The effects of gamification on student learning through the use of reputation and rewards within community moderated discussion boards

Smith, Elliot, Herbert, Jeremy, Kavanagh, Lydia and Reidsema, Carl (2013). The effects of gamification on student learning through the use of reputation and rewards within community moderated discussion boards. In: Charles Lemckert, Graham Jenkins and Susan Lang-Lemckert, Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: AAEE2013 Proceedings. AAEE 2013: 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia, (1-9). 8-11 December, 2013.

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Author Smith, Elliot
Herbert, Jeremy
Kavanagh, Lydia
Reidsema, Carl
Title of paper The effects of gamification on student learning through the use of reputation and rewards within community moderated discussion boards
Conference name AAEE 2013: 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Conference location Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
Conference dates 8-11 December, 2013
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education: AAEE2013 Proceedings
Place of Publication Nathan, QLD, Australia
Publisher Griffith School of Engineering, Griffith University
Publication Year 2013
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
ISBN 9780992409906
Editor Charles Lemckert
Graham Jenkins
Susan Lang-Lemckert
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
CONTEXT Gamification, the processes of including competitive elements to an otherwise non-competitive environment, has been shown to improve engagement and user experience in a number of fields (Kapp, 2012) (Deterdin et al. 2011) (Reevs, Read 2009). Engaging students in technical discussion is an important part of the learning experience in highly technical fields such as engineering.
This engagement is arguably most important in the early stages of an engineering degree program when students need to become part of the community of practice and to transition to owning their learning process. ENGG1100 and ENGG1200, two compulsory first year courses at The University of Queensland, have been purposefully designed to support both these objectives and thus offer the perfect platform for gamification. Previously the discussion board on the institutional learning management system was used to provide technical discussion but it was found to be clunky and usage low; Facebook has also been used but whilst usage was high, the content was poor and the news stream effect meant that questions were often repeated. Therefore a discussion board tool, based on those that have found success on the Internet such as Stack Exchange and Reddit, was developed and employed in first year.
An online discussion tool (Casper) has been developed which allows students to post and answer questions related to course content. Actions within the tool reward users for "positive" interactions such as asking questions and providing answers which receive positive votes, and also for marks from teaching staff indicating a question is useful or an answer as correct or helpful. Similarly students lose points for negative actions such as posting spam and non-constructive content. The points are cumulative and "achievement badges" are awarded at specific milestones; these are visible to the entire cohort which facilitates increased participation.

PURPOSE OR GOAL To investigate the effect of gamification using a reputation system and badge rewards on the participation and quality of online discussion within technical courses taught in engineering.

APPROACH Casper will be compared with the discussion boards from both the institutional learning management system and Facebook. The number of users, the number of posts per user, and the total number of posts will be evaluated along with the technical content of the boards. In addition, students and academics/ tutors will be asked their opinion of the various systems on a number of key criteria such as user friendliness, and the quality of information.

ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES Based on the data from the courses trialled over a six week period from July to November 2013 it is hoped that there will be a positive increase in discussion content and cohort engagement compared to previous years. It is expected that the reputation system will help to keep the discussions constructive by incentivising positive interaction.

CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS/SUMMARY Gamification, whereby badges of achievement were awarded for engagement with technical discussion boards, improved the cohort engagement: more students participated and there were more posts made overall by each student. In addition, information was of higher quality and easier to find. Several improvements will be made to the software in order to increase its usefulness next year.
Keyword Gamification
eLearning
Discussion
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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Created: Wed, 19 Mar 2014, 16:24:44 EST by Lydia J Kavanagh on behalf of Faculty Of Engineering, Architecture & Info Tech