Links for February 27, 2012

Kathy Sierra on gamification in education [Larry Ferlazzo/Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… for Teaching ELL, ESL, & ESL] Kathy offers guidelines around when gamification may be safe vs. dangerous. What falls in the dangerous category? Learning and engaging that is intrinsically rewarding, since psychology studies have suggested that rewarding such activity destroys a person (or a monkey’s) interest in doing the activity for its own sake:

The studies are both counter-intuitive and disturbing. The monkeys that enjoyed playing with wooden puzzles until given their favorite treat reward for solving the puzzles, at which time their puzzle-solving diminished. The kids given ribbons for their drawings then showed less interest in drawing. The writers shown a list of possible external reasons for writing immediately wrote less complex and interesting poems than those shown a list of intrinsically-rewarding reasons for writing. And on and on and on and on. Animals, humans, children, adults, across wide-ranging domains and in studies conducted by dozens of independent researchers.

If 99.9% of big data is irrelevant, why do we need it [Michael Wu/Lithium Lithosphere blogs] Lithium’s Principal Scientist of Analytics Wu says “Just because you can track, store, and analyze big data, doesn’t mean you should.” He argues that in many cases you can answer the questions you need to answer just by getting the relevant data — which might be able to be loaded and analyzed on a beefy computer.

Lazily musing about sharing [JP Rangaswami/Confused of Calcutta]. “Sharing is serious business” — it has serious consequences for businesses, especially for those built upon not-sharing. Five ideas about sharing:

1. For anything to be social, it must be shared.

2. Sharing, the act of making social, happens because people are made social.

3. Sharing is encouraged by good design.

4. When you share physical things like food, sharing reduces waste.

5. When you share non-physical things like ideas, sharing increases value.

Want to get value our of your data and analytics investment? Then deal with this issue before you buy the software [Maz Iqbal/B2C Business to Community]. People don’t think statistically correctly, even professional statisticians. Getting the right data into systems that can analyze it is the easy part. The hard part is:

Getting managers to give up their pet theories, their ideological convictions, their vested interests, their intuition, their past experience and use data and analytics to make decisions. That is the central issue that you have to and should deal with.