User Types and Learning v2

The Gamification Hexad Saves My Classroom! Guest Blog

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Well, this is a first, but I hope you will agree, it is a good first! I was lucky enough to be asked to scan a chapter of a new book that gamification and education expert Scott Herbert was writing. It was all about how he had been making use of my HEXAD in his classroom and it was excellent! I asked if he would be willing to write a little blog post about his experiences, what I got was this – and I could not be happier. Enjoy my friends!


Kids do not really care for school, which as a teacher obviously makes things a little difficult. I teach Grade 8 Sciences and when you are trying to teach someone about cellular biology or the history of light they have a real hard time connecting it to their world. It’s a slippery slope.

Last year I decided to gamify my entire classroom from September to June. It was a lot of work and took some real thinking but it has been a revelation to my students. They are working harder, producing better quality work and enjoy our 40 minutes a day together more than I have ever seen before. Statistically, as well I can prove it!

  • Looking at the raw numbers, I teach 100 students collectively and out of that 100, I have 49 students who achieved over 1500XP meaning just under 50% of the students I teach made an effort to complete all quests, going above and beyond what was expected. Anything over 1500XP means they went over 100%
  • Looking deeper at the numbers I have, again out of those same 100 students, 71 of them have achieved honours status (a grade of 80% or higher) right now in science which represents 71% of the entire grade. Comparing that to last year’s grade 8 classes, I had, out of a possible 119 students, only 68 that were above 80 to this point which is 57%.
  • Comparing those numbers, taking into account the fact that I had 19 more students last year, it represents a 14% increase in students currently achieving honours status.

We know in education there is a massive engagement crisis. Study after study is being published that continue to reflect a noticeable decline in school engagement. However, when I decided to attack this crisis head on there was one major issue I needed to tackle. Creating a gamification/program that would hit all of my player types.

Usually, for the unaware, people apply Bartle’s Player Types in their gamification but even Bartle himself warns against this – he even calls them “bandwagons”. His player types were intended for the world of MUDs (what we now call MMORPGs) but are frequently used in places they should not – like a fitting a puzzle piece into the wrong slot. It kind of produces something but it isn’t what you hoping for in the end.

In order to tackle this, I decided to use Andrzej’s Gamification Player Type Hexad to meet the needs and motivations of my different students (player types). The neat part here is that this (how it applies to education) was asked of Andrzej before and he produced this model …

User Types and Learning

User Types and Learning

Now this model is actually perfect for the education world but I wanted to add something to this so I decided to tweak his model ever so slightly and came up with this one!

User Types and Learning v2

User Types and Learning v2

I decided to add The Disruptor (an original type in Andrzej’s model) to the middle because a) they can affect the learning of all player types and b) can be influenced by all player types depending on the scenario or disruptor style. Also, we all know that classes do potentially have a student or two who play the role of the disruptor – always.

READ  New Gamification User Type Test

The 6 Gamification User Types of the Classroom

The Player (a.k.a.: “What Do I Get Though?”)

We all have that student who needs to get something to do something. They are willing to do whatever you ask of them but they want a reward or privilege in return. That is how a player type is motivated. Offer them some sort of reward and you will see results

The Philanthropist (a.k.a.: “The Class Leader”)

This student loves to lead groups and volunteer to do things. They learn by helping other people out and are often the first type of person you turn to when you need help supporting someone who needs to get something done. When they are helping and teaching others they are the most motivated.

The Free Spirit (a.k.a.: “The Problem Solver”)

This type of student loves exploring the classroom and loves seeing what everyone is doing. Sometimes they seem lost and confused but they are totally with it. Their projects and ideas see “out there” at first but they always have a way of roping them back in to produce awesome work. Give them space, freedom and creativity and let them soar. When you have a problem the free spirit is your go to.

The Achiever (a.k.a.: “The High Achiever”)

This type of student is self-driven to be the best at whatever they do. They get a task and attack it head on. They can be competitive and help push struggling groups forward. They want to achieve their maximum at all times.

The Socialiser (a.k.a.: “The Social Butterfly” or “The Team Player”)

This type of student loves to go about the room talking to everyone. You put them anywhere and they find someone to talk to. They love to work in a group and they can be competitive in that scenario. If someone needs something they will be there to help.

The Disruptor (a.k.a.: “The Class Clown” or “The Black Hole” or “The Avoider”)

This type of student loves to seek out attention from those around him or her. They will crack jokes, interrupt lessons or attempt to derail class discussions. They can be tough to deal with. Providing specifics and surrounding them with the proper player type such as an achiever or a philanthropist will often keep them focused and moving forward.

Designing my game around these player types has truly changed my classroom. I create quests and bonus missions that hit the different styles of each learner. This creates different opportunities for people to lead and follow and that is a crucial skill all on its own! Gamification truly is a game changer in education!

proxy-imageIf you want to learn more about my classroom gamification please free to follow me on Twitter @MrHebertPE, contact me via e-mail or follow my Blog at

Be gentle – I’m still new at this!

Thanks for reading!

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2 Responses

  1. Just read it! It’s really good, although, I don’t share the view of Scott on the Disruptor. As much as they are actually disrupting the class, it’s not their player type most of the time. I’ve also been studying the 4MAT model on learning styles and 90% of the time (we run the test in my school every semester) those kids who tend to be disruptors, are actually Style 4 learners which are the kind of people who need space and opportunity.

    Style 4 learners do not need as many guides as the rest of students and are pretty hard to deal with because the education system of the world is based on their opposite style (number 2) which requires them to sit and listen.

    Take a read on the 4MAT model and I ensure you will understand your students a thousand times better.

    I would simply say that the Disruptor learns best under environments where they kind of “disrupt freely”.

    • Scott Hebert says:

      Thanks for the insight Bernardo.

      I actually do share the same viewpoint on disruptors but it was tough to encapsulate in a shorter Blog post. I used the terms I did to keep up with the Gamification model.

      From my experience these students can thrive as a Type 4 learner (new to the 4MAT but it does make sense) but it also has to be an environment they trust, that is supportive and provides guidance. The type of student I am referring to as the disruptor is the student who is disinterested in school or attention seeking (to put it generally). If you put these students in an environment where they can disrupt freely it needs to be one designed for their success.

      Picturing the students I have that fall under that category it would be a recipe for disaster without the proper guidance but with the proper implementation great results could emerge so I totally agree . This is why when I have a particularly disinterested student in a class or subject (despite our best efforts as educators there is always one – even in my gamified classroom no less!) I try to keep them around an achiever or a player that I trust to help them build up some interest and boost their overall engagement or interest. Then when we have established the trust factor I let them flourish and “disrupt freely” as you said with some experimentation and all that good stuff. So far it has been working for me.

      Hope that made sense … 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

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Andrzej Marczewski
About Andrzej Marczewski twitter facebook    
Gamification Consultant with Gamification Nation. I love to write about it, talk about it and bore people to death with it! If you really want to get to know me, check out the About page.

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