Gamification of Learning Design Environments

Last week GALA partner RWTH Aachen University, together with partners from University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, organized a workshop on “Gamification of Learning Design Environments” at the 10th Joint European Summer School on Technology Enhanced Learning in Malta. The summer school was attended by PhD students in Technology Enhanced Learning mainly from Europe. The workshop was a synergy event between GALA Education activities and recent developments in the METIS project, which is supported by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme.

Gamification is a hot topic currently, dealing with the introduction of game design elements in non-game systems. The resulting gamified systems shall motivate and engage users in some desired behaviors by exploiting the fun associated with game elements like challenges, quests, collections, badges, leaderboards, and others. The objective of this workshop was to strengthen students’ understanding and skills in the practical application of gamification by putting them in charge of gamifying selected aspects of the learning design and deployment cycle. Specifically, the system which was subject to gamification — the Integrated Learning Design Environment (ILDE) — is currently being developed in the METIS project. ILDE integrates conceptualization tools, authoring tools and deployment tools for learning designs within a shared collaborative space (watch a short demo video). However, there is empirical evidence that there are many use cases offered by ILDE like sharing, documentation, reuse, etc., are highly desirable yet not practiced in most educational institutions. Therefore the idea was to have students gamify ILDE.

On the first workshop day the students learned about the concepts of learning design and gamification with small examples and exercises. They then teamed up in six teams for the ILDE gamification task. The task for each team was to produce a gamification concept for selected ILDE scenarios mentioned above. They were instructed to use the six-step Gamification Framework by Kevin Werbach, which was presented and applied also in Werbach’s Gamification MOOC earlier this year.

The team solutions turned out to be very creative. For example, the “Maltaplayer” team chose to gamify the sharing and commenting features of ILDE using a Dungeons & Dragons metaphor. For instance a part of their concept was the “time bomb”, a challenge that was used to make people share a learning design within a given time frame. A comic dragon was about to burn the user profile if they didn’t manage to solve the challenge. Further they used game elements like progression (with levels and points), emotions, constraints, avatars, badges and social community elements.

The “Zoo” team chose a more peaceful metaphor in their gamification strategy by using certain animal avatars as representations of achievements. Also they used classic gamification elements like points, badges and leaderboards.

In an investment game after the team presentations on the second workshop day, the winning team was identified by having all students invest play money in the presented concepts. The workshop chairs also had play money and there was an anonymous, rich angel investor in the audience. As a result the Maltaplayer team got the most money invested in their idea, with the Zoo team coming in second.

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Image: The workshop organizers with the “Maltaplayer” and “Zoo” teams.

View the workshop slides on Slideshare:

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