When 50,000 of Mark Rober's 3 million YouTube subscribers participated in a basic coding challenge, the data all pointed to what Rober has dubbed the Super Mario Effect. The YouTube star and former NASA engineer describes how this data-backed mindset for life gamification has stuck with him along his journey, and how it impacts the ways he helps (or tricks) his viewers into learning science, engineering, and design. Mark Rober has made a career out of engineering, entertainment, and education. After completing degrees in mechanical engineering from Brigham Young University and the University of Southern California, Rober joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2004. In his nine years as a NASA engineer, seven of which were on the Mars rover Curiosity team, Rober worked on both the Descent Stage (the jet pack that lowered the Rover to the surface) and some hardware on the Rover top deck for collecting samples. In 2011, Rober’s iPad-based Halloween costume helped launch both his creative costume company, Digital Dudz, and his YouTube channel, which now boasts 3 million subscribers and 400 million views. His videos focus on creative ideas and science- and engineering-based pranks and activities. Rober is a regular guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!". Today, he does research and development work for a large technology company in Northern California, where he lives with his wife and son. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
Worst talk ever. Your argument is invalid. Your premise doesn't work.
You must be in deep denial staring pointlessness of your talk point blank in the eye.
You *do get penalized* in Super Mario and *are scored.*
Nice dart board, though.
Interesting. But one way to analize the data... At 2:01 he says the delta is of 60%. When it is 16%. At 2:12 he says that the ones not penalized tried 2,5 more times to solve it so they learned more. Well I would read it like "the ones not penalized didn't take it seriously, so they used more attempts. The penalized ones really tried, and got it in half the attempts".
at 3:11 there's a mention of the focus "always on the end goal" ... this seems to counter your argument in itself. The focus you seem to be arguing is more on the process, and the learning that happens throughout, as opposed to the result itself.
And again at 4:20 or so... you're arguing that the focus was on beating the game, whereas in practice, you're actually just focused on improving on the repeated processes.
I think of the anti-climactic feeling that is associated with actually completing those games. It's not that triumph that is of much satisfaction. It is the tiny processes that are repeated which provides the satisfaction!
Wait, so ~50% of the people who took the -5 points version still did it, but they did it in fewer than HALF the tries of the no-point-loss version, where ~70% of people eventually succeeded? I mean, that seems like the -5 version was teaching something valuable, too. "Take your time, think it through." What about total time to success? Was the -5 actually helping in that regard? Also, 12 tries is presumably an average, so at least some of that ~20% extra success was likely people just guessing their way through it and probably not learning much.
I mean, I agree with the general principle Mark is talking about here, but I think the conclusions he's drawing from the initial study are simplistic at best.
+Xlrrip Chickenhead Yeah, that's a good point. Honestly Dark Souls might be a better analogy for this concept (as you can only "lose" so much -- most of your progression is there forever, and it's about learning). That's a little played out, though. And less recognizable as an analogy to non-gamers
gkimsey gkimsey I agree, also wouldn’t Mario technically be the left as well? He says you focus on the princess but that’s not necessarily true. In Mario you’re limited on lives, wouldn’t that be equivalent to the point system? Despite being able to get lives back, I was always keeping the amount of lives at the forefront of my thought process while playing. I think that’s the same as people keeping their points in mind. The observation I would make is that the right is a higher pool of people that succeed, but the left is people that are trained to do it better (or in less steps).
I came up with a way to trick my brain into doing things too. For instance; I've never been much for "turning in" early, I'm much more of a night-owl when it comes to what time I go to bed. I'll also sleep well past noon most times when I actually CAN, but I usually start work at 7:30, but sometimes it can be as early as 6:00. Over time I noticed that when I went to bed late and I knew I had to be up early, I had trouble sleeping. If it's 11:45 and I know I have to get up to work at 6:00 I'd have trouble falling asleep, like knowing I only had a few hours would stress me out or something I guess....
So I tricked my brain by removing a part of the information that was bothering me. If I'm working the following day, I make a very distinct effort to completely avoid seeing/knowing what time it is at any time after 6 or 7 pm. I go to bed when I'm adequately tired, and since I started doing this I have zero issues getting to sleep, and when I wake up the next day I feel basically the same as any other day. Kind of like I trick my brain into thinking I got good full night of sleep, and my body works along with the lie, so it's all good. The day I knew for a fact that it was effective was when I had to work the morning after going to a party; a friend told me I only actually left to go home around 3am, but I was at work crisp and good to go by 7:30. Tricking my brain into thinking I slept more than just 4 hours worked....although since then I often wonder just what other kind of nonsense our brains can be tricked with.......
So I'm confused a bit. The graph is supposed to show that with no penalty 68% of people solved this in 12 tries, and 52% of people solved it in 5 tries with penalty? So he is praising the group where more people persisted and didn't give up, even though it took them more than twice as long to solve it? Isn't the penalty a clear incentive to analyse the problem to find the solution quicker and with less failure? The other side seems like a guess and check rather than an actual concerted effort to do it correctly. I understand failure is learning how NOT to do something or how something DOESN"T work, but without the risk of failure, is there really a reward?
Maybe I'm way off.
Pretty interesting example is when a hobby becomes apart of a school curriculum. I love gardening and everything I learned was self taught by trial and error (pH, macro molecules, lux capacity, etc.). It never felt like a test or homework assignment. Then college chemistry II comes around and the acid/bases portion came naturally to me. Pretty interesting to see others struggle because they saw it as work when I saw it as my hobby.
So, what you're saying is, the reason most people are failing in life is the fact that they CAN fail. If there is a penalty, then there is less of a chance of perseverance, and if, per say, people removed grading from schools but kept you there until you knew all you needed, learning rates would be higher?
Isn't that first bit of "coding blocks" actually a subset of Scratch, a child-aimed, BASIC-ish programming language whose very central tenet is that anyone, even a kindergartener, can pick it up and make it do something useful?
I watched this after the TED procrastinator master talk and now I'm playing video games instead of doing important things because I trick myself to think I'm beibg productive.
TLDR; I am not a smart man 😅
If that mario effect, then dark soul effect is like you can make mistake once but if you make another mistake before get that mistake done/fix ( grab the soul ) then you will be punished and lost everything ( especially when you have success a lot "souls", always make me want to cried )
Positive reinforcements have a tendency to have a higher success rate than negative reinforcements…
And my favorite motto: the best way to learn is to play and have fun.
And ofcourse you never get too old to still be a child...
Great talk, but I don't completely agree with your conclusion on the first example. I mean, what does 52% means? Does the other 48% failed 40 times the test, or they just didn't complete it? In this case, we could say that this percentage of people maybe were demoralized by the score system but can't we also see the glass half full and notice that the other 52% used their mind in a more effective way, thinking more about their code and getting earlier to the result? Maybe they were just stimulated by losing as few points as possible? Does someone else share my point of view?
I love thinking about how this applies to music. I'm a pianist, and we fail hundreds of times when practicing a passage before acheiving our goal of being able to play that passage perfectly. If I were somehow "marked off as a lesser musician" every time I made a mistake when practicing, I wouldn't have continued. It's all about learning new ways to tackle the challenge and feeling that joy of performing a beautiful piece of music.
I don’t get the point of this meaningless rhetoric... So I couldn’t finish the video and I don't know who this guy is and never will. So I skipped toward the end, and still really not any wiser from any of this transcript.
treat life like a video game, I bet all the adults from when we were kids are scratching their head now trying to figure out how that one works instead of just scolding us that games will take us no where in life.
This is what annoys me about human society. We are motivated to learn through pleasure (play) without this motivation we would only learn from fear. Our systems of learning are more akin to conditioning than questioning. Some of us reject this conditioning and become less useful to society. Please stop the conditioning and encourage playful questioning.
I prefer the test over the game. The test just tells you exactly what to do. The game you have to figure it out. I'm also not the person who keeps trying until I get it. Once something gets too hard and I fail a few times... I'm out.
I thought this was going to be a great study but you present your findings with such bias. How do you not see significance in the amount of tries it took in your original test? The people who had pressure imposed on them by the point system solved the puzzle much quicker. Over 50% quicker. With only an 16% difference in completion rate. This implies that you could have more people learn the solution in less time if they are shown that failure has a consequence, and we can see this by comparing the same number of people who completed the test. 50 people who completed from group A at an average of 5 attempts per person will take 250 total attempts to have everyone in that group of complete it. 50 people in group B who average 12 attempts per person are going to take 600 attempts for everyone in that group to complete it. And with your mario brothers example, you failed to mention how no matter how far you get, if you fail to many times you have to start over? So there was a consequence of your failure ALMOST parallel to your placebo failure in your test. The only difference being that if your number reaches zero in mario, you are penalized equal to the amount of progress you have made since began playing/last were punished for to many failures. Everyone in these comments adored your "study", but this was just a "don't be afraid of failure or be embarrassed to let other know you fail" pep talk backed by a biased pseudo study nit picked to make it represent what you want. For a better study perhaps you could try making an impossible task, tell one group after each try the average attempts for success was really low, and tell another group after each try that failing was no big deal and most people cant solve it (or take a high number of attempts). Then you could compare how much people were willing to persist when made aware of they're faliure vs not feeling like its a big deal.
This was good to watch but I wish this worked for everything especially at a job... If I fail at work depending on how bad the failure is I can lose my job.
I'm learning to use the forklift so if I fail and crash into something in the warehouse I can knock over heavy equipment and possibly hurt someone. There wouldn't be a second chance given I would be terminated. Some people can't afford to take these risk because we have bills to pay.
Great video!! In Game, one thing is sure that target is achievable, however, we doubt same in real life. Also, competition with others, in real life, is high amplitude noise which doesn't serve any purpose in learning or moving ahead but negative beliefs about one self. These things make difference in real life versus games.
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