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Developing Gamification within Moodle

Photo caption: (l-r) Dr. Ed Lindsay, Martin Dougiamas from Moodle, Amanda Roberston and Steve Bader are pictured.

In 2012-2013 Michelle Harrolle was awarded a DELTA Exploratory Grant. During the span of the past three years, the grant for gamification was handed over to Dr. Ed Lindsay, a teaching assistant professor in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM). With the help of Steve Bader, business and technology application developer, and DELTA staff, they gamified Introduction to Sport Management (PRT 266). Gamification involves using elements of games in a setting that isn’t a game to engage and motivate. It can be used in training as well as education.

Three years of hard work has not gone unrecognized. Bader, Lindsay and former DELTA employee Amanda Robertson presented their work with gamification at EDUCAUSE‘s annual conference in October and ELI Annual Meeting in February. Bader also presented the Gamification Module at the 2015 Moodle Moot. Last but not least Bader, Lindsay and Robertson were finalists placing third in the Enterprise category of the 2014 Reimagine Education award competition.

Gamification has three basic types of game elements: game objectives, progression and feedback. Game objectives are a behavioral mechanic that the user is responsible for triggering. In some cases, the user is aware of the objective and in others it can be hidden from the user (known as Easter eggs). For Ed Lindsay’s class, most objectives are geared around activities closely related to career development. Progression elements are the mechanism or strategy that directs your user’s actions, again this can be subtle or blatant. When developing Lindsay’s course the team used pathing, restrict access and activity release in Moodle to direct the student’s progression along with a custom created avatar that gains job skills. Finally, feedback elements are the results and rewards given to the user to reinforce the behavior. In Moodle, students may be rewarded by new activities, course achievements, points, visual graphics to help them watch their progress, or ‘backpack’ files.

Based on the three types of elements, Bader concluded Moodle needed a way to better manage and control game objectives and the progression of the gamified course, so he developed the gamification module. Within the gamification module instructors can define game objectives using activity completion, moodle events, point goals or meta objectives. For completing these game objectives, students can be rewarded achievements, points, activity or topic release, files, and content/visual assets.

Home Horticulture (HS 200), Power of Plants: Appreciation and Use (HS 202), and Immunology (MB 411) are other NC State courses beginning to implement gamification.

External Links

About the NC State Gamification Module

PRT 266 Course Gamification

Video from DELTA staff who created PRT 266