Using Gamification in Open and Distance Learning: Management of Learning and Human Resources

Using Gamification in Open and Distance Learning: Management of Learning and Human Resources

Serap Uğur (Anadolu University, Turkey) and Yusuf Levent Şahin (Anadolu University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 30
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2645-2.ch012
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Many researchers have given priority to the stimulation feature of the games. This concept can be stated to be not only as old as human history but also one of the trend activities. Therefore, many researchers have recently concentrated their attention on the term “gamification”. This term, which includes using the stimulating components of the games out of the game context, has provided items like badges, grading/scoring systems and leadership tables in the work and learning processes. Mostly, it increases stimulation level in the work and learning processes. When the important potential of gamification has been noticed, the number of gamification-integrated applications has rapidly increased in both work and learning processes of individuals from various age groups. In this regard, this paper aims to review the literature in order to find out how and where gamification could be used in the management processes of open and distance learning systems.
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Educational computer games and gamification have become prominent as the elements that are widely used in marketing, social platforms and almost in every aspect of the life today. Understanding the difference between applications made through computer games, and gamification applications; it is important for the organizations to be able to accurately determine to use which one of these according to their needs. At this point, it is necessary to define the differences between gamification and computer game applications and to reveal their distinguishing characteristics.

The game concept can be briefly described as a complex system in which the player performs a series of rule-based tasks (Dominguez, et al. 2013). According to Gee (2004), these tasks should be designed as loops which help gaining experiences. The tasks to be experienced should be in small pieces and the player should know what he/she is going to encounter after each task, and the emotional needs of the player should be met with items such as trophies, badges, and points. The player's concerns about his/her success should be kept under control, and the order of the tasks should be adjusted according to the skills of the player (Dominguez, et al. 2013).

The game is the sum of the activities reflecting the social lives of the individuals. The javelin, for example, is an adult war game played by Turks for ages (Cited by Yıldırım & Demir, 2014: from Güleç, 1996). Today, there are games played offline or online on a computer. Despite the fact that the general purpose of the computer games is entertainment like in the game javelin, the teaching aspect of the online games should not be disregarded. Adults have been spending their time as much as children to play the games that offer the opportunity to develop oneself in an entertaining way (Yıldırım & Demir, 2014).

Based on above arguments it can be proposed that the games are regarded as a tool that can be used in the field of education, following their commercial performances (Mayer, Schustack, & Blanton, 1999). Garris, Ahlers, and Driskell (2002) identified the reasons for the use of computer games in education and training as follows:

  • Enabling traditional teaching-centered learning activities to turn into a learner centered structure, in which the learners are active,

  • The sources in the literature that reveal the positive results of the studies on the computer games’ as an effective tool in learning the complex subjects,

  • Increasing the motivation of the learners.

Although the game concept has been used for centuries, gamification is a new concept that refers to the use of video game components in the non-gaming environments in order to enhance the user experience and to connect the user to the environment (Bozkurt & Kumtepe, 2014; Deterding, Dixon, Khaled, & Nacke, 2011). The components that are used can be identified as the awards and reputation systems, which include participation points, badges, levels and leaderboards (Deterding, Sicart, Nacke, O'Hara, & Dixon, 2011). According to Zichermann and Linder (2010), gamification is the process and mechanics of game thought to communicate with the audience and solve problems.

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