Obviously life is not a game. The real question is, are we turning it into one? Games are appealing to us as humans because it presents a clear objective and reward. Unfortunately, life does not work that way. So then why does everything turn into a game?
Let's break down some common tools for education and goal setting. Positive reinforcement is often used to teach children, by giving them a direct incentive to be able to recite information. I choose my words carefully here, mind you. Just because someone can pull information out of their brain to write down or recite for a test does not necessarily mean they have learned it.
This is painfully obvious to those of us in the work world who deal with training in new workers. So is school turning into a game? Is our educational system designed to simply encourage reciting information, rather than learning and understanding it?
I heard a lot in school that certain subjects we had to know just because that's part of the school curriculum. You may not be surprised to find I did poorly in those classes. Some classes I did exceptionally well because there was a reason for learning that information. Psychology was by far my favorite subject in high school because my teacher did a fantastic job at explaining the uses and importance of the information.
So where are we headed? We talk about our educational system failing constantly. But is it failing because we aren't creating incentives? Or is it failing because we take an entirely wrong approach to teaching?