LTA Connect: Gamification in Teaching

Dr Vasilis Louca from the University of Aberdeen will explore findings from his study investigating the impact of the introduction of game-based approaches in a level 3 undergraduate biology course.

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Outline and Presenter Bio

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Dr Vasilis Louca, University of Aberdeen

I’m a freshwater ecologist, but I have a strong interest finding ways to enhance learning and engage students better and at a higher level. There is strong evidence to suggest that game-based learning can be an effective approach in increasing student motivation and engagement and subsequently improving performance. Its use within the higher education setting is still relatively limited. My study and in-class application of gamification, investigated the impact of the introduction of game-based approaches in a level 3 undergraduate biology course. This mandatory course is often unpopular with students due to its strong quantitative component; as a result student disengagement, poor attendance and low academic performance are not uncommon. Five non-compulsory “challenges” were introduced and points were awarded to students for completion and performance at the “challenges”. Students could only progress from one level or “challenge” to the next after successfully completing the previous one. The running total of points was made available to students on a leaderboard displaying avatar names the students have submitted themselves. The study results indicate that applying such approaches to teaching helps engage students and improves their academic achievement. Students maintained very high (>75%) levels of participation and engagement in undertaking the “challenges” across the duration of the course. Scores earned as part of this component correlated significantly with continuous assessment scores, but not with final exam grades.  The session will provide an overview of the findings from this study and discuss how to build upon this for more extensive future applications of game-based learning.

Learning and Teaching Enhancement Values

This webinar maps to the following Learning and Teaching Enhancement Values:

  • Evidence-based educational practice
  • Active and creative us of technology
  • Supporting professional development in learning and teaching

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Events - LTA Connect: Research-Teaching Linkages - University of the Highlands and Islands

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