Gamifying a Moodle course. What difference does it make? Week 4

Gamifying-a-Moodle-course.-What-difference-does-it-make-Week-4

Week 4 of the ‘Gamify or not gamify‘ a Moodle course experiment. In week 1, I looked at early statistics and wondered what students were actually up to on the course, how they use it, what they click on the most, etc. This week, I am taking a closer look at the students’ activity around the course so far.

Gamifying a Moodle course. What difference does it make Students’ activity in the first 4 weeks of using their Moodle courses

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First impressions

I was rather surprised to see that students enrolled in the non-gamified course have interacted with activities & resources more than the students enrolled in the gamified course (3,634 clicks vs 3,423), as it contradicts figures gathered in week 1 of the experiment. However, the figures above only show clicks to resources & activities, and do not include visits to the course homepage, to check if badges have been unlocked, for example.

 GamifiedNon-gamified
Only resources & activities3,4233,634
Including course homepage4,9044,728

Number of click (or hits) to the courses

As you can see, students who are enrolled in the gamified course have visited the course homepage more times than students in the non-gamified course. I suspect it is mainly to check whether they had unlocked badges. I am not sure whether this is positive or detrimental to the students’ learning.

Some activities have been very popular in both courses, namely the database, the checklist and the lesson. This was to be expected as students were encouraged to share at least two of their Scratch animations, based on resources available in the lesson. As they progress through the course, students are also encouraged to keep track of their progress using the checklist.

Lesson

Example of a lesson in Moodle

Students were encouraged to use the links to Scratch tutorials provided in the lesson. Students in the non-gamified course used this quite a bit more (+39%) than the students in the gamified course. Students were allowed to look for their own tutorials to follow, or to re-use some of the projects they had completed in primary school. Students in the gamified course may have chosen those options over the using the tutorials provided, it is hard to tell. Based on classroom observation, both sets of students thoroughly enjoyed their lessons, whether beginner or advanced users, always good to see. 

 GamifiedNon-gamified
Beginner70111
Intermediate67104
Advanced2518
Challenge1811

Breakdown of clicks for each page in the lesson

Database

Moodle database to share and peer assess

Once students have completed a Scratch animation, they are to share it with their peers using the database provided. They then have to comment on, and rate each other’s work. As you can see, both sets of students have used the database a fairly similar amount of times, with a slight edge to the non-gamified course. However, the students in the gamified course produced more Scratch animations, and of better quality (I cannot share them here, so you’ll have to take my word for it). From the quick survey I did at the beginning of the course, there was an even split of Scratch skills between both courses so I am not quite sure what to make of this data. I was not satisfied with the quality of the comments provided by the students – we clearly need to work on that.

 GamifiedNon-gamified
Submissions6950
Comments2573
Ratings2415

Breakdown of activity in the database

Lectures & video help

Example of Kaltura with Moodle

As mentioned in the ‘week 2‘ post, I recorded videos explaining what the different parts of the project are about. I also recorded some videos showing how to perform specific actions, such as ‘How to upload a Scratch animation to the database?’. Those videos proved more useful than I thought they would. 

 GamifiedNon-gamified
 ClicksVisitorsClicksVisitors
► Whole project lecture52214821
► Investigate lecture187236319
► How to share a Scratch animation89237321

Hits for each video in the ‘Investigate’ section

I am not surprised that the students in the gamified course watched the ‘Investigate lecture’ so many times, as many were struggling to understand concepts such as ‘Design problem’, ‘Design brief’ and ‘Design specification’ in the lessons. Almost all of the students needed help uploading their Scratch animation to the database, although it wasn’t especially hard – there goes the ‘kids know how to use computers, anyway‘ mantra…

Checklist

Example of a checklist in Moodle

As mentioned, students are encouraged to keep track of their progress using checklists. Students in the gamified course have been more diligent than those in the non-gamified course (+25%).

 GamifiedNon-gamified
Checklist visits587469

Hits to the checklist

Quizzes

Example of a quiz question

The quizzes in this course are not compulsory and are used to stretch those students who feel up for a challenge. Students have the choice to take the quizzes during, or outside the lessons. So far, students in the non-gamified course have attempted quizzes more than their gamified counterparts. This makes sense to me, as students in the non-gamified course have gone through documenting their work faster than the students in the gamified course (not all students, but most). This might also be due to the fact that students in the gamified course spent longer practicing their Scratch skills, sharing more of the outcomes with their peers. It will be interesting to revisit these figures when more students are done with documenting the ‘investigate’ part of this project.

 GamifiedNon-gamified
Quizz hits351                          545

Hits to the quizzes

Other resources

The exemplar has been downloaded a total of 226 times, by all 46 students enrolled in the courses. I will modify the course in the future, so that this appears as a book rather than a PDF file, as clearly students do not access the file from where they have saved it, they prefer downloading it again. I would probably turn this into a lesson with questions, or use the book module.

I am not very happy that so few students have viewed the level descriptors.

Conclusions

From the data I have gathered, so far  having badges on the course doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact. However, it is worth noting that quite a few students enrolled in the gamified course thought that the penguins were the only thing they had to collect, and had not made a clear connection between completing activities and being awarded badges. This became clear to me when I started turning the badges into ‘house points’ (the school’s reward system), as they were asking for more points than they had gathered badges – they were asking for as many points as they had gathered penguins. If the last two sentences don’t make any sense to you, you should read the first post of this series. It is also worth noting that students enrolled in the gamified course seem to have been more diligent in their documentation of the process, and created better Scratch animations as part of their going through tutorials, although this evidence is anecdotal.

I was worried in week 1 that students in the gamified course would go on a clicking spree to get as many badges as possible – this clearly has not been the case so far.

Stay tuned to see what happens in the next few weeks, when all students have understood the relationship between completed activities/resources and awarding of badges.

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