University of Minho (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2019 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 2704-2710
ISBN: 978-84-09-14755-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2019.0702
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Today nobody is surprised by the effect that computer games have on the younger population. It is remarkable how some of these games attract young people, from the most diverse social strata, with very different levels of schooling. However, when we analyse the reason for this attraction, we noticed that many of these programs exploit very effectively, often in a very subtle way, the competitive spirit of the people, applying some of the most vulgar and effective gamification techniques. Obviously, the innate characteristics of the game itself, its thematic, type and dynamics of the game, graphic elements or animation techniques, are primarily responsible for such attraction.

Gamification has been used very explicitly in many other areas besides games such as health, economics, management or politics. The reason for the use of gamification is the subject of some discussion. However, in general, we agree that this is a very smart way to promote products or services, while allowing also in many cases the promotion of positive lifestyles. In spite of such benefits, we do not find many cases of application of gamification techniques in educational systems, in general, nor in specific educational programs, in particular. We believe that the integration of gamification techniques into educational programs can motivate students in their learning process and participation in school actions. Experience with the use of some educational programs, as well as the direct observation of their use by students, allows us to say that a significant part of the available educational software does not captivate the students nor guarantee its use in a continuous way, even when present very interesting functionalities and useful and valid contents for the studying areas. Such circumstances do not contribute positively to the evolution of students throughout their learning periods. It is important to understand how gamification can properly play its role in educational systems. The various gamification techniques that are now being used in a number of successful applications - e.g. collecting, defining characters, and setting up cooperative and competitive settings, awarding prizes, or implementing performance levels - may not have the same impact on education software. In this paper we approach this problem, analysing several gamification techniques that can be used in knowledge evaluation systems, adapting, where possible, in particular, to the nature of the evaluation processes implemented in a given learning domain, and evaluating their application in terms of the incentive and involvement of students in these processes. For the “proof of using gamification”, we used a pilot education system as application support, which was especially designed for the evaluation of students' knowledge, in a basic discipline of their studying plan. Finally, we will present our results, commenting the acquired knowledge about the role that gamification can play in educational systems and in what circumstances it may actually contribute to the improvement of students' knowledge assessment process.
Educational Environments, Teaching Support Systems, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Evaluation Processes Customization, Knowledge Assessment, Gamification.