Explore the Pros, Cons of Gamification in Online Education

By Jordan Friedman, US News

To keep students engaged, some faculty incorporate game-design elements into online classes. For gamification to be effective, students need to view it as a serious form of learning, experts say. In his online course on ethical decision-making, Greg Andres, a philosophy lecturer at the University of Waterloo in Canada, has students compete for the top spot on the class’ leader board. As they answer questions about how they would respond to various ethical dilemmas, they receive a certain number of points depending on how Andres views their responses in a given context. The goal is “to make course concepts concrete – here’s how it actually plays out in real life,” Andres says. Andres’ class is an example of gamification, a term that generally refers to the implementation of different game-design elements – such as competition or the earning of points or badges – into various settings.


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