THE USE OF GAMIFICATION TO FACILITATE LEARNING OF MULTIMEDIA SUBJECTS IN UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION STUDENTS
“Education has seen more innovation in its methods, practices, tools and philosophies in the past 10 to 15 years than in the 100 years before that” (The Age, 2014, par. 1). Educational institutions, at various levels, have applied innovative teaching and learning strategies with different results (High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education, 2013). Gamification is an initiative of this sort which “has gained a lot of interest in the last years” (Martens & Müller, 2016, p. 910).
Although there is not a consensus on the definition of Gamification, for this work, we consider the holistic explanation of Martens and Müller (2016), based on the idea that it uses game design principles such as game design elements, game mechanics, and game thinking.
About learning, the study of Rai and Beck (2012) and the study of Jackson and McNamara (2013) informs that using game elements can engage and motivate learners. Nevertheless, this evidence is weak due to little empirical research and to the different generation of results presented in some studies (Martens & Müller, 2016).
In this sense, this paper questions the learning relevance of Gamification, especially in a context of education students in Mexico. It describes the experiences of 144 college students, at Escuela de Pedagogía (School of Pedagogy), Universidad Panamericana, campus Ciudad de México who had taken a full-semester multimedia workshop with game design principles. The purpose of the study was to better understand their learning experiences of taking a class with such a methodology.
The objective of this course is that students learn to use technology and multimedia tools and apply them to educational contexts, such as videos, podcasts, infographics, websites and webinars. For this reason, a platform called Classcraft was implemented throughout the course, using Gamification elements to generate interest, empathy and class engagement.
Through storytelling, students made teams to complete different challenges, developing multimedia materials. Depending on results, each team gained experience points on the Classcraft platform. Different game tools were implemented throughout the course, such as Kahoot, Flip Quiz, and Cranium. At the end of the semester, the team with more points got better grades. These strategies motivated the performance of most groups since students wanted to have higher qualifications, making possible to create a safe environment for test and error, interaction, feedback, and practice.
The inquiry followed a qualitative approach. Participants of the study include 144 students that took the workshop in three different sections between June 2015 and December 2016. As proposed in Merriam and Tisdell (2016), data was gathered through 6 focus groups, the students’ responses were transcribed, coded into units of data, organized and labeled into categories, to make meaning of their learning experiences.
Within the main findings, there was more interest and involvement on class subjects, aiming to learn about technological and multimedia resources. Likewise, for many of these students, taking a Gamification methodology-based workshop was an innovative experience, as they learned to use and create multimedia resources through practice. For some students, working by teams was challenging due to requirements of adaptation and organization. We also found that the implementation of a Gamification methodology has complex processes for learning.