One of the key features of a MOOC(Massive Online Open Course) is the self-study format that online students need to follow. This requires a lot of self-motivation and self-discipline from the learner in order to successfully complete and achieve good scores in the online course. Unfortunately, a major downside of a MOOC is that often students are unable to stay motivated and the course is likely to suffer from high dropout rates. Various online studies indicate that more than 20% of online learners do not complete the courses that they sign up for.
While there may be numerous ways to deal with high dropout rates in a course, an important hook that has worked successfully to keep learners motivated is the Gamification of online learning courses.
What is Gamification?
Gamification in a MOOC can be described as a method to bring in fun and engagement to conventional learning situations. It involves using game elements and game design techniques in online classroom situations.
Gamification, when used well is a powerful tool organizations and educational institutions can use to increase motivation and engagement in their online training programs. Through the use of specific gamification elements trainers and course creators can introduce goals, interactions, feedback, problem solving scenarios, competitions, narratives and other fun elements that can increase learner engagement and sustain motivation.
Let’s look at some of the basic Gamification elements can be applied in a MOOC context.
Leaderboards showcase player rankings that are determined on the basis of the number of points earned by the players. Leaderboards give participants feedback on where they stand in relation to everyone else. In a MOOC scenario, leaderboards can be used to compare the progress of individuals as compared to others in the same course. You can build a leaderboard that ranks each member by the number of their comments, replies, queries etc.
Badges are another gamification tool that represent larger achievements and serve as publicly visible status symbol. In a MOOC course, badges can be issued for reaching specific milestones such as completing a module, submitting assignments on time, completing teamwork assignments etc.
Challenges motivate online learners to test themselves, it pushes them to grow and progress.You could suggest challenges for your learners at the end of every module or at the end of every chapter with scenarios, tasks, and experiments to see how they would apply the newly learned concepts. Most students will be compelled to take you up on a challenge, and you are likely to see a significant increase in engagement.
Unlocking Levels and Progress Bars
Similar to a game, consider locking levels or chapters in the online training program so that levels only open up when the learner has successfully reached a certain point in his progress bar.
By experimenting with various gamification techniques, you should be able to keep your students motivated and help them to engage more frequently and on a deeper level.
Have you ever used gamification in your online course? Do share your results in the comments section on this article?