Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gamification Series Part 14: Results

When reflecting upon whether gamification "worked" this year, I had to revisit the major reason why I ventured into this in the first place.  It all boils down to this brief explanation:

Problem =  Lack of Motivation & Engagement
Proposed Solution =  Gamification

Although this is admittedly oversimplified, it at least provides a frame of reference when evaluating this year's gamified course. 


How did I measure whether gamification improved motivation and engagement? Simple, I asked the students.  Here are some results from a Google Form survey the students recently completed:

67% were more motivated to learn in a gamified learning environment.

88% were more engaged in class on a daily basis. 

Beyond motivation and engagement, they also reported the following: 

70%  learned more effectively in a gamified course.

79%  enjoyed the competition associated with gamification.



Motivation & Engagement

As was evident in the survey, there was definitely improved motivation and classroom engagement for most students. This was typically the case for students who self-identified as "gamers," but many students who are not your traditional gamer enjoyed the course as well. These were typically students who were not as caught up in the narrative but instead with the competition and camaraderie that accompanied the gamified learning environment. 

Students Assume Role of Teachers / Coaches

I also recognized a new dynamic when it came to students working on group projects and assignments. The competition created a type of positive peer pressure to make sure others in the group succeeded. It also created opportunities for group leaders to assume the role of "teacher" as they often times coached their teammates through a particularly difficult part of the course. 



As described in the post on management, I did develop a system for managing the gamified learning environment by piecing together several different resources and strategies. This was, however, not ideal. In the future, I will consider adopting a more robust tool or platform to conduct the digital portion of the course. (Ex. 3DGamelab, Class Dojo)  

Narrative & Avatars

I also had a difficult time "selling" the idea of the narrative (storyline) and avatars. First, I do not think that I effectively wove the existing curriculum into the storyline effectively enough. I also did not make enough use of the avatars. Moving forward, I will make sure that each mission is tied more directly to the narrative, while creating differentiated tasks for students who are in different avatar classes. This will hopefully create more buy-in from those who were more reluctant to dive into this concept. 

More Games & Competitions

Many students enjoyed when we learned and competed with actual games throughout the course. For instance, we had a few competitions with Geoguessr to learn geography that were a big hit with students. Although this course applied "gamification" as opposed to "game-based learning," there can still be a place for leveraging existing games effectively. Back when I taught American Government, I thought that the iCivics games were great, and so did my students. I will certainly add in more games and competitions to each scenario for next year.