Professors Suzanne Churchill and Sundi Richard
English 406: Digital Design
January 26th, 2020
Gamification as a Tool to Increase Student Motivation and Enjoyment of Education
I am proposing a study of the implementation of gamification in both physical classrooms as well as through online services like learning management systems because I want to understand the efficacy of gamification as a tool to increase both the motivation and enjoyment of students in order to strengthen our education system and combat the growing epidemic of student disinterest in education, as well as potentially mock up an improved platform for gamification myself. As of now, I believe that gamification is an overall beneficial and important tool to incorporate into the classroom, and that it will help students enjoy learning. Scholars have certainly found that gamification has many positive impacts, such as the creation of a better, more fun learning experience and environment, the provision of instant feedback, and the ability to change root learning behaviors; however, they have also noted some drawbacks. By making play mandatory, the fun of gamification could disappear, making the entire point of the system null and void, and by rewarding mastery of a subject while disregarding the effort put into the subject, students can fail to see the point of putting forth more effort only to receive no reward or a poor result, resulting in a lack of motivation. In regards to public assumptions on the topic, they are likely quite varied. For those who don’t know what gamification is or haven’t seen data on its applications and utility, the use of the word “game” in the beginning of the term can make it seem like the schooling is becoming less focused on learning and more focused on fun, which isn’t true; it’s about merging fun with learning. However, there are also a great number of people that recognize the issues plaguing our school system, such as unmotivated, burnt-out students, and are open to incorporating new teaching methods to see if they help solve these problems. I would guess that those members of the public who have children or frequently work with children would be in favor of gamification, as they have almost certainly discovered for themselves the power of games in motivating children.
I have already gathered several sources to investigate this topic, and I will certainly amass many more as I move forward. As a broad introduction to the topic, one of the first sources I will use, “The History of Gamification: From the Very Beginning to Right Now”, provides a general overview of the beginnings and evolution of gamification. Some other sources, such as Dicheva et al. (2015) and F.F.-H. Nah et al. (2014), synthesize data and information from a wide range of case studies on gamification in education, allowing the reader to observe overall trends, beneficial aspects, and negative aspects easily. I can then seek out individual case studies listed and read through them to gain a more in-depth understanding of their methodology and results. One source in particular, Broer and Breiter (2015), is a fantastic source for the examination of gamification in LMS’, specifically tackling the following five popular LMS’ in 2014: Moodle, Edmodo, Blackboard Learn, Schoology, and Canvas. Yet another category of source that I’ve found is a guide to the implementation of gamification in the classroom, as exemplified by Huang and Soman (2013). This kind of source will allow me to better understand how teachers can implement this pedagogy in the classroom, as well as showcase several implementations in their review of several studies at the end of the article. Finally, one of the teachers I met during my schooling in Wisconsin, Mr. Michael Matera, is a huge proponent of gamification, and I’m almost certain he would be willing to be interviewed and/or provide me with several sources and contacts in the field.
This particular project interests me because I, like almost every student I know, have sometimes struggled mightily with finding the motivation to complete schoolwork that can sometimes feel tedious and pointless, and I’m a criminal procrastinator. From my point of view, everything becomes more fun when the principles of games are applied, especially as someone who is naturally competitive. Other people would be interested for similar reasons; gamification helps combat the monotony of schoolwork and the disinterest of students, and it can be used to decrease procrastination and increase interest in the material itself. My project is viable because there is a large amount of recent research on gamification, and a mock-up of an online system of gamification could simply be hand drawn pictures of a website with explanations of the functions shown in each picture written on the side. One of the greatest challenges of my project will likely be scope. It’s difficult for me to focus on a topic more specific than the gamification of education, and that subject is incredibly broad, meaning I could be overwhelmed with the amount of sources and options available to me before I even begin. A second challenge of the project would be the process of applying my results to the world in a meaningful way. I could potentially reach out to the Community School of Davidson to talk to them about the inclusion of gamification in their curriculum, or even to professors or administration at Davidson about adding gamification in the classroom, but asking teachers to significantly alter their teaching style and curriculum is a huge request.
Pledge: On my honor I have neither given nor received unauthorized information regarding this work, I have followed and will continue to observe all regulations regarding it, and I am unaware of any violation of the Honor Code by others.
Signed: Samuel Jacob Browning
Broer, J., & Breiter, A. (2015). Potentials of Gamification in Learning Management Systems: A Qualitative Evaluation. 10th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2015 Toledo, Spain, September 15–18, 2015, Proceedings, pp. 389-394. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24258-3
Darina Dicheva, Christo Dichev, Gennady Agre, & Galia Angelova. (2015). Gamification in Education: A Systematic Mapping Study. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 18(3), 75-88. Retrieved January 26, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/jeductechsoci.18.3.75
Furdu, I., Tomozei, C., & Köse, U. (2017). Pros and Cons Gamification and Gaming in Classroom [PDF]. BRAIN: Broad Research in Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience, 8(2). Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/pdf/1708.09337.pdf
The History of Gamification: From the Very Beginning to Right Now. (2019, August 29). Retrieved January 26, 2020, from Growth Engineering website: https://www.growthengineering.co.uk/history-of-gamification/
Huang, W. H.-Y., & Soman, D. (2013, December 10). A Practitioner’s Guide To Gamification Of Education[PDF]. Retrieved from https://rotman.utoronto.ca/-/media/files/programs-and-areas/behavioural-economics/guidegamificationeducationdec2013.pdf
Kiryakova, G., Angelova, N., & Yordanova, L. (2014). Gamification in education[PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/download/53993982/293-Kiryakova.pdf
Nah, F. F.-H., Zeng, Q., Telaprolu, V. R., Ayyappa, A. P., & Eschenbrenner, B. (2014). Gamification of Education: A Review of Literature. In F. F.-H. Nah (Ed.), HCI in business: First international conference, HCIB 2014, held as part of HCI International 2014 ([16th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction]), Heraklion, Crete, Greece, June 22-27, 2014 ; proceedings(pp. 401-409). Retrieved from Springer database. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24258-3
Suzanne Churchill says
Wow, this project is impressively well-researched. Given how much has already been written on the subject, I love the idea of a “tool kit” for college teachers–especially for those of us who might be skeptical of games for learning. What about making a game about gamification of learning? Or a set of games on various college subjects? Or a game that teaches students how to set up and use their Davidson Domains? (oh wait, that might be somewhat selfishly interested, but it would be VERY useful!)
Thanks for the thoughts Dr. Churchill! All of those sound like great ideas! The Davidson Domains game sounds like something that could be quite useful for many of my classmates 🙂 I’m excited to be working on the refugee storytelling project now, but I’ll definitely keep those suggestions in mind for future projects during my time at Davidson and beyond.