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
mark you are awesome, even more awesome at 2:40+ AM in the morning when ai am ready to give in on that issue I cannot figure out and you remind me that basically everything is just like Super Mario Bros, and can be just as much fun if someone just reminds us of it once in awhile, about the issue, even if it is a re-run at 2:40 something in the morning....thank you.... keep me in your thoughts Sammy Speed, IT, Gettel Automotive Group, Lakewood Ranch, Fl, USA
I enjoyed the talk, but his entire premise for calling it the "Super Mario Effect" is faulty. He initially presented some statistics to support the idea that the people who were being penalized with fake points were less successful overall than the people who weren't, BUT in Super Mario, you ARE penalized with fake points in the form of lives; you run out of lives, you start over from the beginning, which bears far more similarity to the -5 points scenario than the other :\ even the praise in the comments is split between "yeah learning without consequence is great" and "its great how games trick you into caring about fake consequences," am I missing something? He seems to not really know what his point is.
It's odd that he chose to phrase it as 'focus on the princess and not the pits to beat the game' when in fact, he mentions the key to success is to remember where the pits are after falling into one the first time. And I'm sure that while trying to beat the game, no one ever gives the princess much thought until they're told she is in another castle. So really that phrase should be reversed. In other words, focus on the details of improvement rather than the pain of failure.
I am a huge fan of Mark Rober. He's intelligent, clever, and funny. Mark presents information in a way that fosters curiosity. I'm a teacher, and my students and I watched his You Tube science videos all the time. Any time my students had free time, that's all they wanted me to play were his videos. It didn't matter that they had already watched it 10 times :).
Mark, thank you so much for this inspiring video and the fantastically fun science videos on your channel! My daughter and I love watching. I wish everyone had so much enthusiasm for science and learning.
I like your concept and experiment. Ypur expirement shows how our education system fails our students, like how we have a graded system, with points that dont even matter, to tell you how poorly or wonderfully youre doing. I feel like this says a lot about education and why students cant learn and only memorize? I really hope you do a video on this subject maybe!
Mark is totally right! The only problem we have right now is that it is a top down situation in education. Colleges want those grades to determine who gets in to their schools. Assigning scores/grades in schools will continue to happen until there is a change what admissions are based on. I have been a teacher for over 25 years and I would love to have no grades in school!
Hey doofus! Mario games penalize you a life for each failure, which means it represents the LEFT side of the graph, not the right which is what Mark consistently asserts. Mario negates his premise rather than supporting it. Guess he Failed at TEDx Talks too.
I would like to point out that the data also shows that those who are given a negative incentive for failure have a higher attempt-to-success ratio. People who have negative incentives in play have a harder time sticking to it, but also have better results. This is the same difference between capitalism and communism. Communism removes the incentives, and in doing so also removes the results.
Math has always been my worst subject (I was passing with D's and C's), but in 9th grade my geometry teacher took this approach to teaching. And it was so helpful.
During a lesson, rather than just giving us a bunch of rules and formulas to memorize, he would teach us simple, easy-to-grasp concepts. Then, he would give us a problem, and asked us to use the concepts we learned to solve that problem.
We were learning formulas on our own. Well, we were learning how they worked, but we still didn't know how to put it into words. That's where he would step in. He would tell us the formula or the rule or whatever we were learning after we had figured out why and how it works.
*IN SHORT,* he gave us the end goal, and let us take educated guesses to reach that end goal. It was like solving a puzzle. He gave us the pieces and we would put them together to form the lesson.
I had a few more teachers who applied this teaching to their own subjects, and they turned out to be my (as well as most of my peers') favorite teachers. It is really helpful, and makes learning so fun. If you're a teacher reading this, please consider using this teaching method. I found it to be very effective.
If you weren't penalized and didn't care about failure, then you would be less successful in your entire life, because it would take much more time to complete, and time is the most valuable resource anyone has.
It's funny I could never beat Mario on my own precisely because there was a finite given amount of lives that enabled you to re-spawn. Exactly like the points in your first survey that prevented people from coding, so I'm not sure calling it the Mario effect is really appropriate...
I'd have to somewhat disagree- aren't the challenges and the penalties what makes games fun? The challenge of it and the accomplishment of beating it? I mean, think of some of your favorite games- what can you lose by failing? Mario- running out of lives results in a game over. Just like the coding game with the points- run out of points results in a game over- so isn't it really the left side of the graph..? Here's an example (if some of you don't know this game, the same analogy can be made with Dark Souls or pretty much any adventure game)- my favorite game of all time is Hollow Knight. In Hollow Knight, you explore the map, Hollownest, trying to uncover every secret and defeat every boss. If you die, though, your "shade" departs with your vessel, taking all of your precious earned geo (currency) with it. If you can't get back to your shade and kill it, you lose the geo permanently, which is really easy to do considering how many traps, enemies, and obstacles are scattered throughout the map. You are so. Cautious and careful. About failing because you really don't want to lose all of that hard earned geo- and that's what pushes you to do better. I understand that games where completing it is the only goal exist, but I don't know about you; it just isn't as fun without the challenge. A good example are the recent Pokemon games, especially the newest Go game. Anyways, I hope you get my point.
"It feels natural to stand up and try again like a toddler that really wants to learn how to walk." This was the best motivating analogy I've ever heard.
It reminds me of what my mom always used to say while she taught me how to ride a horse: "When you fall down from a horse or a horse has thrown you off his back: After you've checked your health quickly get back up so to not let anxiety of the horse control you."
Doesn't your "number of attempts before finding success" show that, for people either a) motivated by penalty or b) don't care about the penalty, that they find success nearly 2.5x faster than the non-penalized group?
Very interesting concept and it can be applied to certain subjects. The problem I can forsee is that some subjects this cannot be used on. The student has to want to learn. If it is a mundane but essential lesson it is hard to keep the attention of the class. It also removes the opportunity for exceptional students to stand out. Im sorry but not everyone can win all the time. I am not trying to troll, just bringing up a discussion point.
I play super mario 3d world for wii u. I play it with my friend. When I fall down into a pit or get hit, I get little mad but it pushes me forward. Its the exact analogy. The final bonus world is the hardest but it didn’t stop me from trying to finish it. I only focus on the goal and my friend is helping me finish that goddamm game.
yeah... I'm not down with the analogy, life offers 1-up. it hasn't got a reset button. So i guess it is an analogy, but not a really strong one.
Also the test-subjects with the points deduction got a much higher average. They had an average of 5attempts for 52% against 68% @ 12 attempts.
So imo all it proves is that the points-deduction demotivates partakers to continue, but does enable bigger increases in learning to reach the required threshold.
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