With just two days to go in the quarter, the Leaderboard is lit up with female students. Women make up nine of the top ten spots, and thirteen of the top twenty. This is pretty consistent with what I had last year when women usually took up seven of the top ten leaderboard spaces. Despite initial fears, it seems Gamification not only work for everyone, but works better for female students despite the game elements. Why is this?
To be fair, this is a small sample size and there's lots of variables in play (personal background, personal goals, individual personality, extra-curricular schedules, etc) not to mention that English has always been dominated by female students while the male students excel in the maths and sciences. That being said, if you ask me (and no one has) I think one reason we see female students excelling in the Gamification is because Gamification is ultimately all about autonomy. The points, badges, levels, and ranks are fun and all, but really, the whole point is that it allows students to take personal responsibility, solve their own problems, and adapt when presented with challenges. If one is to believe the Wife of Bath's Tale, what women most want is control...and Gamification gives it to them. The thin game-structure may be a slight deterrent, but it's clearly overwhelmed by the desire for autonomy.
Will this trend continue all year? Will it even survive into the second quarter? For the past three years, the answer has been "yes". Let's hope the gender gap closes...though the young men will have to step it up.