Designing Gamified Learning Environments


Kristen Bourgault

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How can the design principles used to develop creative and engaging games be leveraged to guide our decisions in building effective online courses? 

The term “gCome explore the exciting topic of gamification in our DESIGNING GAMIFIED LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS workshop!amification” has gained popularity in higher education over the past few years as educators seek to capture the levels of motivation and engagement that students of all ages exhibit towards video games. The use of games and game dynamics in the design of learning environments and activities is not new. But the development and availability of new technologies has propelled this field forward, opening up new possibilities and expanding the potential of adding game elements to online education.

Gamification itself is a controversial and highly debated term. Its definition runs the gamut from simply converting your course to a points-based grading system, all the way to developing a full-fledged virtual simulation of your course content. This workshop will seek to find some middle ground by exploring how the average professional or instructional designer operating with a typical budget and resources, can take what we know about game dynamics and creatively apply it to the design of online and hybrid courses and learning activities.

Kristen Bourgault, OLC Instructional Designer and Professor in the Instructional Design Program at Quinnipiac University has developed this workshop to explore the idea of using game theory to increase motivation and engagement in online courses. This one week workshop will be coming up soon, starting June 12, 2015.

Why Gamification?? Why is it relevant in higher education right now?

KRISTEN: Digital games are more popular than ever. People of all ages can be found playing games on a variety of devices. Research into the factors that motivate us to play games can be used to replicate that same level of motivation and engagement in the courses we teach. Technology has made it easier to do that than ever before.

How can Gamification help us to improve motivation and engagement in online courses?

KRISTEN: Elements of game design, such as storytelling, competition, cooperation, choice and feedback can help engage students. In many ways the elements of good course design actually echo what we already know about game design. There are many ways to approach the idea of adding game elements into your course. You can create activities that are based around game formats we are already familiar with, design frameworks around games which already exist and repurpose them to address or learning objectives, or embed game structures within the actual design of our course. The possibilities are truly endless and allow faculty and instructional designers to truly unleash their creativity.

What will people take away from this workshop experience?

KRISTEN: By the end of this experience, you will have an understanding of various aspects of game design that can be incorporated into learning environments. You will develop a game-based activity for your course, or a plan for incorporating game elements into your overall course design.

Who should register?

KRISTEN: Fun, adventurous and creative professors, instructional designers, librarians and technologists interested in expanding their understanding of how game dynamics can have a positive impact on education.

Please visit our website to register for Designing Gamified Learning Environments on June 12!

Kristen Bourgault


Kristen Bourgault is an instructional designer with a special talent for facilitating the development of high quality online courses and programs in higher education. Her work has helped to jump start and reinvent online degree programs at Simmons College, Lesley University, Quinnipiac University and American Sentinel University. She holds a firm interest in the next generation of online teaching and learning, with a focus on gamification, social media, and student engagement. She earned her MS in Instructional Design from Capella University, complemented by a BS in Web Design and Development from Simmons College.

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