APPLYING GAMIFICATION MECHANICS IN AN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION SPOC
Open University of Cyprus (CYPRUS)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:In this paper we present our work for applying gamification mechanics for an environmental Education Small Private Online Course (SPOC) in the framework of the Erasmus+ project titled “Teaching Environmental Awareness with Smart IoT Planters in Learning Spaces”. The TEASPILS project focuses on creating environmental awareness towards plants and greenery, educating young people and their teachers towards ecological learning spaces. The project’s actions will promote and foster awareness of environmental issues in an educational context. The project team designed a SPOC for 30 learners to introduce the project goals and strengthen environmental awareness, build responsibility among students, show connections in the natural sciences, and improve the social and indoor climate through plants in classrooms. The SPOC is delivered in 5 online sessions of 2 hours each and a final session in physical presence. These sessions cover a range of topics such as Planters, the connection of plants with Humans and society in general actions research, and sensors and visualization technology. The SPOC is delivered using the Moodle Learning Management System and includes multimodal content and activities. In particular, the course includes content in the form of video presentations, reading material, links to relevant websites, discussion forums for learners to introduce themselves and promote collaboration on topics related to the project. Moreover, the course introduces a self-evaluation quiz for each session and activities, such as to prepare a learning scenario for a plant education course.
A practice that finds increasing usage in the educational domain is Gamification, which refers to the application of game design elements in non-game contexts (e.g., classroom, training, marketing, fitness apps). Gamification is used to engage and motivate users, provide the element of fun, challenge, competition, and provide meaningful feedback to learners. To increase participation and engagement for the SPOC, we proposed certain gamification mechanics, including badges, leaderboards, a level up system and certificates which were implemented and fully integrated in the LMS and applied in the specific group of learners. We present these gamification elements and how these are applied in the aforementioned SPOC. A badge system is incorporated in the course and connected to the self-evaluation quizzes and collaboration activities. In addition, a number of badges are designed in that context and manually assigned to learners when they complete a certain task. Since the group of learners is diverse, we also proposed other gamification mechanics to accommodate the needs of different types of learners, such as leaderboards which are more suitable for learners who are antagonistic.
Our work also includes statistics on how the learners interacted with the course and a mapping of our learners with the corresponding player type, based on Marczewki’s user type hexad, which is used to identify proper gamification mechanics for each user type. To conclude, we also provide pointers to our future work for designing a gamification approach for the different activities and components of the TEASPILS project.
Keywords: Gamification, IoT, Environmental Education.