Class Room Gamification


Natalie Denmeade

Project Website

This is a classroom gamification project, designed by Natalie Denmeade, for a Digital Media Class at Taree Campus of North Coast TAFE, NSW Australia in 2015. The students are mainly young boys 17 - 22 with a few mature age students. The aim of this project was to incorporate game elements and 'play' to increase engagement in class activities, improve attendance, and to build resilience required to complete a qualification. The average completion rates for Australian VET (TAFE) courses is 32%. In smaller regional towns this figure drops even lower to 7 - 12%, (as in this Digital Media course 2010 - 2013 statistics). The completion rate went up to 63% following this project, and is still rising. More importantly, the gamification project has created autonomous, resilient and happy learners.

The project aims were to:

  • Develop a Learning community: empower students to mentor and teach

  • Build individual identities through respect and affirmation of skill

  • Cultivate trust

  • Be playful

  • Offer choices and embrace chance

  • Take risks (and make mistakes)

  • Have faith in student potential

  • Incorporate whatever inspires students - draw on contemporary references eg Game of Thrones

  • Share power: learners were involved in negotiating key points.

The course in Digital Media was redesigned to deliver both levels 3 and 4 (and advanced level 4) in the one classroom and to have a team-based holistic approach from all of the teachers involved in delivery. This approach relies on peer-support and collaboration and self-paced learning. Establishing the classroom culture with a new group of students is time-consuming and a very hit and miss affair depending on the dominating personalities in the newly formed group. This roll-over mixed-level approach leaves a core of students who have an established culture for novices to step into. This has created a learning community where 'the energy literally crackles' when you walk in the room.

Many students come in to the room when no classes are scheduled so they can continue to work on their group projects.

The flexible gamification design concept tightly integrates a range of technology in the every day classroom; notably, Google Apps (GAFE) Moodle LMS, Online Portfolios and Badges. It incorporates low-tech and high-tech solutions for data collection and sharing of content. Unlike most eLearning projects, this framework doesn't rely on activities being planned in advance. Rather, the flexible design provides learners with choices where ever possible and is responsive to their skills and preferences.

There is a 45 minute presentation available online which outlines the project and has details of the use of eLearning Technologies: https://plus.google.com/events/c89omaen65i14sltl6721lqnk1g