Improving Participation and Learning with Gamification

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Abstract – In this paper we explore how gamification can be applied to education in order to improve student engagement. We present a study in which a college course was gamified, by including experience points, levels, badges, challenges and leaderboards. The study was five years long, where the first three were non-gamified years, and the last two regarded two successive experiments of our gamified approach. To assess how gamification impacted the learning experience, we compared data from both gamified and non-gamified years, using different performance measures. Results show significant improvements in terms of attention to reference materials, online participation and proactivity. They also suggest that our approach can reduce grade discrepancies among students and help them score better. Modelling course activities with game challenges and properly distributing those over the term seem to enhance this effect.

Keywords – Gamification; Education; Evaluation; Student Participation; Virtual Learning Environments

Improving Participation and Learning with Gamification (Full Paper in PDF format)