The Gamification of Learning Outcomes


Student motivation is an issue of concern for ESL/EFL instructors, and students are motivated by games. The emerging methodology of gamification takes both facts into account. Classroom gamification methods leverage the motivational aspects of games without necessarily requiring student participation in traditional games. By adding gamification methods to outcomes tracking in Desire2Learn, the presenters attempted to increase learner motivation by allowing students to track their own outcomes online.

Gamification methods include goals, feedback, leveling and rules (Kapp 2012 and McGonigal 2011). Using Desire2Learn and a class website, the presenters have created a comprehensive system for outcomes tracking. The system links each class activity to specific learner outcomes [goals], which are well-defined to ensure the benefits of gamification (Hays 2005). Students track their progress toward a given outcome online to see which activities must be completed to fulfill outcome requirements [feedback], and new outcomes become available upon fulfillment [leveling]. Because activities are tracked by D2L, instructors set point thresholds for satisfactory activity completion [rules]. Gamification is closely linked with theories of intrinsic motivation (Kapp 2012 and McGonigal 2011). Intrinsically rewarding work requires a clear goal, actionable next steps and immediate feedback (McGonigal 2011), all of which are provided by the gamified tracking system. Agency and collaboration are also key factors in intrinsic motivation (Lepper and Malone 1988), so students are given the opportunity to choose which activities to complete in fulfillment of outcomes and can collaborate on certain activities.

This presentation provides gamification methods and techniques that can be employed in Reading, Writing, Structure and Listening-Speaking courses, across multiple levels of language. Attendees will participate in a gamified activity to experience the motivational hook of gamification. Quantitative and qualitative results from student feedback and detailed implementation procedures for using gamification in different classroom settings are also provided.