August 24 2015

Games and Gamification in Moodle

Written by Lambda Solutions

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Gamification in Moodle is one of the most effective ways to engage and motivate learners, by using game mechanics and games. Let us quickly clarify the difference between the two. Game mechanics are common gaming tactics used to ignite competition and the desire for learners to ‘win’. Games on the other hand, are the tangible games themselves, such as hangman, or crosswords. The Moodle Games Plugin allows you to utilize glossaries, short answer questions, multiple choice questions, and true/false questions to quiz learners with the following available games:

  • Hangman
  • Crossword
  • Cryptex
  • Millionaire
  • Sudoku
  • The Hidden Picture
  • Snakes and Ladders
  • Book with Questions

Popular gamification mechanics that instructional designers can make use of are:

Points

These are awarded to learners to motivate them throughout courses and activities. They can be used to drive desired behaviours, signify status in a course, and even unlock new learning stages or rewards.

Challenges, Badges & Achievements

These help motivate learners to do more, innovate faster, and work smarter than others. Challenges that are a bit difficult and meaningful for your learners with visible recognition will motivate them to reach higher and work harder.

Leaderboards

These are essentially scoreboards that display progress and ranking of learners to help them gauge their performance against their peers. Rankings motivate learners to excel past their peers in addition to boosting repeat visits. The Moodle gamification plugin, Ranking Block makes this easy to implement by assigning points to activities completed in Moodle. Rankings are then displayed in a scoreboard block

Levels

Levels help learners understand when they have reached a milestone or accomplishment. Many also use levels as an opportunity to provide meaningful feedback, and highlight areas for improvement.

Time-based Activities

Adding artificial time pressures, like countdowns or quizzes, can be used to motivate learners to work faster, as well as teaching them to work better under pressure.

Continual and Immediate Feedback - Games are fun, but losing is not. In order for gamification to be successful, learners have to want to play the games, meaning that winning has to seem like a possibility. It is essential that users are given feedback when they lose - this not only helps solidify learning, but it also motivates learners when there is clear direction for improvement.

Stories and Characters

Creating stories and characters around learning challenges will help to immerse learners in your eLearning course - if possible, this is a great tool to use with dry or dull course material.

Freedom to Fail

Giving learners the freedom to fail by giving them multiple lives, second chances, or alternative methods to succeed is an extremely engaging tactic, as it will keep learners motivated to work through a challenge for points or rewards.

 

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