1 Hasso Plattner Institute (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 2045-2054
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
High dropout rates and poor user participation are some of the major challenges for xMOOC Platforms.

Gamification is one of the mechanisms that recently has been successfully employed in other contexts to raise user motivation.

openHPI, similar to other xMOOC platforms, also faces these problems. Various methods to gamify the platform have already been investigated in earlier research efforts, most of these currently are in different phases of implementation: productive, experimental, development. Classic gamification elements such as e.g. leaderboards can be raise the motivation of certain users, particularly if they are successful and find themselves in the upper range of the participants. In the same way however they can be demotivating to other users that find themselves in the lower range of the participants. Either because they are less successful, or because they joined the platform at a later point of time and have no way to make up for points that participants who joined the platform at an earlier point of time have already earned.

One way to overcome this issue is the application of relative leaderboards. Relative leaderboards can be either based on a certain range of points. Only those peers that are within the same range of points are shown to the participant. Another approach that is very promising is to show only those peers that have a social connection to the participant. A social graph is required to enable this functionality.

The paper at hand focusses on this aspect of social gamification, which of course is not limited to the scenario that has been outlined above. Other use cases that require a social graph are e.g. messages that are notifying participants of recent actions of their social connections.

The usage of social graph is also not restricted to the area of gamification. It can also be employed to raise the motivation of users to join collaborative efforts. The necessity to raise this motivation has been shown in a previous research effort by our group. The paper at hand will give more insight to the practical implementation of this thread of research.
MOOC, Social Graph, Gamification, Collaboration.