Increasing student engagement in existing online learning experiences through incorporation of a Gamified framework
Online learning presents challenges of student engagement, disconnection, opportunity for building relationships, and misalignment of traditional educational models with emerging needs of 21st Century learners. This paper addresses these issues by exploring the Critical Challenge Question, “How can teachers disrupt the traditional educational paradigm and increase student engagement by incorporating a gamification construct to enhance existing online learning experiences?” Based on a review of current research, a two-part applied design Major Project has been developed. First is an informational website for educators looking for practical support and tips for exploring the use of gamification in their teaching practice called Pedagogy: Level up! Second is a sample Gamified English 12 course website that functions in cooperation with Moodle as a Learning Management System and M.S. Office 365 as the means of communicating student learning and provision of a collaborative learning affinity space. Survey feedback validated the success of the two project websites, and suggested that the goals of both sites would be achieved, with suggestions from this feedback integrated into revised versions of both deliverables. Project limitations include learner preferences, student access to infrastructure and technology, as well as limited scope of target audience (high school educators/English 12 students). Future research and development is needed to expand use of these tools for a wider audience, especially younger students and students learning in different content areas.