Gamification to the Rescue!

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"Gamification Rescues Course with High Failure Rate" (post) outlines how one Kinesiology instructor turned around high failure rates by using gamification for "active knowledge development."

1. The Problem

  • "[T]he course used the traditional lecture format ... [and] students were not 'catching' as much [knowledge] as the university had hoped."
  • Spoiler: After using games in class and as study prep, "the failure rate for the class dropped from 43 percent to 0 ... [and] the students expressed overwhelming support for the system in their post-class surveys." 

2. The Response: Kahoot!

The instructor "add[ed] interactive quizzes before, during, and after the class" using "Kahoot!, a free system that has rapidly become one of the most popular apps for in-class interactions."

  • "The instructor pu[t] up questions in class which students answer[ed] on their cell phones, tablets, or laptops."

a. How Kahoot! Works

"Kahoot! is set up more as a gaming system than a quizzing system."

  • "The instructor creates 'games' for students to play, which are basically banks of questions, and is given a dashboard of class-wide statistics on how students did on the quiz as a whole and individual questions."
  • "Students can play these games individually or against one another in groups ... ideal for non-graded in-class interactions for formative assessments."
  • "[T]he instructor can send students 'challenges' that they complete out of the class, such as a list of questions to answer while they do the readings."

b. Advantages of Kahoot!

  • "Students can also learn how they did in relation to the rest of the class, creating some friendly competition ... [that] heightens motivation and engagement." 
  • "[S]tudents do not need to be preloaded into classes, as with an LMS.  The instructor can set up a game of questions and send students a link to get in without needing to sign up or sign in."
  • "Kahoot! has a bank of games created by other instructors that can be used for free, and so instructors might find that they can get a head start by surveying and reusing what has already been created."  

3. The Process

The instructor "used the ungraded games to allow students to focus on learning without having to worry about what they score."

  • "[A]lthough the games were ungraded, cumulative scores were kept on each student’s performance so they could receive a bonus point toward their grade for every 100,000 points earned."
  • "This created motivation to play without fear of failure, and student performance on the Kahoot! games helped inform what was covered in class." 
  • "If a number of students missed a particular question, [the instructor] went over it in class, often asking students to help their peers with the answers."
  • "The questions in the Kahoot! bank were later used to create graded quizzes in the LMS ... [and so] the Kahoot! games prepared the students to succeed in the course assessments."

4. The Results

  • "[T]he failure rate for the class dropped from 43 percent to 0."
  • "[T]he students expressed overwhelming support for the system in their post-class surveys." 
  • "[S]tudent attendance improved, as did the notes they took out of class and in-class ... [since the questions gave] a clear picture of what they didn’t know and thus what they need to take notes on."

5. Other Easy-to-Set-Up Online Resources

a. Online Game Tools

  • StudyStack (free, with paid option) -- 13 embeddable game play options after once loading Q&As, terms and definitions, etc.

b. A Tool for Making videos Interactive

  • Make videos interactive with EdPuzzle (basic is free; paid options).
  • The "instructor can upload videos to EdPuzzle and embed the questions right into the videos."

6. See Also

Source: Orlando, John. "Gamification Rescues Courses with high Failure Rates." The Teaching Professor November 26, 2018.

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