To motivate students and develop a desire to see their points rise, I need a visual. This is called a leaderboard in the world of video games. Back when I was doing my graduate work, I witnessed how the leaderboard motivated me. As I said before, gaming wasn’t my thing. And the quests and the things we did to “pass” were out of my comfort zone. However, I finished the class with the second to highest XP. Why? Because I was motivated. I liked seeing my avatar in the lead.
One of the principles I learned about games which carries directly to teaching, is that everything has to be in the ZONE, Lev Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD). Well, I am not sure game designers think of Vygotsky’s research when they create games. But think about it, each level gets more challenging, gives enough lives to make it interesting but not too hard or too easy. In this graduate class, Dr. Chris Haskell created a variety of quests. Some were required, but most were optional. You just had to choose enough quests to reach your “grade” goal. There were enough quests that were carefully scaffolded and in my Zone that I was able to learn a significant amount about gamification, while accumulating points (XP). Just as the gamification research shows, students (even unskilled students like me) can be motivated by competition and seeing their XP stack.
In working on this project, I am revisiting some of the articles and post I wrote during my graduate work. As I review the materials on gamification, what I am attempting to do this semester is not true gamification, but it is a start. So to build a leaderboard, I did what everyone does, look for free resources on the web. Alice Keeler has some fantastic resources, and I found other people’s posts. But of course, nothing is exactly what I need, so I will have to do some good old fashioned spreadsheet work. If I were building these materials in Adobe Captivate, I would have used the resources created by eLearning Brothers. That will be for my next PD course I write.