideas, and some I created myself with my kid’s interests in mind–into a timeline and quickly drag and drop them to get just the right distribution. Some are broad, like allowing my son to stay up an extra half-hour after bedtime, while others are very specific, like a trip to his favorite frozen yogurt place.
Random but regular rewards are the order of the day, so I tried to find a frequency level that was neither too often nor not often enough. After some noodling, I settled on one reward per every seven lessons completed. That may sound like a lot (and maybe it is), but it seems to be working well enough.
I share custody of my kids, so it took a couple of weekends before my son completed enough mathematics lessons to unlock his first treat. It was rather unexpected, but he certainly welcomed the positive reinforcement.
He doesn’t know the exact frequency of these rewards, or even what additional kinds of things await him as he continues, and I think that provides its own special kind of motivation. He does realize, however, that he can bank them (in what LoveMath™ refers to as his Backpack) and redeem them at his leisure–another subtly empowering concept.
My day job is in higher education, so I have mixed feelings about gamification, especially as it applies to adult learners. But to children, or at least my children, it seems a pretty enticing concept. From redeeming rewards–by presenting me with an actual printed certificate for the required good or service, if he likes–to simply accumulating the more nebulous “points” as he completes lessons, my son genuinely seems engaged and invested in the LoveMath™ system.
Stay tuned to GeekDad as I continue to explore LoveMath™ with my brood. And don’t forget that LoveMath™ is offering a $30 discount on the yearly subscription with the special coupon code GPAGKDAD15.