Education Reforms Fail
Reforms continue to fail in schools, but to change these failures, educators need to personalize their classrooms, so students can get excited about what they are learning, so the conversation continues outside of the classroom (Watson, 2014). One way that this can be done is through gamification. Although the term gamification is often confused with games, there are differences. “Games-based learning... uses exiting games to enhance the learning process” (Ling, 2018, p.142), such as Minecraft and World of Warcraft (Ling, 2018) whereas gamification applies “...game mechanics and game design techniques to non-game environments... to help achieve...goals...,” and "...to guide learners through the content without changing the content” (Boskic & Hu, 2015, p.741).
“The needs of modern learners have changed in accordance with the development of technology and the evolution of the learning environment” (Kocadere & Çağlar, 2018, p.1). Gamification has made headway in other environments, but now research needs to be done on how gamification will affect education (Dicheva, Dicheva, & Agelova, 2015), so the educational system can change to better suit the learner based off these new developments. In this post, an explanation will be given about what components make up gamification, and the benefits and challenges of using gamification in the classroom.
Components and Benefits of Gamification
Gamification should include the following design components: goals, personalization, rapid feedback, visible status, freedom to fail, a storyline, social engagement, freedom of choice (Dicheva et al., 2015) and intrinsic motivation (Klemke et al., 2018, p.10). To begin, there needs to be a clearly stated goal. What is the mission? How will the learner win or lose points (Pektaş & Kepceoğlu, 2019)? Next, an opportunity for social engagement needs to be provided, such as avatars, teams, guides, battles (Pektaş & Kepceoğlu, 2019), or competitions (Dicheva et al., 2015). Also, the course needs to be “guided by clear pedagogical framework” (Boskic & Hu, 2015, p.748), and there needs to be clear scaffolding depicted in the game (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013). Lynette Ling (2018) explained that story telling allows for the scaffolding of comprehension through quests and challenges (Ling, 2018), and the level of learning is greater when the facts are incorporated into a story instead of listed out on a page (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013). Also, a “...well designed game play can engage students with a topic on a deeper level by driving them to internalize the material, and thus to understand it better” (Boskic & Hu, 2015). In fact, the retention of material was shown to last for a longer period, writing skills were shown to be strengthened, and this platform helped clear up misconceptions that the students had (Ling, 2018).
Next, students need to be able to choose their own path (freedom of choice), and they need the ability to decide how the game will play out (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013). For example, the process could include optional materials, required materials (Kocadere & Çağlar, 2018), or an option for what type of task could be completed, such as an individual project or a video (Dicheva, Dicheva, & Agelova, 2015). This allows for a personalized learning experience, and a sense of empowerment because the learner has control of the process and their progress in the game (Klemke et al., 2018).
Furthermore, gamification can provide the opportunity for rapid feedback through thorough explanations as to why an answer is right, wrong, or partially correct by using clues, signs, progress bars and warnings (Pektaş & Kepceoğlu, 2019). Also, by providing rapid feedback, students become more engaged, motivated and confident in their abilities (Alabbasi, 2017). Next, this can “... lead to increased ownership and sense of responsibility...” (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013, p.5) on behalf of the learner. Overall, “the more frequent and targeted the feedback, the more effective the learning” (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013, p.5).
Also, freedom of failing needs to be included in this type of platform. One-way freedom of failing can be incorporated is through higher level assignments which will be unlocked when a lower level mission is complete (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013), so the learner cannot move on until they get the correct answer by redoing work. Students appreciate the opportunity to redo parts of their work (Ling, 2018), and it allows for the students to become more relaxed when working through the content (Alabbasi, 2017). Furthermore, freedom to fail increases student motivation because they are not bogged down by the fear of failing because this platform focusses on the process of learning, and it builds a “...positive relationship with failure” (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013, p.1).
Motivation is one of the benefits of gamification (Pektaş & Kepceoğlu, 2019, p.68) due to intrinsic motivational factors (personal rewards) (Klemke et al., 2018, p.10), such as the ability to move on in the game through competition (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013), social stimuli and cognitive stimuli (Ling, 2018). Also, students can work through the content versus sitting in a lecture for a lengthy period (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013) which motivates students to do things, such as “...read background material and grasp key concepts...” (Ling, 2018, p.142). Also, types of visual statuses, such as scoreboards allow for students to see that they can continue to progress in the game which can help motivate a student whereas letter grades have a finality to them (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013, p.6). Also, scoreboards allow teachers to quickly and easily see the student’s progress in the content (Pektaş & Kepceoğlu, 2019).
As can be seen, there are several components and benefits to gamification. Gamification provides the student with intrinsic motivation, empowerment, an increase in ownership of learning, a chance to collaborate with other students, a deeper understanding of the knowledge, and a positive relationship with failing. Lastly, results have “shown a positive perception toward the use of gamification tools... among in-service and pre-service teachers” (Alabbasi, 2017, p.37), and students found gamification “... ‘engaging’ and ‘fun’ and ‘more interesting’ than working on a traditional quiz” (Ling, 2018, p.150).
Challenges of Gamification
There are some aspects of gamification that are a drawback. For example, “...rapid feedback and a wide range of assignments causes a large increase in workload for the teacher” (Scott & Neustaedter, 2013, p.3). Also, students that continually get questions wrong and see rapid feedback occur due to their wrong answers (Pektaş & Kepceoğlu, 2019) lead to students becoming unmotivated to complete the course work (Alabbasi, 2017). Next, gamification can cause some students to become anti-social if the game is set-up without teamwork as a necessary component, and it can cause stereotypes about students and teachers (Alabbasi, 2017). Furthermore, points, badges and leaderboards can be a hinderance (Boskic & Hu. 2015) because they can “...undermine intrinsic motivation to learn and replace it with a constant need for extrinsic motivation...” (Laubersheimer, Ryan & Champaign, 2016, p.926).
In addition, students can become anxious due to the addition of gamification to their course work (Alabbasi, 2017). For example, students have been shown to struggle with the set-up of the game. “The lack of proper technological support is one of the major obstacles for applying game elements in education” (Dicheva et al., 2015, p.10). Also, “many students would not go beyond the minimum tasks required in the game...” (Laubersheimer et al., 2016, p.925), and it was determined that “... the performance of students is statistically identical” (Buhagiar & Leo, 2018, pp. 3-4) to other platforms. The “...possible negative outcomes, such as anxiety from increased competition, should not be discounted” (Laubersheimer et al., 2016, p.926).
What is Next for Gamification?
“Gamification of content means altering content to make it more ‘gamelike’...” (Boskic & Hu. 2015, p.741). Although, gamification has several benefits, such as instant feedback, freedom to fail, freedom of choice, etc.., it also comes with some drawbacks, such as technology issues. Each benefit and challenge must be carefully considered when deciding if gamification will be the future of the classroom. For example, some teachers felt that student motivation increased due to feedback and the safe learning environment where other teachers felt that student motivation decreased due to becoming frustrated with the set-up of the game (Pektaş & Kepceoğlu, 2019), or due to difficulties with technology, such as getting kicked out of the game (Ling, 2018). “Selecting and designing game elements and applying them to educational context is a complex process that requires a specific level of creativity, and the ability to reach across different disciplines” (Klemke et al., 2018, p.8).
Future research needs to be done on the design of the classroom to determine what characteristics lead to a successful and an unsuccessful classroom, and how the different components correlate with each other. For example, does freedom to fail and a storyline lead to a successful or unsuccessful classroom when used together? In the end, gamification has some key components that make for a successful classroom that could lead to gamification being the future platform for education, and gamification can provide for an engaging, personalized learning experience that is “expected to foster interaction, and self-organization in the learning process” (Klemke et al., 2018, p.9), but “...gamification can be helpful in education only if it is carefully selected and designed chosen according to the application scenario at hand...” (Klemke et al., 2018, p.10).
Alabbasi, D. (2017). Exploring graduate students’ perspectives towards using gamification techniques in online learning. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education (TOJDE),18(3),180-196. doi:http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/login.aspxdirect=true&db=eue&AN=124396360&site=ehost-live
Boskic, N., & Hu, S. (2015). Gamification in higher education: How we changed roles. In L. Kolås, & R.Munkvold (Eds.), Proceedings of the European Conference on Games Based Learning (pp.741- 748). Sonning Common, England: Academic Conferences & Publishing_International_Ltd._doi:http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/login.aspxdirect=true&db=eue&AN=114725779&site=ehost-live
Buhagiar, T., & Leo, C. (2018). Does gamification improve academic performance? Journal_of_Instructional_Pedagogies,20,1-8. doi:http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/login.aspxdirect=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1178731&site=ehost-live
Dicheva, D., Dicheva, C., Agre, G., & Agelova, G. (2015). Gamification in education: A systematic mapping study. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 18(3), 75-88. doi:http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=2&sid=c64653af-cbf4-4ddf-b615-05b92534ca10%40sessionmgr104
Klemke, R., Eradze, M., & Antonaci, A. (2018). The flipped MOOC: Using gamification and learning analytics in MOOC design--A conceptual approach. Education Sciences, 8, 1-13. doi:http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/login.aspx? direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1174964&site=ehost-live
Kocadere, S. A., & Çağlar, e. (2018). Gamification from player type perspective: A case study._Journal_of_Educational_Technology_&_Society,_21(3),_12-22. doi:http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/login.aspxdirect=true&db=eue&AN=130867670&site=ehost-live
Laubersheimer, J., Ryan, D., & Champaign, J. (2016). NfoSkills2Go: Using badges and gamification to teach information literacy skills and concepts to college-bound high school students. Journal of Library Administration, 56(8), 924-938. doi:https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/10.1080/01930826.2015.112358
Ling, L. (2018). Meaningful gamification and students' motivation:_A_strategy_for scaffolding_reading_material._Online_Learning,22(2),141-155.doi:https://doi-org.ezproxy.lib.purdue.edu/10.24059/olj.v22i2.1167
Scott, A., & Neustaedter,_C. (2013). Analysis of gamification in education. Semantic Scholar,1-8._doi:https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Analysis-of-Gamification-in-Education-Stott-Neustaedter/4c2e7189e548ff6200bc8495f22334224466092b
Watson, Bill, actor. Square pegs for round holes – Why education reforms fail. Tedx PurdueU, 2014. Accessed 26 May 2019.
Do you ever have an idea that you want to implement as a simulation in your class, but you can't find what you want online? If this is the case, you can create your own "Simple Simulations" for any subject. You could create a simulation for solving math problems, you could create a story with moving parts, you could create a virtual lab, etc... The options are endless. For example, check out the Chemistry videos below to see what can be done.
To be able to create your own simulations, you will need to start with a plan.
Once you have your GIF's created, you will need to add your GIF's to the correct slides in Google Slides then you will need to link your slides. Check out the "How to Make a Simulation Using Gifs and Google Slides" video below to see how you can link slides and add GIF's in Google Slides.
Once you have your slides linked and your GIF's inserted, you can go in and add your content to each slide and work on how the slides will look. For some additional tips about creating Google Slides, check out the "Google Slides" Key Components" video below.
(n.d.). In EZGIF.COM. Retrieved from https://ezgif.com/maker
(n.d.). In Google. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/slides/about/
What steps do you take when you create a unit for a class? Do you start by finding some cool simulations? Do you create your test first? Do you consider what your learning objectives should be? Be honest with yourself. I ask these questions because they are important. For example, if you start creating a unit with a cool activity you found, you most likely are going to run into some alignment issues if you do not start with your learning objectives.
When it comes to designing your course, you always want to start with your learning objectives, so before you do anything, sit down and write out what you want your students to know by the end of the class then make these into learning objectives. Once you have your learning objectives, there are several design approaches you can take when creating your course, but this post is going to focus on the backwards design approach.
There are three main steps when using the backwards design approach:
Once you have your learning objectives, you will have completed step one of the backwards design approach. Next, you need to determine acceptable evidence. How will your students show you they have mastered the learning objective? Do you have some test questions, do you have them complete a project, do you have them write an essay, etc. Overall, how will you access them on each learning objective? Check out the examples below:
Once you have your acceptable evidence (test, project, paper, etc.) created that aligns with the learning objectives, you plan your learning experiences. This is where you may use simulations, activities, readings, videos, etc. to help your students master the material you are teaching. When you are finding resources for your class, make sure that each resource helps the learner master the learning objectives you created. If the resource does not help the learner master the learning objective, do not use it. If you find that you do not have a resource for a learning objective, make sure you find one. Next, you use these resources to create the learning experience. For example, if you are teaching online then you may use a learning management system (LMS) to design your course, such as uploading materials. Once you have this step completed, you will have completed a backwards design approach for creating a course for your students.