The University of Arizona

Gamification in the wild: Faculty perspectives on gamifying learning in higher education

Aaron Chia Yuan Hung, Emilia Zarco, Monica Yang, Diane Dembicki, Mitchell Kase


While numerous studies have examined gamification from the students' perspectives, few studies focus on the faculty's experience in detail. This article analyzes the experiences and self-reflections of five university instructors who designed and implemented gamification for their online or hybrid courses. It uses a design research approach to inform the gamification design and implementation decisions and draws on data collected from weekly meetings recorded over Google Hangout, as well as meeting minutes, design documents, emails, and informal reflections that retrospectively examine the process of designing and implementing the gamified courses. It also discusses the data gathered from students on their perspectives and experiences in class. While students' feedback on gamification were largely positive, many faculty members acknowledge that creating a coherent gamified course was difficult and time-consuming. However, the process of designing itself may be worth going through because it made faculty more conscious of how their teaching values were being reflected in the gamified system. The article ends with reflections on the institutional and technological constraints that were encountered, and offers recommendations on how to support educators new to gamifying learning in their courses.


gamification; learning management systems; online learning; Moodle; badges

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