What’s Your Story? Creating Narrative in Your Gamified Course

Concurrent Session 2

Session Materials

Add to My Schedule

Brief Abstract

Do you want to create an engaging, gamified experience for your learners, but suffer from design paralysis when it comes to planning it? Learn how to design a user journey and deliver a compelling experience using narrative or story.

Extended Abstract

Do you want to create an engaging, gamified experience for your learners, but suffer from design paralysis when it comes to planning it? Are you struggling with how to get beyond adding points, badges and leaderboards and getting to the heart of your content to provide challenge and relevance for your students? Then join us for this session to learn how to design a user journey and deliver a compelling experience with a narrative or story.

Gamification methodology and philosophy go far beyond adding points, badges and leaderboards to your course. Although these can create value and generate excitement, they are not the starting point if you want to focus on learner motivation and progression to expertise. Gamification can facilitate mastery by providing students with a clear sense of purpose, but instructors and designers must provide meaningful context to activities.

Renaming the elements of your course to reflect game language, a common practice by designers new to gamification, provides surface features that look like a game, but those superficial features, although scalable, provide only a shallow user experience, often failing to foster intrinsic motivation (doing an activity because it is fun and exciting, even without rewards).  Game elements are just a means to an end.

In this session, instead of emphasizing the superficial elements of gamification, we will focus on the question, "How do I want my learners to feel?" By finding the story at the heart of our content, we can clarify our teaching goals, begin to create a structure for telling that story, and then add elements of strategy or challenge to begin building a gamified learner experience.

Session Activity

Participants will have an interactive opportunity to work through and share their own gamification design challenges, and will leave with a set of gamification story ideas that can be adapted to fit their own courses.

Session Outcomes

After completing this session, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the differences between gamification, games, and game-based learning.
  • Think about real-life application of course content.
  • Find the story at the heart of their content, thus identifying a strategy for gamification.
  • Set up the story.
  • Select LMS features that facilitate narrative and transitions.
  • Apply and modify existing narratives to fit their own course content.
  • Facilitate the learner’s progression to mastery or expertise.