A holistic approach to designing gamified and pervasive learning

I’m starting to think about the different projects that I’m going to be working on this year. My perspective on gamification and experience design has definitely set the tone for my research, development and practice in 2016. I will also be developing the holistic and modular approach in gameful learning design further, and adopt and adapt it in the various projects, programmes and initiatives.

For instance, the BEACONING project, which will be kicked off this month will adopt the modular approach to ensure that the expected ubiquitous and gameful solution is built on strong scientific, pedagogical and technological foundation towards ensuring feasibility, uptake and sustainability. Existing platforms, tools and technologies developed by the partners will be key building blocks for the integrated BEACONING platform. The key layers as illustrated below, which help structure the design and development considerations as well as the components of the BEACONING platform. This model has been adapted and modified slightly to include Experience Design (EX) and the key attributes to be considered under the learning context.

holistic model

S Arnab CC BY NC 4.0


Layer 1 Learning Context: The first layer is vital in ensuring the learning objectives and pedagogic perspectives inform the mechanics and dynamics of the intended learning process and activities that will be developed. The lesson plan, curriculum, co-curriculum, non- and in-formal learning, and learners’ needs (including accessibility) will help determine the anchor points, which are the important milestones set for the learning activities and the relevant assessment measures.

Layer 2 Learning Dynamics: Building on top of layer 1, this layer will help map out lesson plans with associated learning objectives/anchors (what skills to apply, what knowledge to assess), which will inform the content and the context of learning including associations of objectives and topics covered in the general education curriculum and structured around the identified anchor points. This layer will consider learners’ motivational model, learners-teachers-parents dynamics and pervasive contexts of play (e.g. digital and physical spaces, formal, non-formal and informal). The monitoring and validation dynamics (formal – informal) will be defined in this phase to ensure that learning and progress are continuously recorded and assessed. Learners need to be able to “identify, document, assess and certify/validate all forms of learning in order to use this learning for advancing their career and for further education and training”[1].

Layer 3 Gameful design: The gameful design layer aims to map the learning mechanics and dynamics with game mechanics and dynamics[2] to inform the design of intended experience (EX), user experience (UX) and pervasive engagement. Lesson plans will be gamified. The overarching ‘gamification’ will drive a lesson plan (linking formal, non and informal activities) represented by ‘missions’ and ‘quests’ associated to the discretised lesson plan.  Strong and engaging narratives wrapping around the lesson plan will be designed based on the motivational model, needs and local contexts of the beneficiaries, and the location of play. A variety of narratives, mechanics and aesthetics will be defined and act as the interface between the learning objects and the learners.

Layer 4 Enabling technologies: The gamified lesson plan in previous layers will inform the standard-driven specification, integration and implementation of enabling technologies for interfaces, media, analytics, communications and storage, including data security and access. Existing platforms, tools and applications will inform the building blocks of the BEACONING solution.

The project will also be informed by an existing work in trans-disciplinary game-based intervention approach, which will structure the production process.

[1] http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/events-and-projects/projects/validation-non-formal-and-informal-learning

[2] Arnab S., Lim T., Carvalho M. B., Bellotti F., de Freitas S., Louchart S., Suttie N., Berta R., De Gloria A. (2014) Mapping Learning and Game Mechanics for Serious Games Analysis, British Journal of Educational Technology.

Copyright S Arnab 2016

CC BY NC 4.0

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