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Gamification in Education Term Paper


Over the years, governance of the educational system has focused on models of improving learning outcomes. With that, stakeholders have proposed various methods and techniques to enhance the learning and teaching processes. Additionally, researchers’ focus was directed toward understanding how they could implement student-centered learning methods with the idea of giving higher priority to the learners. However, little is known on how the introduction of gamification may improve e-learning; especially, in the higher education system of Australia. Undeniably, various institutional organizations are admitting students from all over the world, which makes e-learning have a higher notch as a model of learning; particularly, as the world becomes more globalized. Therefore, the paper unveils how game-dynamics and game-mechanics may be introduced to facilitate students’ learning process.

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Markedly, with appropriate introduction of gamification, there will be a positive impact on the student learning process. It is purported that integrating game mechanics and dynamics enhances student satisfaction, engagement, and motivation (Urh, Marko, Goran Vukovic, and Eva Jereb 388). Apart from providing the theoretical basis of the mentioned concepts, this paper describes the objectives, techniques, mechanisms, and rules of gamification. Additionally, the research outlines the advantages and disadvantages of introducing gamification into the e-learning process. It gives the features of the concepts and how game mechanisms can be integrated in learning practically. In essence, the study proactively suggests the implementation of gamification into the e-learning system of Australia to improve the outcomes of education.

Section 1: Conceptualization of the topic
Undeniably, the contemporary world is associated with advancement in information and technology. With that, there is widespread use of newer technologies; especially, due to proliferation of the internet, smartphones, and social media networks. All the developments have had profound impacts on higher education of Australia. For example, colleges and universities have been tapping the benefits of new information systems and better communication methods introduced by the internet to invest in e-learning. Nevertheless, Caballe and Robert noted that various learning models support formal or informal learning, individualistic or collaborative learning, activity or content management among others (p. 14). However, one thing remains clear; the development of information technology highly supports e-learning infrastructure. Conventionally, the acceptability of e-learning techniques within colleges and universities in Sydney Australia has increased because it offers a new experience and has become affordable and preferred by many students for both learning and tuition. Essentially, the introduction of e-learning is as a result of the attempt to adopt educational systems that are more satisfying, effective, efficient, and motivating.

Unfortunately, many schools have failed to achieve the expected positive impacts of e-learning. That is, most students are still not satisfied, which could be due to lack of knowledge and non-compliance with the required e-learning design system (Queirós, Ricardo, and Mário 3). The author added that various factors influence the level of student satisfaction, which includes but not limited to, technology, environmental factors, teachers, students, system design, and course. The idea is that student satisfaction and the need to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of higher education entails manifold factors. Most importantly, user satisfaction is the concept used to assess the effects of implementing new learning systems (Tsay et al. 3). Notably, there is sufficient evidence that a large number of students stop learning after their first experience with e-learning. It is apparent that there is a problem with the current model of implementing e-learning that limits student satisfaction. Fundamentally, failure of the e-learning to achieve the required satisfaction, efficiency, motivation, and effectiveness may be attributed to several factors. They may include poorly managed projects, application of inappropriate technologies, poor graphics interface, and non-consideration of all levels of developing e-learning systems. Most importantly, the insufficiencies can be addressed by introducing gamification such as video games into non-game applications of e-learning.

Related Theory
Gamification in Education:
Undoubtedly, the advancement in technology has facilitated the growth and explosion of the gaming industry around the world. Conventionally, the game is about having fun, which in many cases is addictive. Fun and addiction can be translated into the real world situation to improve productivity and performance (Kim et al. 12). For instance, in a conventional classroom setting, the performance of students is often influenced by factors such as motivation and engagement, among others. However, students must need the effort of others such as parents, teachers, and fellow students to be motivated and engaged in learning activities. With that, they lack the internal motivation and urge to perform. Evidently, intrinsic motivation is often increased by having fun and being accustomed and passionate about something (Tan and Khe 11). Additionally, the author adds that funs have been used on many occasions to facilitate behavioral change. The idea is the basis that makes many companies integrate games or fun in their tactical marketing strategies. Characteristically, people who love gaming have unique traits because they are always optimistic, blissfully productive, and develop a social fabric (Queirós, Ricardo, and Mário 5). In essence, the motivation, empowerment, hope, and engagement that are created by having fun can be integrated into the learning systems to improve the expected outcomes.

Steps in Gamification
Markedly, not all gamification activities produce the expected results. Therefore, there is the need to comply with the various principles and rules of implementing the process; especially, in the educational setting. Evidently, six main factors must be considered when developing the game dynamics such as the target audience, context, expected learning outcomes, structuring experience, resources, and gamification elements (Alhammad and Ana 133). The first step of developing gamification is investigating and Understanding the Target Audience to uncover essential information about their characteristics and context. Some of the attributes that are assessed include their ages, physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, skills, abilities, and capabilities (Kim et al. 13). Ideally, the purpose of understanding the background of the students is to ensure that the gamification process is tailored based on the characteristics and desires of the targeted students. The context should also be known to explore the learning environment; for example, if the student is learning from home, office, or classroom. Additionally, it helps in understanding the programs, student group sizes, duration, the sequence of learning, and the overall learning environment. With that, the gamification may be customized based on the experiences, abilities, skills, and perceptions of the known students.

The second step is defining the learning objectives. Undoubtedly, every learning process must have pre-determined goals and objectives that the teacher or instruct wants the students to accomplish at the end of the program. Such objectives make the students focus and develop particular strategies on how to plan and achieve the requisitions. Commonly, teachers set learning objectives such as understanding the rubrics of the course, taking assignments, tests, exams, and practical activities amongst others (Caballe and Robert 19). For instance, this study focused on improving managing training among the online-based research in Australian universities and colleges; especially, Sydney. In other cases, the teacher may develop behavioral goals such as enhancing student concentration, minimizing distractions, and empowering students, increasing engagements, and supporting students to take actions. With that, it is apparent that developing gamification should take note of the learning objectives and designed to enhance timely and efficient achievement of the set goals.

The third stage entails structuring of experience. That is, after establishing the learning objectives and program, it is imperative to break down the tasks into different stages and milestones. That is, the learning process should always be done in phases. The objecting of breaking down the work is to ensure that tasks are framed in a manner that is achievable and measurable (Abelein and Barbara 30). Additionally, it allows the instructor and the learner to identify the main obstacles to learning. Unfortunately, many students find it difficult to pass through the stages to complete the learning program because of boredom, fatigue, and lack of motivation. With that, they become less interested and unmotivated to continue. Therefore, gamification can be introduced to enhance transition through the stages because it creates fun and enthusiasm to engage and perform.

After developing the stages of learning, it is necessary to identify resources. With that, it helps is identifying which step should be gamified and how the process can be achieved. Some of the essential resources for gamification include the rules, tracking mechanisms, currency, levels, and feedback. That is, through the measure of time and money, to track the performance of the students. The final stage is the application of the gaming elements. As aforementioned, gamification involves the introduction of addictive game-like elements to the learning process. The goal is to integrate self-elements and social elements, where the former aims at promoting competition within individuals while the latter advocates for developing social fabrics for engagement and competition (Abelein and Barbara 30). Markedly, gamification has various advantages and setbacks in the learning process.

Learning Outcomes (The Big Idea)
Essentially, gamification in e-learning is designed to increase the satisfaction of students and maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of learning. The objective is based on an understanding of the current theories and practices that influence e-learning and education. Theoretically, effective learning is achieved if it is problem-based, situated, active, experiential, and gives immediate feedback (Queirós, Ricardo, and Mário 7). The author added that gamification enhances student engagement, especially on the e-learning platforms. Additionally, it has the potential of facilitating motivation of students even though student experiences are not fully explored. With that, suitable models and frameworks must be applied when designing the gamified learning to tailor the system according to the characteristics of the students. That is, the design process should first understand the expected users and their needs; hence, the elements of gaming can be tailored according to the known requisitions. For instance, most university students develop personal goals and are career oriented because they are informed about the essentiality of education.

As such, the role of gamification is to reinforce the feelings of students and motivate them towards achieving the set goals and objectives. By having unambiguous, clear e-learning objectives and precise guidelines, rules, requirements, and time-frames, the students become motivated and interested in taking and continuing with the course (Tsay et al. 4). Even better, gamification may be used to develop more visual objectives. The author added that gamified learning enhances the adoption of positive feedbacks that encourage students to learn despite the previous failures. However, the process has specific challenges.

Expected challenges
Despite the benefits, gamification sometimes presents particular challenges. For example, gamifying learning may be detrimental if the goals are short-term. The objectives might be achieved within a short timeframe, but if long-term goals are not set, it might lead to future failures and distortion of the e-learning process. Additionally, gamification may not work in some situations because of the differences in contexts. Therefore, the designers must ensure the context is well studied and understood to avoid incompatible gaming mechanisms in learning (Kim et al. 15). Additionally, gamification may be complex; especially, if implemented for patients that do not have appropriate skills or abilities. It might also result in distractions that affect the overall learning outcomes.

Section 2: Storyboarding the Game
This section is done in a PowerPoint document. Overall, the game is integrated, but unrelated to the learning contents. Markedly, the learners are challenged based on real-life issues to test their proficiencies in management. The game is simplified and has directives to guide the students on how to play. The feedback of the game is provided at the end of the course, which allows students to understand their progress based on management skills (see details on PowerPoint

Social Learning Theory
Theories of learning try to explain how people think in addition to unveiling the factors that influence their behaviors. According to the social learning theory is based on the notion that human behavior is influenced by the interrelationship between behavior, cognitive factors, and environmental influence (Alhammad and Ana 133). That is, the three constructs are always in continuous reciprocal interactions as illustrated in the figure below. First, cognitive factors include personal attributes such as expectations, knowledge, and attitudes. Therefore, when designing the gamified learning, it is imperative to take note of the mentioned factors to understand the needs of students. Additionally, there are behavioral factors such as self-efficacy, practice, and skills that must be considered when interpreting the behaviors of stakeholders of the developed e-learning program (Tan and Khe 11). The environmental factors also play an essential part in determining the context of gamifying the learning program. For instance, social norms, social influences, and access to the community are some of the vital factors to take into account. The implication of the theory is to inform system designers to learn and emulate the behaviors of other people in society. With that, the insights may help in adopting positive behaviors and attitudes towards gamified e-learning.

Gamification is used in the learning context because of the fun and enthusiasm it creates. The study focused on the essence of introducing gamification into the e-learning of Australian higher education. The main findings show that gamified learning motivates students in addition to improving efficiency, effectiveness, and engagement. The interactions within the non-game academic content also reduce boredom and fatigue. Nonetheless, the study shows that specific measures must be taken when conducting gamification. For instance, it is imperative to understand the target audience, context, learning objectives, structure experience, and the required resources. Nonetheless, gamification is faced with some challenges such as complexity, incompatibility, and lack of long-term goals. The study also designs gamification that can be used among the students to improve their management skills. In summation, gamification is a new trend to learning that has vast potentials in the future.

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Works Cited
Abelein, Ulrike, and Barbara Paech. “Understanding the Influence of User Participation and Involvement on System Success – A Systematic Mapping Study.” Empirical Software Engineering 20.1 (2013): 28-81.
Alhammad, Manal M., and Ana M. Moreno. “Gamification in Software Engineering Education: A Systematic Mapping.” Journal of Systems and Software 141 (2018): 131-150. Print.
Caballe, Santi, and Robert Clarisó. Formative Assessment, Learning Data Analytics and Gamification: In Ict Education. , 2016.
Kim, Sangkyun, Kibong Song, Barbara Lockee, and John Burton. Gamification in Learning and Education: Enjoy Learning Like Gaming. , 2018.
Queirós, Ricardo A. P, and Mário T. Pinto. Gamification-based E-Learning Strategies for Computer Programming Education. Hershey: IGI Global, 2017.
Reinhardt, Jonathon, and Julie Sykes. “Special issue commentary: Digital game and play activity in L2 teaching and learning.” Language Learning & Technology 18.2 (2014): 2-8.
Santhanam, Radhika, De Liu, and Wei-Cheng Milton Shen. “Research Note—Gamification of technology-mediated training: Not all competitions are the same.” Information systems research 27.2 (2016): 453-465.
Tan, Meng, and Khe Foon Hew. “Incorporating Meaningful Gamification in A Blended Learning Research Methods Class: Examining Student Learning, Engagement, And Affective Outcomes.” Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (2016): n. pag.
Tsay, Crystal Han-Huei, Alexander Kofinas, and Jing Luo. “Enhancing Student Learning Experience with Technology-Mediated Gamification: An Empirical Study.” Computers & Education 121 (2018): 1-17.
Urh, Marko, Goran Vukovic, and Eva Jereb. “The model for introduction of gamification into e-learning in higher education.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 197 (2015): 388-397.

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