RAISING ENGAGEMENT THROUGH GAMIFICATION IN AN E-LEARNING COMMUNITY
Besides the traditional forms of learning and education, new forms of education are available: the online education, education at work, lifelong learning, the collaborative education, the competences-oriented education. These modern forms of education require the implementation of new learning paradigms: situated cognition, student-centered learning, distributed cognition, everyday cognition, constructivism, communities of practice. A special type of communities of practice is the learning community, which is defined as a group of people engaged in intellectual interactions for the purpose of learning. Due to the expansion of internet, most learning communities arise and exist online. The essence of a community is the collaboration between its members: for achieving collaboration in e-learning communities, the interactions based on the social presence are essential. Furthermore, collaboration has been proven to have positive effects on knowledge retention rate and learning efficiency. Collaboration can be fostered through forums, chats, wikis, social networks, gamification strategies and so on.
The current paper presents the EFILS platform for creating and e-learning community, in which its members are stimulated to participate via gamification methods. The members upload educational resources, which are stocked in a collaborative repository. They are encouraged to download and read as many resources as possible, through continuous ranking of their online activity. Basically, the members are given the possibility to show off their results in front of their colleagues, thus stimulating their desire of consulting learning materials. The rationale to develop the platform is based on a survey which is also presented in the article. Besides that, the authors present: the Java technologies used to implement the platform concepts, the architecture, the functionalities, the gamification process embedded in the functionalities, a typical learning scenario and the testing results so far. EFILS is designed for lifelong learning and was tested with the students of Faculty of Engineering in Foreign Languages, from the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest: encouraging results were obtained. The educational product is described in the context of gamification implemented in education.
The work has been funded by the Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2007-2013 of the Ministry of European Funds through the Financial Agreement POSDRU/159/1.5/S/132397.