Gamification of Formative Feedback in Language Arts and Mathematics Classrooms: Application of the Learning Error and Formative Feedback (LEAFF) Model

Gamification of Formative Feedback in Language Arts and Mathematics Classrooms: Application of the Learning Error and Formative Feedback (LEAFF) Model

Man-Wai Chu, Teresa Anne Fowler
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2020010101
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The use of computer games in education has been increasing in popularity during the past decade. Game-based learning environments are designed to teach specific knowledge content and skill-based learning outcomes using game elements. One main reason for using game-based learning environments is to increase student motivation and engagement while teaching learning outcomes. Many of the game-based learning environments are designed so that students will reach maximum flow, which is defined as students being so completely immersed in that game that they do not notice that they are learning. These learning environments have been shown to improve many behaviour and cognitive learning outcomes. While game-based learning has many benefits, some educational researchers have indicated that it is often very costly to develop a complex game-based assessment to teach a few learning outcomes. Hence, in some cases it is more beneficial to approach the use of computer games in education using gamification.
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Gamification is designed to use game-based elements to teach students specific learning outcomes (Dicheva, Dichev, Agre, & Angelova, 2015; Mora, Riera, Gonzalez, & Arnedo-Moreno, 2017). A review of the gamification literature highlighted some of the most common game-based elements used in education: points, levels/stages, badges, leaderboards, prizes/rewards, progress bars, storylines, and feedback (Brull & Finlayson, 2016; Nah, Zeng, Telaprolu, Ayyappa, & Eschenbrenner, 2014). Gamification allows educators to integrate a few or many of these game-based elements into a learning environment. Similar to game-based environments, gamification aims to increase student motivation and engagement during their learning by providing challenging goals (Faiella & Ricciardi, 2015). However, these two approaches differ on their foundations: game-based learning uses the game environment to teach specific learner outcomes, while gamification focuses on using game-based elements in an education context (Nah et al., 2014; Oritz, Chiluiza, & Valcke, 2016). Similar to game-based learning, many studies have indicated that gamification increased students’ affect and cognition (Dicheva et al. 2015; Mora et al., 2017).

There are many gamification frameworks that are used to implement game-based elements into various learning contexts (Mora et al., 2017). A systemic review of over 2000 gamification publications revealed that the Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics (MDA) framework is one of the more popular frameworks that is used (Hunicke et al., 2004). The MDA framework is a formal structuralist approach that bridges the complexities of game development, player criticism, and design research by breaking down games into three components: mechanics (i.e., rules), dynamics (i.e., system), and aesthetics (i.e., affective response; Hunicke et al., 2004). Many gamification frameworks, such as the MDA, focus on developing an immersive and interactive learning environment which takes into account all the different and inter-related game components together to form one system. The focus here is on one gamified system which is designed with student needs at the forefront (Deterding, Sicart, Nacke, O'Hara, & Dixon, 2011). These gamified systems focus on the holistic picture of gamification which provide students with meaningful choices in the pursuit of interesting challenges instead of the mundane game elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards (Deterding, 2012).

While some gamification scholars have indicated the importance of designing the entire learning environment as one holistic system, others have taken a more compartmentalized approach by integrating a few game-based elements into a learning environment at one time (Mora et al., 2017). While the frameworks that are identified in the literature do not indicate a specific number of game-based elements that should be integrated into a learning environment (Mora et al., 2017), most gamification studies often use two or more elements at the same time to improve students’ learning (Dicheva et al., 2015). Although many of the studies that integrated multiple elements into the learning environment produced the desired result of increased understanding of learning outcomes (Abramovich, Schunn, & Higashi, 2013; Morrison & DeSalvo, 2014), a review of these studies indicated a need to investigate each game-based element individually to better understand how each of these elements impacts education (Faiella & Ricciardi, 2015). As such, this study aims to investigate only one game-based element – gamification of formative feedback – on student learning in the classroom.

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