Friday, February 27, 2015

The 7 Most Used Game Elements and Game Techniques in Education

A literature review can show what are the sets of game elements and game techniques that are commonly used in gamified educational environments. Points, badges, leaderboards, levels and progress bars seem to be the most used elements. Recent research confirms this notion.  

Dicheva et al. (2015) conducted a systematic mapping study covering existing empirical work in gamification in education. One of the research questions behind this study was “What game elements have been used in gamifying educational systems?”. The study considered 34 articles and conference papers published from 2011 and until the first semester of 2014. Most of the publications occurred in 2013 (19) and 2014 (12). In their study, Dicheva et al., first found what were the most cited game design principles and game mechanics. These terms are considered here as “game elements” and “game techniques”, respectively. 

The study reached the following conclusions: 
  • The most used game elements were points, badges, leaderboards, levels, virtual goods and avatars (this one mentioned only in one publication);
  • The most used game techniques were “visible status”, “social engagement”, “freedom of choice”, “freedom to fail”, “rapid feedback” and “goals/challenges”;
  • These game elements and techniques were mostly appplied to blended learning courses; 
  • Only two papers considered K-12 education. The remainning publications concern higher education and training;
  • Computer Science and ICT educators are the early adopters of gamification;
  • There is a scarce empirical research on the efectiveness of gamification in learning
  • The authors of the reviewed papers share the opinion that gamification has the potencial to improve learning.
Also Seaborn and Fels (2015) surveyed 31 gamified systems and find that the most employed game elements elements and game techniques were points (18), badges (15), rewards (11), leaderboards (11), challenges (6), status (5), progression (3), achievements (3), avatars (3), mini-games (2), roles (2), narrative (1), time pressure (1), and feedback (1).
Farber (2015), refers some "gamification mechanics"  (game elements), used in gamification and quest-based learning. Those elements are leaderboards, badges, modding, avatars, in-game economies, game geography and Easter eggs.
Literature reviews revealed that, although several articles and conference papers have been published since 2010, there is still a lack of empirical research on the use and the benefits of gamification. This happens not also in education but also in the other fields of application of the gamification approach. Nevertheless, according to Hamari et al. (2014), education is the most common context found in research

Regarding gamification for the K-12 education more empirical research is needed. Another important conclusion is that gamification does produce positive effects and benefits and gamification of education, in particular, has a potential impact on learning. This review also shows that there is a set of common game components used in most learning settings.

Hence, the most used game elements and techniques, mainly according to the studies from Dicheva et al. (2015), Seaborn and Fels (2015), Thiebes et al. (2014) and Hamari et al. (2014), are shown in the following table:

Dicheva, D., Dichev, C., Agre, G., and Angelova2, G. (2015). Gamification in education: A systematic mapping study (in press). Educational Technology and Society,, 18(3). 

Farber, M. (2015). Gamify Your Classroom: A Field Guide to Game-Based Learning. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York.

Hamari, J., Koivisto, J., and Sarsa, H. (2014). Does gamification work? – a litera- ture review of empirical studies on gamification. In proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pages 6–9, Hawaii, USA.
Seaborn, K., Pennefather, P., and Fels, D. (2013). Reimagining leaderboards: Towards gamifying competency models through social game mechanics. In Lennart E. Nacke, K. H. and Randall, N., editors, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Gameful Design, Research, and Applications, pages 107–110, New York. ACM.

Thiebes, S., Lins, S., and Basten, D. (2014). Gamifying information systems - a synthesis of gamification mechanics and dynamics. In Twenty Second European Conference on Information Systems, Tel Aviv.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

CURSO b-learning: "Gamificação: Estratégias de Jogos Aplicadas ao e-Learning"

Motivar através de desafios e incentivos é essencial na Formação, dinamizando a aprendizagem.

A GAMIFICAÇÃO aplica elementos característicos dos jogos a ambientes não lúdicos, como é o caso da formação e-learning, potenciando a aprendizagem.

Este e-curso focará técnicas e estratégias de gamificação, ou elementos de jogos, que, combinados, podem contribuir para que os cursos online sejam mais motivadores e envolventes, tornando-os mais eficazes.
Formador: Jorge Simões

  • Compreender o conceito de gamificação e a sua aplicação na formação e ensino;
  • Conhecer as principais técnicas e estratégias de aplicação do conceito em situações reais de formação;
  • Desenvolver capacidade para conceber atividades pedagógicas gamificadas com o auxílio de plataformas de apoio à aprendizagem e de ferramentas digitais de gamificação.

Início: 26 de fevereiro.
Duração: 30 horas (2 horas presenciais, 5 síncronas e 23 assíncronas).

Conteúdo Programático:
  •   Módulo 0: Introdução ao curso e ao ambiente e-learning - 2h presenciais
  •   Módulo 1: Dos Jogos à Gamificação - 1h assíncrona, 5h assíncronas
  •   Módulo 2: Elementos de Jogos - 1h síncrona, 5h assíncronas
  •   Módulo 3: Psicologia e Gamificação - 1h síncrona, 5h assíncronas
  •   Módulo 4: Cenários de Aplicação - 2h síncronas, 9h assíncronas
Formador: Jorge Simões
TecMinho – interface da Universidade do Minho
Centro e-Learning - 
Tlf: 253 510 590

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Gamification on the Future of EdTech

On Future Of EdTech 101: Automation, Curation And Gamification by Nathan Deardorff:

By the year 2050 higher education will be transformed by three trends: automation, curation, and gamification
(...) gamification, the act of turning something that is traditionally not a game into one. It’s like getting a gold star for a good job, but better. A contemporary example of this is the web app, HabitRPG. It takes after other Role Playing Games by giving characters magical abilities, experience points and health. The users can gain powers and experience by completing self assigned tasks. If the tasks are not completed by the due date, the user looses health. This system could be implemented for homework assignments. But the in-class application is far more exciting. Imagine automated tracking of class participation, class grades, and work speed. This carrot-and-stick system would motivate students to earn points by actively engaging in the classroom, and finish their quizzes as quick as possible with highest accuracy. Performance is public via game points or badges. A student who can actively brag that he outscored his classmates in attention, or is the fastest quizzer in the school will feel the euphoria of a job well done, and the other students will feel the stick of motivation to out score their competitor.

I don't agree with the definition of gamification (turning something that is traditionally not a game into one) but this article shows the importance of gamification for the education sector.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Leaderbords and the Gamification Gurus

This month I reached the top 12 of the Gamification Gurus (I don't know exactly how, but that's ok). A big climb since last month ranking. And in good company.

Leaderboards are a powerful game element that can have different flavors: single player or multiplayer, relative or absolute. To be more exact:
  • Single player, that compare the players latest score to previous scores;
  • Multiplayer that display rankings of near performing peers;
  • Multiplayer that display rankings of high performing peers;
  • Multiplayer that display rankings of near performing friends
Single player leaderboards are simple individual lists of scores, showing the performance of one player. Multiplayer leaderboards displaying rankings of near performing peers are a usual approach in social games. In rankings of high performing peers, players with a lower score may not be present. That may lead to demotivation, which is a drawback for this kind of leaderboards. Multiplayer near performing peers leaderboards are recommended for use in learning contexts.

In education, leaderboards can be an important social game element if correctly used to foster social interactions and avoid the downfalls of competition in this context. Competition is probably the reason explaining why gamified systems in the education sector do not use leaderboards so often. Alternatively, the leaderboard can be anonymous, where each player can only see other players’ scores, but not their names, reducing competition among players.

See also Leaderboards: A Social Game Element and Leaderboards: A Social Game Element (Part II).