Game On! Going Beyond Points, Badges and Leaderboards

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Gamification is a common buzzword, and while many can see its potential in online learning, it’s often too difficult or expensive to implement. In this interactive session, we’ll demonstrate how we’ve used this approach to motivate students--without the use of points, badges or leaderboards. Get your buzzers ready!


Christie Nicholas is the Assistant Director of Digital Learning at USF’s Innovative Education. She has been part of the Digital Learning team since 2011, where she began producing weekly news videos for pre-K to fifth grade students. She joined the course development team in 2012, where she now leads a dynamic team of instructional designers and project managers in the creation of high-quality online course. Christie has been involved in secondary education since 2006 and utilizes her experience to create engaging and effective online courses and programs at USF. Christie received her M.Ed. in Instructional Technology in 2014 and her B.A. in Creative Writing in 2005.
Menglu is the instructional and multimedia designer of Digital Learning at USF’s Innovative Education. She is an instructional design enthusiast and loves helping people learn! Prior to joining Digital Learning team, she was instructional design intern at AT&T, Capital City Bank, and Florida State University. Menglu received her M.S. in Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies from FSU and B.A. in French Language from SISU (China).

Extended Abstract

Gamification, by definition, is the use of game design elements in non-game contexts (Deterding, Khaled,  Nacke & Dixon, 2011). This term has gained popularity over the past few years, and while many can see its value in increasing student engagement, it’s often too difficult or expensive to implement.

In this session, attendees will be shown visual data and common misconceptions about gamification. They will test their knowledge in an interactive format and see how the gaming approach has been put in place at USF—using elements like interactivity, player control, and progression. Finally, attendees will learn how to use these approaches in their own practice, and discover that gamification can be much more than PBL (points, badges and leaderboards).


Deterding, S., Khaled, R., Nacke, L.E., Dixon, D. 2011. Gamification: Toward a Definition. In CHI 2011 Gamification Workshop Proceedings, Vancouver, BC, Canada.