Friday, March 21, 2014

Gamification Series Part 4: Our Quest (Flipped 101 - Flipped Mastery - Gamified Flip)

Gamification of our courses did not happen overnight.  In general, venturing into the flipped classroom approach opened up the door for innovation.  Then, moving towards Flipped Mastery established a solid foundation in mastery learning, something that I believe is a central component of gamified learning environments. Fall of 2013 is when we officially applied gamification principles to our Flipped Mastery courses.  Below is a brief outline of the stages in this journey. 

FLIPPED 101 (FALL 2011)

Characteristics
- Shifted direct instruction (lectures) online via screencasting.
- Videos assigned for homework.  Homework now completed in class. 

Advantages
- More time to work individually with students and build relationships.
- Direct instruction permanently archived for remediation & review.
- Student learning with a medium they are comfortable with (ex. YouTube)
-  Minimized distractions in class (lectures removed from group space).

Challenges
- Video Quality & Tech Access (Ex. YouTube blocked).
- Some students refusing to view videos at home. 

FLIPPED MASTERY (SPRING 2012)

Characteristics
- Videos utilized as resources to help students demonstrate proficiency.
- Strategies employed to help build metacognitive skills (goal setting, progress monitoring, reflecting)
- More student choice of topics, activities, assessments.

Advantages
- Encourages student responsibility & self-regulated learning.
- Increased student to student interactions.
- Improved ability to differentiate instruction and personalize learning.
- Students empowered with more choice and control of learning.

Challenges
- Managing mastery learning in a traditional school setting.
- Keeping students motivated and on-task in “open” learning environment.

GAMIFIED MASTERY (FALL 2013)

Characteristics
- Flipped Mastery foundation.
- Game design principles and mechanics applied to mastery units.
    Ex.) Leveling, XP, badges, challenges, narrative. 

Advantages
-  Student engagement is way up!
- Positive peer pressure to participate, compete, and succeed.
- Students are more likely to help each other. 

Challenges
- Initial student “buy-in.”
- Managing gamification (ex. pacing)

Now that the stage is set, the rest of this series will focus upon specific game mechanics and how they were leveraged and implemented in our course.  How better to kick this off than hearing from the students themselves...