About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3790-3794
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1822

Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain

LEARNING WITH SHERLOCK: GAMIFICATION TO ENHANCE THE ACQUISITION AND DEVELOPMENT OF ACADEMIC SKILLS IN BIOMEDICAL EDUCATION IN CHINA

E. Pritchard

Queen Mary University of London (UNITED KINGDOM)
The context of the project is a UK-China Joint Programme in Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Medicine, a partnership between the research-intensive Queen Mary University of London (hereafter ‘QMUL’), and Nanchang University (‘NCU’) in Jiangxi Province, China. The Joint Programme (hereafter ‘JP’) was launched in 2013/14. The structure of the JP is that students follow the two complementary study programmes in parallel and, if successful, receive two degrees at the end.

The QMUL Biomedical programme is delivered entirely by UK-based academics employed by QMUL in London, who are flown in to deliver teaching on a block basis. Students follow a standard diet of modules for their Biomedical Sciences degree, with the addition of a ‘Personal Development Planning and Study Skills’ module (hereafter ‘PDP’) in each of the three years of their UK study-programme. This bespoke module supports JP students in the acquisition and development of academic skills necessary to succeed on the UK degree programme and beyond.

All QMUL lecturers face a core of challenges in designing the content and delivery of their modules:
1) the block-teaching system;
2) how to deliver substantive and meaningful content which demonstrates the ‘UK teaching style’, when the large cohorts of 250 students push teaching design towards a traditional lecture model;
3) the considerable variation in the standard of English among the students, ranging from basic to near fluency.

In addition to these shared challenges, PDP teachers also face the additional challenge of competing for students’ extremely limited time for personal study and assignments, in a learning environment which prioritises the acquisition of ‘hard’ scientific knowledge against learning seen as ‘soft’.

This presentation explores the pilot use of team-working and ‘gamification’ to:
1) increase general between-visit student engagement and productivity;
2) counter a previously-identified drop in student engagement in Year 3;
3) give additional incentives to students to work on non-credit bearing learning tasks.

The design of the study-programme was rooted in ten years’ experience of delivering PDP in China, across two disciplines and to cohorts of up to 600. An ethnographic approach was used to identify student motivations for learning and learning preferences ¬some of which ran counter to the routine analyses of Chinese student practices reported in the literature ¬and also to identify existing social and academic structures which could be engaged to support learning.

In the academic year 2016/17, this ‘gamified’ approach was used to an entirely distance learning delivery was piloted with the third-year PDP module, using a combination of technologies (recorded lectures, a Moodle-based VLE and timetabled tutorials in QQ, a Chinese social media platform). Content about working with a case study and scientific report writing skills was gamified using a tailor-written Sherlock Holmes adventure. Each week students receive a lecture, and individual and / or group tasks. They compete against one another as individuals and in small groups, and the results are available to all cohort members through the VLE. Although this remains work in progress, preliminary observations and coursework results show a much higher level and significantly better quality of student engagement than would previously have been expected.
@InProceedings{PRITCHARD2017LEA,
author = {Pritchard, E.},
title = {LEARNING WITH SHERLOCK: GAMIFICATION TO ENHANCE THE ACQUISITION AND DEVELOPMENT OF ACADEMIC SKILLS IN BIOMEDICAL EDUCATION IN CHINA},
series = {9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN17 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-3777-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2017.1822},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.1822},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {3-5 July, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {3790-3794}}
TY - CONF
AU - E. Pritchard
TI - LEARNING WITH SHERLOCK: GAMIFICATION TO ENHANCE THE ACQUISITION AND DEVELOPMENT OF ACADEMIC SKILLS IN BIOMEDICAL EDUCATION IN CHINA
SN - 978-84-697-3777-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2017.1822
PY - 2017
Y1 - 3-5 July, 2017
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN17 Proceedings
SP - 3790
EP - 3794
ER -
E. Pritchard (2017) LEARNING WITH SHERLOCK: GAMIFICATION TO ENHANCE THE ACQUISITION AND DEVELOPMENT OF ACADEMIC SKILLS IN BIOMEDICAL EDUCATION IN CHINA, EDULEARN17 Proceedings, pp. 3790-3794.
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