University Grenoble Alpes, IUT2 (FRANCE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 3650-3658
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Our context is the teaching of information systems at the license level of a technical institute.

Information systems gather together management and informatics techniques to efficiently identify, store and share information inside a company. They thus require technical knowledge as well managerial one. In this context, an important part of the teaching concerns modeling of data that will be manipulated by the system and projects management for building information systems.

License students often feel that these concepts are very difficult to learn because they require dealing with abstract concepts such as models and resources management. To facilitate learning and improving students’ results, we investigated the Elaboration phase of the BSCS 5E Instructional Model as well as the Concrete Experience stage of Kolb experiential learning cycle and we experimented gamification in some of our teaching activities. In this case study, the main objective was to increase students’ engagement in learning by adapting games which already promote collaboration and emulation. Contrary to several existing experiments, we chose to use traditional games well known by our students. We did not use computer games because our students are already highly involved in activities with computers for their technical training: in this perspective, computers are professional tools and not supporting tools. We guessed that they need alternative ways to access information.

This paper will present four case studies in gamification for information systems teaching. It will detail the methods used, in particular the gamification elements:
• One of them is related to the learning of data modeling. It relies on a personalized version of the Pictionary, a game originally promoting speed and collaboration, as a team has to identify the word drawn by a teammate within a minute, sometimes challenging other teams.

The gamification elements we used here are:
1) small challenges with time-pressure and competition so as to progress and arrive first at the end of the game and
2) a reward i.e. a packet of sweets for the winners.

This game is used in the application phase of learning for checking whether students have acquired some automatic reflex in modeling.
• Three case studies concern project management. Two of them used Legos as a mean to practice for knowledge acquisition. Legos are used for introducing development life cycle, and resources management for estimating charges and risks inside projects. They are used for building a city in a limited period of time; at the end, the "nicest" city wins. In the same manner, Poker game is used for helping understanding resources management. In all these case studies, the gamification elements are groups’ challenges.

These case studies clearly show the usefulness of gamification in learning. Students enjoy this way of practicing, they are more engaged in learning and they interact more with the teacher even after the game. However these benefits rely on the students‘ willingness. By experimenting games with students of different ages, we noticed that mature people are less prone to play for learning.

Anyway students are now able to understand and manipulate the abstract concepts involved in games. Playing and working as a team led them to share knowledge.
Technical institute, information systems, games, engagement.