Application of Gamification to Blended Learning in Higher Education

Application of Gamification to Blended Learning in Higher Education

Kamini Jaipal-Jamani (Brock University, Canada) and Candace Figg (Brock University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7601-3.ch005
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Digital game-based learning (DGBL) has been identified as an effective digital teaching strategy to foster 21st century learning. The inclusion of digital game-based learning in instruction is challenging for educators to structure in higher education learning environments, often because of the lack of coherence with curriculum. Gamification is a recent DGBL strategy that enables the instructor to incorporate the motivational and engagement elements of games in ways that can be adapted to curriculum requirements. Gamification, supported with digital technologies such as web-based tools and learning management systems, offers the instructor the benefits of both face-to-face traditional instruction and online learning. An example of how blended learning in higher education incorporates gamification is presented. Study findings indicate that the blended gamified learning environment motivated learners and promoted cognitive, skill, and attitude development.
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Digital games have been identified as a teaching strategy that goes beyond conventional notions of pedagogy to create learning environments that feel “new, meaningful, and 21st century” (Johnson, Adams, Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2015, p. 34). The motivational aspects of games make them highly applicable in higher education to foster student engagement in learning (Connolly, E.A. Boyle, MacArthur, Hainey, & J.M. Boyle, 2012). However, a recent review shows that digital games are not being utilised to their potential in educational settings (Boyle et al., 2016). Research shows that the inclusion of digital game-based learning (DGBL) is often challenging for educators to implement in formal education learning environments (Faria & Wellington, 2004; Ritzhaupt, Gunter, & Jones, 2010; Van Eck, 2015). This chapter proposes the use of gamification in a blended learning environment as a low-risk strategy to promote more widespread use of DGBL in higher education courses. While gamification is an emerging strategy with many definitions associated with it, there is consensus that it involves “the integration of game elements, mechanics, and frameworks into non-game situations and scenarios” (Johnson, Adams, Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2013, p. 20). In this chapter, the relevant literature on blended learning, gaming, and gamification are reviewed, and an empirical case is presented, to illustrate the application of gamification to blended learning in higher education. The design and implementation of a gamified blended course are discussed and future research directions are proposed.

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