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Factors at Play in Curriculum Gamification

The compulsion to include games and game related mechanism in education is great among educators who want to engage and motivate today’s students and the latest buzzword in this domain is gamification. However, without a thorough understanding of wha

Penny de Byl

on 16 April 2015

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Transcript of Factors at Play in Curriculum Gamification

The use of game thinking and game mechanics to engage users and solve problems.
(Gamification By Design, Zichermann & Cunningham 2011)
Playfulness requires freedom - the freedom to experiment, to fail, to explore multiple identities, to control one’s own investment and experience
Leader Boards
& Quests
Badges &
A choice in your favour
when all other
things are equal.
19th Century
• Recency
• Frequency
• Duration
• Virality
• Ratings
Player Re-Engagement
Social Call to Action
Visible Progression
Motivating Emotion
Points = Marks
Levels = Grades
Leaderboard = Grade Distribution
Customisation = Picking Courses/Degrees
Badges = University Medals
Social Engagment Loop = Peers
School is already
Gamified.... surely?
Student Retention
Class Attendance
Deep approach
Intention to understand
Vigorous interaction with content
Relate new ideas to previous knowledge
Relate concepts to everyday experience
Relate evidence to conclusions
Examine the logic of the argument
Surface approach
Intention to complete task requirements
Memorise information needed for assessments
Failure to distinguish principles from examples
Treat task as an external imposition
Focus on discrete elements without integration
Unreflectiveness about purpose or strategies
Strategic approach
Intention to obtain highest possible grades
Organise time and distribute effort to greatest effect
Ensure conditions and materials for studying appropriate
Use previous exam papers to predict questions
Be alert to cues about marking schemes

Entwistle (1987. p. 16)
Measuring Student

The Multiplayer Classroom
Quest to Learn, N.Y.
Augmented Learning Games
Using technology and props to
enhance and change the
real world for educational purposes.
GPS & Mobile Games
Eric Klopfer, MIT
Games deliver concrete
challenges tailored to a
player's skill level with
increasing difficulty.
Games provide a positive
relationship with failure
Game players can
keep trying
until they succeed.
Games provide
rapid feedback
Games provide multiple
routes to success.
Biology Quest
Teaching with Technology
University of Arizona South
Subject divided into modules of increasing difficulty
Multiple assignments to choose from in each module
Compulsory lower-level assignments required before students progress
Bronze, Silver and Gold level assignments
XP points visible within a course planning tool
Achievements communicated by email
Marked Tree High School, Arkansas
Teach presents Biology Lore for 30mins each class
Students can choose from Challenges and Quests
Rewarded with XP and Biology Bucks
Biology Bucks can by school supplies, hall passes or be used to rent library books
seen the average grade increase by 20%
Introduction to the Study of Education
Louisiana State University
Assigns achievements based on the quality and quantity of weekly student blog posts
Leaderboard shown at the beginning of each class and available on LMS
Achievements translate to XP which can be redeemed for "real" grades
seen a 29% increase in class participation
Provide clear goals
Give immediate feedback
Give a range of challenges & quests
Grade UP, not down. (XP)
Exams presented as "Ultimate Quests"
Provide Multiple Paths to Completion
Visible Leaderboards/Transparent Progression
Design for Novice to Master

"If you want them to go the extra mile,
give them the extra mile"
"Focusing on the ways that entertainment technology engages us can result in methods that we can transfer to any learning situation." SARAH SMITH-ROBBINS
Applying Gamification
to your Curriculum

A clear goal
Immediate feedback
A challenge you’re confident you have the skills to handle
Total concentration and focus
A sense of control
Openness to new things
Increased exploratory behavior
Increased learning
Positive feelings
Loss of consciousness of self
Distortions in the perception of time
Activity is perceived as intrinsically rewarding
Intrinsic & Extrinsic
Research has found:
cash is a weak reward for complex tasks
exceptionally competitive people are self-destructively competitive
extrinsic rewards will crush intrinsic motivation
From Novice
to Master
Novice: someone new to the system
Problem Solver: a novice with enough information to figure out what is going on
Expert: has learnt how the system works
Master: believes they truely understand the system and can control it
Visionary: can find the flaws in a system and redesign it
Factors at Play in Curriculum Gamification
Dr Penny de Byl (pdebyl@bond.edu.au)
Professor of Games and Interactive Media
Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia
Mobile Games
created for Bravehearts Children's Charity
Saxon Cameron and Will Fettke 2010
Dodge Dogs
created for Guide Dogs Queensland
Jeremy Orr, Mario Medic, Steven Kuiken 2013
Affection Collection
created for RSPCA by Saxon Cameron 2011
de Byl, P. (2013). Factors at Play in Tertiary Curriculum Gamification. International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL), 3(2), 1-21. doi:10.4018/ijgbl.2013040101
We're taking about
learning now right?
Learning, YES ...
but not
learning systems ...
Points (XP)
Game Mechanics
The School
The Course
The Lecture
Games have a transformative effect on a players emotions involving repeated experimentation to learn and succeed.
For most games the only way to learn is to repeatedly fail learning something new each time.
Feedback cycle is rapid and stakes are low.
Grading policies such as refusing to accept late work, giving grades of zero, and refusing to allow students to redo their work may be intended as punishment for poor performande, but such policies will not really teach students t be accountable, and they provide very little useful information about students' mastery of material. - Wormeli 2006
If games teach us anything, the more times a player attempts and fails, the more they learn and the better they become.
Bond University
Animation, Games and Programming
2013 Temple Run Remake
2 Hour Game Jam
5 Dimensions of Gamification in Education
Comparative Pedagogy
Factors revealed through exploratory factor analysis of student exit questionnaires.
(alpha = 0.74 - acceptable internal consistency)
Playful Learning is described across a variety of learning styles (Rice, 2009)
Despite the seemingly extrinsic nature of gamification, play itself is considered an experience with intrinsic motives (Henricks, 1999)
Traditional classroom versus experimental and innovative pedagogy
Could gamification become "old hat"?
Educators can motivate students by clearly communicating success criteria and depicting success as a realistic objective (Strong et. al. 1995)
Gamification provides a transparent plan for subject progression.
Competition and rivalry in class are motivators for success
Students prefer to see where they sit with respect to the rest of the class and their final grade at all times.
For students to succeed they must know 1) what good performance is; 2) how their performance rates with respect to good performance and 3) how to turn their current performance into good performance (Sadler, 1989)
"Today's youth mandates a more engaging experience. Gamification is required to bring those things into balance, and to make things engaging enough fo people will pay attention to them and stay focused on them for a longer period of time."
Gabe Zichermann
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