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Serious Fun: The Gamification of Open eLearning Platforms for User Motivation



Gamification has been successfully used to achieve desirable outcomes by influencing peoples’ behaviours in areas such as marketing [1] and health campaigns [2]. Open eLearning environments such as massive open online courses (MOOCs) have the potential to increase education for all. However, there is strong evidence that people can disengage and not progress to completion, with drop-out rates cited as high as 97% [3]. Understanding peoples’ motivations are essential in the use of gamification for the design of open eLearning platforms. The aim of this paper is to explore the role of gamification and people’s RAMP (Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery or Competence and Purpose) in open eLearning platforms. This exploratory study proposes a gamified design of an eLearning platform that utilises challenges to achieve badges, leader board comparators, and progress feedback indicators. The value of the gamification is to measure people’s RAMP motivations by the completion of feedback quizzes. The ideas presented in this proposal can act as a reference point in the future development of open eLearning platforms to determine whether platforms are aimed at educating people, changing peoples’ behaviour, or both.
25-27 June 2008
Madrid, Spain
Serious Fun:
The Gamification of open eLearning
platforms for user motivation
Dr Ciara Fitzgerald1, Dr Stephen McCarthy1& Dr Wendy Rowan1
1Health Information Systems Research Centre, BIS, CUBS, University College Cork, Ireland
Motivation and eLearning: With drop out rates cited
as high as 97%[3] and most leaving during the first
week of registration; motivating learners is an
important factor in the design of elearning platforms.
The RAMP drivers are a valuable tool for evaluation
(Fig.1.). These ideas based within self-determination
theory, cite intrinsic motivators such as choice and
control, as strong motivating factors that drive people
to take actions.
Gamified Design: Based on prior studies a high
recommendation exists for user challenges to be
included in the design of open eLearning platforms to
engage and motivate users.
The main gamification elements to include are:
Badge rewards
Leader board comparators
Progress feedback indicators.
Once instituted, motivation can then be evaluated
via the completion of feedback quizzes.
Objective: To act as a reference point in the future development of an open eLearning platform for
increasing consumer awareness of energy consumption in the home and to determine whether
platforms can educate people, change people’s behaviour or both.
Problem Statement: To explore the role of gamification and people’s Relatedness, Autonomy,
Mastery and Purpose (RAMP) in the design of open eLearning platforms.
The literature review concentrated on
published works with key terms/constructs
within the content. The search included
primary studies and reviews. Key terms and
exclusion criteria assisted in the reduction
of the publishing reference load.
The Future Design of the ACT4ECO platform:
Gamification and RAMP:
To introduce weekly challenges, that progressively
increase in difficulty.
To provide immediate feedback.
Offer incremental rewards e.g. badges for stage
A system design that allows people to learn at
their own pace and control their own deadlines.
Repeated attempts allowed for completing
exercises without incurring penalties.
Evaluation of Motivation via:
Feedback quizzes and user analytics
(A) Autonomy:
Wanting to have a choice in
what you do and
the feeling of being suppressed
when controlled.
(R) Relatedness:
The desire to interact and to
be connected
to others.
(M) Mastery:
The desire to achieve mastery
in a skill.
(P) Purpose:
A need to feel
that you are making
a difference.
[Staubitz et al., 2017; Staubitz et al., 2014]
Scan Fig 2 for the QR Code link to the ACT4ECO
elearning platform.
This project has received funding from the European
Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program
under grant agreement No: 784988
[3] Hew & Cheung, (2014) Students and instructors use of MOOCs, Motivations and Challenges. Educational Review, v.12, pp. 45-48; De Freitas et al,
(2015) Will MOOCs transform learning and teaching in higher education? Engagement and course retention in online provision. British Journal of Educational
Technology, v.26, pp.455-471; Yang et al., (2017) Understanding the quality factors that influence the continuance intention of students towards participation
in MOOCs. Educational Technology Research and Development, v.65, pp.1-20.
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