A Primer on Gamification Standardization

A Primer on Gamification Standardization

Ricardo Alexandre Peixoto de Queiros (ESMAD, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal), Mário Pinto (ESMAD, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal), Alberto Simões (Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave, Portugal) and Carlos Filipe Portela (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8089-9.ch001
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Abstract

Computer science education has always been a challenging topic for both sides of the trench: educators and learners. Nowadays, with the pandemic state that we are facing, these challenges are even greater, leading educators to look for strategies that promote effective virtual learning. One of such strategies includes the use of game mechanics to improve student engagement and motivation. This design strategy is typically called gamification. Nowadays, gamification is being seen as the solution to solve most of the issues related to demotivation, complexity, or tedious tasks. In the latest years, we saw thousands of educational applications being created with gamification in mind. Nevertheless, this has been an unsustainable growth with ad hoc designs and implementations of educational gamified applications, hampering interoperability and the reuse of good practices. This chapter presents a systematic study on gamification standardization aiming to characterize the status of the field, namely describing existing frameworks, languages, services, and platforms.
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Gamification Frameworks

A framework can be defined as a conceptual structure which acts as an abstract (or concrete) guide for the building of a software product. In the field of game/gamification design there are no consensus on the use of frameworks. In fact, (Crawford, 1984) states that game design is an activity too complex to be reducible to a formal procedure. Other authors (Julius & Salo, 2013) conclude that it should be treated as an agile process which does not always follow a specific design framework.

Despite the existence of dozens of frameworks worldwide, several researchers (Seaborn & Fels, 2015) and (Hamari, Koivisto & Sarsa, 2014) claim that gamification as an academic topic is still young and only a few well-established frameworks can be useful. To achieve a more empirical study, a literature review was conducted, between 8 and 15 of December of 2020, based on works indexed in three databases, namely, Google Scholar, SCOPUS, and Web of Knowledge. In this review, the search keywords were gamification, game, design, framework, and models.

The study identified 52 articles which either present or refer a gamification framework. From those articles, 12 frameworks were obtained. Despite the high number of frameworks identified, 5 frameworks were referred more than 75\% of the total of articles. These five frameworks will be compared in the next subsections. The Octalysis framework (Figure1) was created by (Choy, 2015) recognized that there are eight different types of core drive that motivates people to perform any activity. Visually, the framework has an octagonal shape where the core drives are represented in each corner.

Figure 1.

Octalysis Gamification Framework

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Key Terms in this Chapter

Gamification: Application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts.

Modeling Language: Is any language which can be used to express information or knowledge or systems in a structure that is defined by a consistent set of rules used for interpretation of the meaning of components in the structure.

Application Programming Interface: Is an interface that defines interactions between multiple software applications or mixed hardware-software intermediaries.

Learning Standards: Are elements of declarative, procedural, schematic, and strategic knowledge that, as a body, define the specific content of an educational program.

Interoperability: Is a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions.

Domain-Specific Language: Is a computer language specialized to a particular application domain. This contrasts with a general-purpose language (GPL), which is broadly applicable across domains.

Backend as a Service: Is a platform that automates backend side development and takes care of the cloud infrastructure.

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