Gamification guidelines can turn classroom quizzes into highly engaging and rewarding activities

The concept of gamification is gaining more and more popularity: tourists traveling frequently abroad earn loyalty points with their preferred airline; customers who buy clothes from their favorite fashion store accumulate loyalty points.

Both of these examples involve gamification: the inclusion of gaming features (points) to increase the chances of getting the desired outcome (a future purchase). Although gamification has been widely used by marketers to attract customers, it finds limited applications in academia.

A team of researchers from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) have now formulated gamification guidelines that can turn classroom quizzes into highly engaging and rewarding activities. According to Dr. Mohd Nor Akmal Khalid, Assistant Professor, JAIST, and lead author of the study, “The challenges in education have been continuously addressed by incorporating gamification, but there remains a gap in game design principles. that support user engagement ”.

The research team integrated “Kahoot! “; a game-based learning platform used as a technological tool in educational institutions; in the design of their study. Drawing inspiration from physics, the researchers identified play equivalents for various measurable quantities such as speed, acceleration, and time – an application of the “concept of movement in the mind.” For example, “thrill” has been defined as the game equivalent of gravitational acceleration and “puzzle solving rate” has been defined as the game equivalent of speed.

Next, the team enrolled 120 Thai elementary school students in the 7-12 age group and included both qualitative (data based on student interviews) and quantitative (data obtained from quizzes) methodologies. gamified multiple choice) in the experimental study. Multiple gamification strategies have been adopted. For example, scores were given not only for the correct answers, but also for the speed with which each participant arrived at the correct answer. The difficulty level was also changed incrementally or randomly during a subsection of the study. Ten participants were randomly selected and invited to share personalized comments (eg, overall experience, views and opinions) on the study being conducted.

The results of their study, published in the journal Heliyon, were quite promising. For example, adding a score-based incentive to quickly arrive at the correct answer led to relatively higher learning gains. In other words, the pressure of time resulted in higher engagement and motivation. When the level of difficulty increased, the students preferred to either stay in their comfort zone or increase their effort.

Notably, when the difficulty level was random, it caused an increase in uncertainty and therefore increased the thrill factor, or the game equivalent of “gravitational acceleration”. According to the researchers, participants who attempted to tackle difficult questions also amplified their learning skills in the process, in accordance with flow theory. The team also noticed an interesting trend: When the challenge level exceeded a certain threshold, students felt relatively disengaged.

When asked, most of the students said they were more involved in the fun quizzes and felt that they were challenged. In this context, Dr Khalid assumes that “the best conditioning for learning occurs when well-designed game elements and mechanics are incorporated. The game elements in this study potentially encouraged students to modify their behavior based on the difficulty of the quiz. “

From this study, we conclude that gamification effort empirically increases engagement and emergence behavior and our results also show that gamified quizzes improve classroom activity.

Punyawee Anunpattana, first author of the study and PhD student, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

The authors recommend more such studies for the implementation of gamified classroom quizzes using other designs and elements of gamification to further refine the learning process of students. After all, learning, like all human activities, has the most impact when it’s fun!


Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Journal reference:

Anunpattana, P., et al. (2021) Capture the potential impact of challenge-based gamification on classroom gamified quizzes. Heliyon.

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