Moodle Course Gamification

We recently built a course that would include Several gamification elements.

The reason for this was:

  1. To see how engaging we could make a Moodle course.
  2. How well the gamification plugins worked.

At iLite, we build a fair number of SCORM modules using Articulate Rise and Articulate Storyline. But once they are built, we add them to a Moodle course and things fall a bit flat. The Moodle course is very functional and contains all the traditional elements of a course. We include an introduction, the SCORM content, a quiz, and a certificate. The typical elements of a standard course. I looked at this and wondered how we could make it better. I wondered how much effort it would take and what the results would be.

Let’s be honest, we all want maximum results for as little effort as possible.

We recently built a course that would include Several gamification elements. The reason for this was:

  1. To see how engaging we could make a Moodle course.
  2. How well the gamification plugins worked.

At iLite, we build a fair number of SCORM modules using Articulate Rise and Articulate Storyline. But once they are built, we add them to a Moodle course and things fall a bit flat. The Moodle course is very functional and contains all the traditional elements of a course. We include an introduction, the SCORM content, a quiz, and a certificate. The typical elements of a standard course. I looked at this and wondered how we could make it better. I wondered how much effort it would take and what the results would be. Let’s be honest, we all want maximum results for as little effort as possible.

So, using the Lesson activity and with minimum extra effort, you can create an adaptive learning journey, include a progress bar, and ask a few formative questions.

Lesson Activity

Next, we looked at the way in which we were using the Quiz activity. I think we use the quiz activity the way most people would, meaning:

  1. Create questions in the Question bank.
  2. Create a quiz with the default settings.
  3. Set restrict access and activity completion.
  4. Pull a random number of questions from the question bank into the quiz.

There are variations to the above, like setting a passing grade, limiting the attempts and so on. But we seldom go deeper than that. For this course I decided to explore some of the other question behaviour options available in the quiz.

We built 5 quizzes in total and looked at:

  1. Deferred feedback
  2. Adaptive mode
  3. Interactive
  4. Certainty-based marking (CBM)

By doing this, suddenly it become more like “a box of chocolates”, you just never knew what you were going to get next. And that is good – even for me. I helped build the course but could not remember where we used the different question behaviours. During testing, it was a nice surprise to suddenly be asked to rate my confidence in an answer or go back and retry but take a penalty. These changes are what make the content engaging, and they are so simple to implement.

Read more about the different question behaviours here:
https://docs.moodle.org/311/en/Question_behaviours

For the gamification elements, we looked at a new course format and 3rd party plugins. The course format we used is called Ludic. The Ludic theme is because of research done into gamification.
You can read more about the theme here: https://moodle.org/plugins/format_ludic

The theme is easy to set up and works perfectly fine with Moodle 3.11. Custom images can be selected for the topics and activities. The topic images have three states – not started, in progress and completed. This is a great indicator to the student of their progress and adds a fun element to the course.

Next, we looked at the following three blocks:

  1. Level Up! – https://moodle.org/plugins/block_xp
  2. Ranking – https://moodle.org/plugins/block_ranking
  3. Game – https://moodle.org/plugins/block_game

I must confess that using all three was an overkill, but in our defence, we just wanted to see what they would look like.

Level Up!

Of the three blocks used, Level Up required the most time to set up. But, that said, we did have fun creating our own custom badges for each level. A nice popup message is displayed as you achieve a certain level, along with the custom badge. The Level Up block also comes with its own leader board and an information tab showing you the points required to reach a certain level.

Maybe it does not have the same gamification feel as the Game block where you can select your own Avatar, but it still does the job. This block and type of gamification would  appeal to a slightly older student where selecting an Avatar is not a big deal.

Level Up!

Ranking Block

What’s nice about the ranking block is that you can very quickly see your position relative to the other students. One thing to note though is that all these gamification plugins have their own scoring system, so if you are going to use more than one block with say the Ludic course format, then you need to make sure you sync the scoring up.

Game Block

The Game block is added to the course page and the users Dashboard. The Game block on the Dashboard allows the user to select an Avatar. This is done on the Dashboard by clicking on the default Avatar. A list of available Avatars is displayed. From here you can select a different Avatar.

To start some Avatars are unavailable and as the user progresses through the levels, so more Avatars become available. You can also look to upload your own Avatars if you wish. The block also has its own leader board.

When viewing the leader board in a course, a student will be able to see their progress relative to the other students in the course.

I am not a big fan of gamification. The guys in the office say it’s because of my age. Regardless, when used properly you can build a fun course, add in gamification that works and appeal to an older audience. I would definitely not recommend using all the elements as we have, but certainly use the Ludic course format and one of the blocks. Your course will be more engaging, and when you connect with your students – learning happens.

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