Kaplan and Badgeville Gamify the Classroom
Kaplan University teamed up with gamification platform Badgeville to test whether gaming techniques and mechanics would have an effect on the motivation levels of students in higher education. According to a Techonomy article written by David DeHaven and Susan Ferebee the initial pilot program was used in online classrooms of the College of Business and Technology.
The university chose to use badges and level advancement as a visual reward. Badging and leveling up are common gamification strategies used to represent an accomplishment or a goal reached. The results that were collected from the test run showed a vast improvement in students level of participation.
“Students rewarded by badges are spending up to 155 percent more time actively engaged within the classroom than their counterparts in the non-gamified classroom. Students in the gamified classroom are willingly attempting challenge assignments to earn additional badges and move up the leaderboard”
Creating an environment that consistently encourages students to further their participation is a struggle in almost every classroom, but the success of Kaplan’s experiment with gamification proves it can be done. The students desire to advance in leaderboards and to receive visual acknowledgment of their progress propels them to engage further in classroom activities. The real-time activity stream that Kaplan students can view to compare their achievements against their classmate’s achievements infuses a healthy amount of competition into higher education. The ambition to be a top ranking student is heightened by the use of gamification strategies, which in-turn increases the amount of work students are willing to do.
The positive outcome of Kaplan Universities gamification pilot program has spurred the school to expand the number of classes using a gamified approach to learning. If they continue to see the success rate of their students increase, Kaplan plans on incorporating the technique into more classrooms. Higher education is in need of a face lift and given the US Dept. of Education’s recent investments into education games, gamification may prove to be the answer universities are looking for.