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Developing a Platform for using Game-Based Learning in Vocational Education and Training

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  • Akademie für Berufliche Bildung
  • Akademie für berufliche Bildung gGmbH

Abstract and Figures

The importance of Game-Based Learning (GBL) for student learning is increasingly recognized as beneficial for engagement, creativity and motivation. While further research is needed to explore the multi-faceted tenets of GBL, vocational education teachers may experience difficulties in finding appropriate and relevant materials as well as applying GBL methods in their classroom. This paper presents the development of a platform that VET teachers can use to find, create and share GBL teaching resources. The Erasmus+ project GATE:VET is creating a platform, consisting of an online wiki and a mobile application, that supports educational professionals to understand theoretical and practical aspects of GBL, with the goal of enabling these teachers to design and implement GBL activities in their practice. This paper highlights some of the challenges and strategies for solving these issues when consolidating varied requirements into one platform to create an accessible, user-friendly and relevant point of departure for using GBL, with emphasis on the appropriate level of complexity when describing the theory of GBL and linking it to practical examples.
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Developing a Platform for using Game-Based
Learning in Vocational Education and Training
Bettina North
project department
Akademie für Berufliche Bildung
Dresden, Germany
b.north@afbb.de
Jazmin Zaraik
research and development department
Manzalab
Paris, France
jzaraik@manzalab.com
Helge Fischer
Research, Innovation and Transfer
Dresden University of Applied Sciences
Dresden, Germany
h.fischer@fh-dresden.eu
Madeleine Diab
project department
Akademie für Berufliche Bildung
Dresden, Germany
m.diab@afbb.de
Stéphanie Philippe
research and development department
Manzalab
Paris, France
sphilippe@manzalab.com
Petros Lameras
School of Computing, Electronics and
Mathematics
Coventry University
Coventry, England
ab3430@coventry.ac.uk
Josefin Müller
Research, Innovation and Transfer
Dresden University of Applied Sciences
Dresden, Germany
j.mueller@fh-dresden.eu
AbstractThe importance of Game-Based Learning (GBL)
for student learning is increasingly recognized as beneficial for
engagement, creativity and motivation. While further research
is needed to explore the multi-faceted tenets of GBL, vocational
education teachers may experience difficulties in finding
appropriate and relevant materials as well as applying GBL
methods in their classroom. This paper presents the
development of a platform that VET teachers can use to find,
create and share GBL teaching resources. The Erasmus+
project GATE:VET is creating a platform, consisting of an
online wiki and a mobile application, that supports educational
professionals to understand theoretical and practical aspects of
GBL, with the goal of enabling these teachers to design and
implement GBL activities in their practice. This paper
highlights some of the challenges and strategies for solving these
issues when consolidating varied requirements into one
platform to create an accessible, user-friendly and relevant
point of departure for using GBL, with emphasis on the
appropriate level of complexity when describing the theory of
GBL and linking it to practical examples.
Keywords—game-based learning, serious games,
gamification, vocational education and training, learning
experience, learning platform development
I. INTRODUCTION
The effectiveness of Game-Based Learning (GBL) on
student learning across an array of intended learning outcomes
including motivation and creativity has been studied
extensively (e.g. [1], [2], [3], [4]). The overarching factor that
contributes to the propagation of motivation seems to be the
process of playing. Rastegarpour & Marashi [5] sought to
investigate the effects of GBL on chemistry learning and
highlighted the instrumental role of play and the active
engagement of students with gameplay as opposed to a more
passive learning activity observed in the classroom. Grimley
et al. [6] investigated whether learning through a game can
improve student learning compared to a lecture approach.
Increased feelings of being active, involvement and a
perception of challenge were reported when interacting with
the game leading to higher engagement for students. In a study
conducted by [7], creativity and creative thinking were
improved using a game. Disciplined imagination as being
related to imaginative creations, risk-taking and participating
in challenging tasks seemed to be amplified through game
play. There seems to be consensus (e.g. [2], [4], [5]) on how
GBL supports and potentially improves awareness and
knowledge on certain subject areas contributing to learning
effectiveness.
Guillén-Nieto & Aleson-Carbonell [8] identified factors
that influenced the learning effectiveness through the use of
serious games. Learning effects on students ways of
communicating with peers and teachers were identified along
with improvements in understanding content and transfer of
learning skills. Game design, as a feature of some GBL
activities and as an innate process of creation and creative
thinking, may improve students’ problem-solving skills on
two levels; teachers can provide meaningful in-game feedback
and also engage their students in a GBL activity that helps
them to develop coding skills. Akcaoglu & Koehler [9]
asserted that the process of designing games resulted in
substantial cognitive changes in studentsproblem-solving
capabilities.
The aim of this paper is to present a wiki and a mobile app,
which were developed in the Erasmus+ project GATE:VET to
help educators to access, use, re-use and share GBL-related
content and resources. To set the context of the paper,
teachers’ perceptions and competencies of teaching and
learning using GBL are laid out; then the GATE:VET project
is introduced before the design, interface and contents of the
two online platforms are described. Further, this paper
presents a small-scale usability evaluation of the wiki to
determine the user-friendliness of the platform.
II. TEACHERS PERCEPTIONS OF TEACHING AND
LEARNING USING GBL
There are many research findings from several
commentators supporting the view that attempts to integrate
technology-based interventions and associated digital
pedagogies into teaching and learning are challenging, mainly
because teachers perceptions and approaches to the use of
learning technologies and digital pedagogy have not been
systematically and comprehensively investigated (e.g. [10],
[11]). It seems therefore logical to claim that the empirical
process of eliciting teachersexperiences of GBL is central for
understanding howand whyteachers perceive, select,
implement and share GBL content, resources and best
practices and make related decisions in their practice. It is also
axiomatic to claim that the way in which teachers experience
teaching using GBL can influence students’ beliefs about
learning with GBL, with consequences for later learning
design and practice. Studies that investigated teachersways
of experiencing GBL for teaching and learning have focused
on certain aspects from conceptions of designing,
orchestrating and augmenting teaching with the use of GBL
(e.g. [12], [13]) and education on enablers and constraints [14]
to teachersacceptance of GBL [15].
The paper presented here elucidates on a platform for
teachers to find, access and share GBL resources as means to
improve perceptions of and approaches to GBL in teaching
and learning. Bourgonjon et al. [16] argue that teachers
perceptions of using GBL have been studied using a number
of different data collection and analysis instruments and
methods, from questionnaires and quasi-experimental
research designs to interviews and qualitative studies. While
the former investigate the level of effectiveness, acceptance or
negation of GBL in relation to an increase or decrease on
students cognitive performance and learning outcomes, the
latter explore the qualitatively different ways teachers
experience the use of GBL as means to propagate a framework
that may inform GBL design and delivery across different
subjects and disciplines.
Teachersviews on using GBL indeed vary, some teachers
consider GBL a valuable asset for enhancing traditional
teaching but overwhelming in terms of designing and
orchestrating GBL activities that are based on sound
theoretical and applied GBL practices and norms (e.g. [15],
[16]); others view it with incredulity and do not believe it
added value to the teaching and learning process. Such
conceptions may affect approaches to and preferences on
using GBL that would in turn influence student learning. It
seems that teachers may feel overwhelmed by the plethora of
GBL elements, strategies and tools that they need to
comprehend and apply in their practice. To provide more
clarity and to ensure that teachers can make informed
decisions about which facets of GBL are most appropriate for
their own teaching context, it is necessary to foreground
beliefs, practices and processes to support teachers. Fostering
teachers’ self-awareness of their own practice is a
predominant factor in developing the competencies and skills
needed to find, access and meaningfully evaluate GBL
resources.
A raison dêtre for designing, planning and orchestrating
GBL activities is their inherent potential to impact students’
learning by providing motivating and engaging learning
experiences [17]. While academic investigations into the
design and use of GBL as a pedagogical approach commenced
in the early 2000s, there were assumptions that GBL may be
viewed as a distinct breed of the semiotic domains [17] that
afford students to employ different multimodal ensembles or
as a design experience from which students are learning to
think creatively. Such design experiences may not necessarily
encourage students to learn how to absorb and transmit
content, but most essentially how to understand the process of
learning through designing, playing and making.
Despite frugal debates on meaning between GBL, serious
games and gamification (e.g. [18], [19]), GBL here is
understood as an umbrella term to denote a student-centered
and creativity-orientated strategy, collaborative and social in
its foundation, that amalgamates constructivist learning theory
and game elements embracing spaces for practicing creative
thinking, inquiry and resilience. Serious games and games
design, as tangible digital products, may constitute a specific
activity designed or re-used/repurposed encompassing a
broader GBL strategy. Gamification as part of a wider GBL
activity can similarly be propagated as a way to transform
specific learning design elements (e.g. assessment, feedback,
progression) to game-like instances via scores, badges and
leader-boards in its simplest instantiation.
III. COMPETENCIES FOR GBL
Against the background of structural change and the
changing demands of new generations, such as the digital
nativesor Generation Y”, there is a need (also in terms of
learning content) to create new attractive learning instruments
and innovative approaches that support the acquisition of
competencies. In the field of Vocational Education and
Training (VET), the demand for the provision of learning and
educational content is also changing as rapidly as the
technological progress of recent years [20]. As written in [21],
it is now necessary to transfer the competences of the 21st
century into a new learning culture and thus also into schools
and universities to strengthen pupils competences in the
future. Among other things, this can be promoted by teaching
with digital media and by using concepts such as GBL and
gamification.
Game-based solutions for knowledge acquisition are
moving into the focus of educational and economic efforts
[22]. GBL creates new learning requirements and at the same
time supports learning processes to open up new ways and
forms of acquiring skills and abilities (e.g. [23], [24]. This
would not only result in new occupational profiles, but also in
new areas of competence. Consequently, concepts such as
21st century skills or Future Work Skillsalso have a
formative influence on future life and work. Among the core
competences of the 21st century are skills such as learning and
innovation skills (i.e. critical thinking, creativity, flexibility
and independent working), but also virtual and personal
communication and collaboration as well as competent
handling of media, technologies, data and information [25]. In
relation to GBL, however, there are few studies on how GBL
can influence the development of studentsskills. As shown
in a literature review by [26], many academic papers reported
the influence of games on the development of 21st century
skills, with the majority focusing on critical thinking skills.
Through GBL, new requirements in the educational sector
can be created and at the same time support for learning
processes can be offered. Teachers face the challenge of
designing creative game scenarios that at the same time
integrate relevant learning objectives. Specific skills are
required to convey learning content in a playful way, which is
supposed to do both - maintain the motivation of pupils and
promote their learning process. In order to determine which
skills educators need to use gamification, an empirical study
was conducted from May to August 2019 [27]. The aim of the
study was the creation of an exemplary competency profile
that educators need to implement GBL scenarios. The
following question formed the basis of this study: What skills
do educators need to develop and implement
GBL/gamification? In order to answer this overarching
research question, six guideline-based expert interviews and a
subsequent short questionnaire were conducted. Teachers in
the higher education sector with experience in developing and
implementing GBL scenarios and researchers with a scientific
focus on GBL development were interviewed. All of these
experts were able to take at least one of the following
perspectives based on their experience:
teaching perspective, i.e. experience in using game
scenarios in classroom;
developers perspective, i.e. experience in the
development of GBL applications (e.g. serious
games);
researchers perspective, i.e. experience in
researching and evaluating GBL applications.
The interviews were transcribed and evaluated using
qualitative content analysis [see 28]. In an expert discussion
with three GBL experts from the research cluster for digital
learning and gaming cultures (Technical University of
Dresden), the identified qualification requirements of future
teachers who want to implement GBL practices were
condensed into four fields of competence. These four fields of
competence and the associated skills and knowledge
requirements outline the competencies required for the
gamification of the classroom.
A. Openness, Readiness for Change
ability to understand change as a learning situation
and to act accordingly
being open to adapt to new forms of teaching and
learning
replacing old learning formats
ability to leave room for new reference points
adapt their actions to the changes
acquiring the resources necessary for change
learning new tasks and dealing with new technologies
B. Creativity
ability to develop good and preferably novel solutions
to problems
readiness to innovate
creation of something new and original
C. Comprehensive/Holistic Thinking
ability to incorporate other aspects into their own
objectives
decision-making on the basis of sound knowledge
comprehensive perspective
overview of the entire concept
consideration of diverse interdependencies and other
persons involved
D. Expertise and Interdisciplinary Knowledge
specific knowledge about learning and games, and the
ability to apply this knowledge
know different types of learners and players
knowledge about the characteristics of game (game
mechanics, flow experience, game elements)
consider different forms of learning (situated, action-
oriented learning)
integration of different constructs and concepts for
learning transfer (learning and motivation theories)
media didactic knowledge
These provide an initial overview over the skills and
fundamental aspects that are required to develop the
competences teachers need to implement GBL practices.
IV. INTRODUCING GATE:VET
The primary objective of the GATE:VET project is the
planning, development and provision of a qualification and
communication platform consisting of a wiki and a mobile
application on which various game elements, best practices
and instructions on GBL are made available to teachers in
VET for their teaching activities. In developing the platform,
particular attention is paid to user-friendliness, expandability
and user experience in order to provide teachers with a
practical and accessible tool for preparing their lessons. The
main incentive for teachers is the provision of easily
transferable, motivating and versatile teaching materials in an
accessible way. The creation of platform content is supported
by an online community for VET teachers interested in GBL;
it can be maintained independently and autonomously by this
community of teachers even after the end of the project.
To ensure that the platform is developed in line with the
needs of the target groups, VET Teachers from the partner
institutions are involved in the development process at various
stages of the project. For example, online multiplier
workshops are planned in which teachers can test the wiki and
provide critical feedback on the platform. At the end of the
project, users of the platform(s) can create, share, use and
evaluate content themselves. This is intended to ensure the
sustainability of the project results in addition to peer learning.
Moreover, a training-of-trainers curriculum is being
developed to enable teachers to use GBL in class and to train
multipliers. In addition to basic concepts and models, they will
also learn how to use both platforms and adapt the examples
to their teaching practice. In the training-of-trainers, a set of
gamified activities is implemented and intended to guide the
user to explore and/or review the knowledge displayed in the
wiki and app. In addition to glossary terms and educational
sheets, micro-learning units created in the app complement the
content and the way the curriculum is taught. App activities
include flashcards and mini-games. This set of activities is
part of the training-of-trainers and supports learning activities
to build a blended learning program.
A. Design of online platforms
The target group of the platforms are VET teachers
interested in implementing GBL activities in their teaching
practice. In this context, the primary purpose of the platforms
is to increase the general awareness of teachers regarding
GBL, to provide them with methodological tools and
frameworks as well as with use cases and good practice
examples.
Based on the project objectives, the first step was to
determine the requirements for the platform. These were
defined in workshops and by interviewing teachers from
(vocational) schools (18 in total, nine teachers without and
nine with extensive experience in the use of GBL). In
conjunction to their individual understanding of the concept
of GBL, the teachers were asked how such a platform could
support them in integrating game elements into their lessons.
It was found that the teachers interviewed associated quite
different goals and functions with GBL and, accordingly, the
desired use and strategy of such a platform varied.
Nevertheless, the main aim of the teachers surveyed was to
increase the motivation of students by conveying the learning
material in a fun way. In addition, these teachers believed
GBL could help, among other things, to consolidate
knowledge, gain a deeper understanding of a topic, develop
creativity and develop a sense of constructive competition.
The desired functionalities of such a platform are therefore
broadly diversified. Yet, a majority of interviewees stated that
the platform should be easy to use in terms of finding and
retrieving content and that the examples and games presented
should be sorted by subject, among other things. Contrary to
this preference and with the goal to accommodate the more
occupation-specific subjects in VET teaching, which usually
transcend disciplinary boundaries; no subject-specific
categories were adopted for the platforms. The deliberate
omission of subject-specific categories is intended to
strengthen the platforms’ capacity to promote critical and
creative thinking. In this way, teachers cannot simply copy or
reproduce activities; they have to adapt the content to their
needs while processing some of the theoretical aspects of
GBL. At the same time, users are given the opportunity to
build a community, in which they can interact and exchange
ideas on implementing GBL practices. Game ideas could be
(further) developed interactively and teachers could network
easily, both with colleagues at their own schools as well as
with peers from other educational institutions. A mere
collection of subject-specific game ideas would not be suitable
for this aim. The project partners have therefore developed a
number of descriptive filters that help to sort the content
according to different aspects. The focus is not on subject-
specific factors, but on learning goals, learning approaches
and forms of pedagogical action, among other things. While
the overall design of the GATE:VET platform aims to
accommodate primarily the needs of vocational teachers, it
includes content that may assist teachers at all educational
levels in implementing GBL activities. The different platform
requirements are technically implemented in two different
ways: an online knowledge database in the form of a wiki and
a mobile application.
1) The wiki
The first component of the digital platform is a website
(see Fig. 1). It can be reached via a web browser and is
designed in a wiki format, suited for:
longer entries, as compared to the microformat of the
mobile app;
contributions by users in the form of creating new or
editing existing content;
exchange of ideas and peer learning;
parallel learning about GBL theory and practice
through linkages between glossary and educational
sheets;
content searches with multiple filters.
Fig. 1. Wiki homepage
At the moment, the wiki comprises over 50 educational
sheets and over 70 glossary terms. All entries are organized in
various searchable categories; images, links and additional
files (i.e. resources) can be added to every wiki entry.
2) The mobile application
The second component of the digital platform is a mobile
application. This application is gamified and based on a micro
learning approach. Micro learning is described as “a didactic
concept and approach that uses digital media to provide
limited, coherent and autonomous content for short learning
activities” [29]. It is organized as a toolbox comprising short
articles to provide content as well as mini-games, flash cards
and quizzes to train the users in GBL skills (see Fig. 2).
The application is aimed at driving engagement of the user
through several features:
The format is gamified, to stimulate the interest of
users;
The activities are diversified, to maintain the
engagement of the users;
The activities require minimal time, to facilitate their
completion when users want or are able to;
The progression is monitored with the leader board,
figuring points, badges and awards collected by the
users (see Fig. 2).
The training program offers a combination of learning
resources that covers several pedagogical objectives relating
to GBL:
articles of 1,500 characters maximum, which may
include images and videos;
flashcards, mini games and quizzes, which relate to the
educational sheet or glossary contents and may be used
as gamified training resources on different topics (see
Fig. 3).
Push notifications regularly invite the users to complete
activities and explore the contents. Furthermore, a search tool
(using a search bar based on predefined tags), a rating tool
(using a 5-stars rating option) and a bookmark tool (to save
content) will facilitate exploration of the content. The user
should thus increase knowledge about GBL.
Fig. 2. Mobile app screens showing (from top left to bottom right): the daily
objectives assigned to the user; the list of activities available and
achievement; a new badge collected; the user’s collected badges.
Fig. 3. Mobile app screens showing examples of: the mini-game Memory; a
mini quiz.
3) Articulation between the components
To make the most of the two platforms and facilitate
navigation of the users between both components, the
educational sheets within the mobile app will contain links to
the platform’s wiki. Users will be invited to go to the wiki to
get more information about a particular topic. The mobile app
will be available as WebGL via a web-browser.
The wiki and the app will both be part of the training-of-
trainers workshop, a blended learning program dedicated to
educating multipliers who will share our platforms for
developing GBL knowledge and skills with their colleagues
and within their networks. The mobile app and the wiki will
be used as a digital support to the learning activities of the
training-of-trainers workshop.
With the help of the app, users can playfully explore GBL
contents free of charge in the form of micro-learning units and
practice their knowledge. To take greater account of the
planned establishment of a community, communication tools
such as rating tools (app) and cooperative work (wiki) are
particularly important functions of the platform(s).
B. GBL content
During the course of the project, the participating partner
institutions create a rich collection of basic terms (i.e.
‘glossary’), game ideas and best practices (i.e. ‘educational
sheets’) in the wiki and app. These situation- and context-
related best practices contain instructions for implementation
and link to similar practical examples. In addition, the
collection of basic terms and concepts of GBL on the
platforms enables users to acquire in-depth background
knowledge. The solid knowledge of GBL and the applied
practical examples will enable teachers to transfer their newly
acquired knowledge into their own teaching settings. This is
what sets GATE:VET apart from other databases which often
exclusively present learning games or build up teacher
communities.
1) Glossary
The glossary comprises the definitions of many key
concepts and theories used in GBL. It has been created to help
teachers understand some of the descriptions for and
approaches used in GBL activities. Those terms are also used
to describe and categorize the educational sheets. Glossary
terms are organized in eight subsections: game features, game
genre / type of game activity, key term, learning approach,
learning mode, link collection, theory, and tool.
Entries in this section are usually shorter (limited to 1,500
characters in the mobile app), with the aim of providing useful
and brief explanations of relevant terminology to wiki and app
users. Third party resources can be embedded in glossary
entries (e.g. integrated videos or links toward external
resources). Fig. 4 provides an example.
2) Educational sheets
The educational sheets provide practical examples of GBL
activities to illustrate the application of gamified content in the
classroom. Users can use the search function to filter contents
through eight different category groups: age group, duration
of the game play, game features, learner group size, learning
approach, learning mode, pedagogical goal, and usage rights.
As various categories will apply to each educational sheet (as
entered by the respective wiki entry author), there is also the
option of searching contents with multiple filters.
Consequently, teachers can individualize their search for
suitable content, e.g. look specifically for educational sheets
in a certain age group, for a particular learner group size and
with one or multiple learning approaches. The project
deliberately excluded the option of filtering content according
to subject-specific categories in order to reinforce the
platforms' capacity to foster creative and critical thinking.
When adapting content to their own individual purposes,
teachers need to deal with aspects of GBL theory to a certain
degree, rather than simply copying or reproducing activities.
The format is similar to the glossary section. In addition,
the educational sheets contain a list of relevant categories that
help teachers to filter the proposed activities in accordance
with specific teaching or classroom requirements (see Fig. 5).
V. EVALUATION
The first of two planned multiplier events was held in
November 2020. While initially intended as a face-to-face
event in October, due to temporary travel restrictions, the
event was changed into a fully online format. In view of the
situation and difficulties in finding enough local participants,
the event was postponed to November to allow for proper
planning. The main goal of the multiplier event was the
introduction of the wiki to members of the target group, who
were given an opportunity to try out the platform and share
first impressions of the developing user community.
Fig. 4. Wiki, example of a glossary term, including links to other content in
the wiki.
Fig. 5. Wiki, example of an educational sheet with categories, internal and
external links, and related content.
The event was planned as an interactive workshop that
would give participants time to explore as well as a space for
exchange of experiences and ideas. While initially 21, mostly
local Danish, VET teachers signed up for the event, only 11
of them participated on the day. In three short presentations
the project partners introduced GBL in general, the
GATE:VET project and its outputs, i.e. the wiki and the app
to VET teachers. In facilitated, interactive breakout
workshops, participants exchanged their experiences with
implementing GBL activities in their practice, explored the
functionalities and contents of the wiki and provided
feedback on the wiki and app. While the event provided
feedback on the ongoing development of the project results,
the organization of an online event with a strong interactive
component and a group of participants who do not know each
other proved to be a challenging task at times, especially
concerning the active participation of workshop attendees.
Some participant feedback was already collected during
the workshops in the form of comments, small interactive
exercises and a brief online questionnaire (on the wiki only).
There was a mix of closed and open-ended questions, with
open-ended questions following closed questions allowing
respondents to elaborate on their answer. Examples include:
Do you like using game-based learning activities in
your practice?
Please tell us which parts of the wiki you’d most likely
use (please tick all that apply).
Please rate the following statement: The educational
sheets seem to provide all details needed to prepare
lessons with their help.
Do you generally use a lot of online teaching
resources?
Do you generally like to share teaching resources
(that you have created or modified) with colleagues?
Open-ended questions (also as follow-up) were:
If there was one thing you could change in the wiki -
what would it be?
We’d love to hear more about your response to the
previous question.
The participating teachers rated themselves as having
fairly well-developed digital skills and expressed little
skepticism about finding and using online materials. The
majority of them favor the use of GBL activities or playful
elements in their teaching practice; although some did not
consider this sort of activity useful in all contexts. Only two
of the eight participants who took the online questionnaire
voiced uncertainty about the application of GBL practices.
Overall, the teachers’ responses were positive and included
comments, such as:
I think you should find a way to push your platform to
schools and spread the word. It is clear to see that a
lot of work has gone in to creating the website. I will
definitely share it with my colleagues, or
Great idea with a common platform for teachers! It
takes off some of the workload.
The majority of participants would use the wiki to find
inspiration for their classes and resources for their teaching
practice. However, at least five teachers commented on the
visual design of the wiki, stating it seemed really datedand
“very plain”. While three expressed an interest in creating
own contents and share ideas with the community, none
expressed any interest in the other community building
aspects of the wiki (i.e. commenting on or editing other users
entries). Furthermore, few teachers indicated an interest in
learning more about more theoretical aspects of GBL and
gamification. Most teachers see the greatest value of the wiki
in the collection of resources and believe that the use of these
practical examples gives them sufficient knowledge about
GBL and gamification, as the following comment illustrates:
I don't really read the glossary terms because I think
looking for sheets and seeing games is more relevant
to learn how it works.
The feedback for the app was also largely positive. Since
the multiplier mainly concentrated on gathering feedback on
the wiki and the participants were only briefly introduced to
the app, the collected impressions were less detailed
compared to those of the wiki. In general, the appealing visual
design and user-friendliness of the app were very well
received by the participants.
VI. CONCLUSION
This paper presents the development of a platform for
finding, creating and sharing GBL resources. In developing
the platforms and assessing the needs of education
professionals in the higher education and VET sector,
different and at times contrasting perspectives were identified.
While university level educators, who are often much more
involved in game theory research, seem to put a much greater
focus on learning about the theory of GBL as a significant
qualification requirement of teachers who want to implement
GBL practices [26], vocational teachers are primarily
interested in learning from practical examples, as our platform
requirements analysis and multiplier event evaluation has
shown. It is a delicate balancing act to reconcile these two
positions, with implications for the ways in which effective
VET teacher training methods should be devised. On the one
hand, an overly theoretical approach could pose the risk of
creating an over-complication that may discourage some
teachers with less capacity (and perhaps also less time) to deal
with GBL theory and obscure some of the less problematic
aspects or processes of gamifying learning materials. On the
other hand, attempting to approach a new teaching matter
solely through practical examples could be problematic in that
the potential benefits of a more detailed and theoretic
understanding of GBL may be neglected and teaching
capacity may not be fully realized.
The wiki and app, which were developed within the
GATE:VET project, operate exactly within and feed from the
remit of balancing GBL theory with practice as means to
ground theoretical considerations to actual GBL applications
necessary for a GBL resource to be comprehended holistically
and consciously. To this end, the wiki and app provide the
necessary context for teachers with a variety of practical
examples (wiki educational sheets) and at the same time allow
teachers to delve deeper into the topic of GBL (wiki glossary).
They also offer a very accessible introduction to the theory of
GBL, where the material can be learned in a gamified way
(app). The platform can therefore help education professionals
to understand theoretical and practical aspects of GBL in the
way that works best for them. The platform has the capacity
to resolve some of the difficulties that many teachers face
when designing and implementing GBL activities in their
practice. The platforms not only provide guidance on how to
instantiate suitable GBL content and apply it in real classroom
situations, but also function as a hub for teachers to access and
share content openly and free of charge. Accordingly, another
overarching purpose of creating a digital platform for GBL is
to enable education professionals to easily browse and share
GBL content and resources; and to create GBL teacher
communities that can shape GBL activities, discuss and solve
design-based and content-related problems in embedding
GBL in their teaching practice. This leads to the formation of
a mechanism that uses a community-based approach to create
awareness of GBL and the practice of GBL in different
teaching contexts.
More comprehensive results on the actual use of the
platform will be provided in future research iterations to be
developed in due course. A more comprehensive evaluation
study will be conducted to explore further teachers
experiences in using the platform.
AKNOWLEDGEMENT
This work has been supported by the European
Commission's Erasmus+ programme, under Grant No. 2019-
1- DE02-KA202-006559 GATE:VET.
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