Gamify Online Courses with Tools Built into Your Learning Management System (LMS) to Enhance Self-Determined and Active Learning

Cheng-Chia (Brian) Chen


“Gamified” active learning has been shown to increase students’ academic performance, engagement, and make more social connections than standard course settings. However, the costs to use an educational game design with efficient delivery of the game/course plan can be problematic. Our first objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of gamification by using existing techniques (e.g., simple HTML-based games) and readily available collaborative tools (e.g., Wikis) from a typical learning management system (LMS) such as Blackboard. Moreover, our second objective was to examine students’ attitudes towards gamification (e.g., usefulness). Data were collected from 2015 to 2017 (n = 80) at a Midwestern university in the United State using a mixed methods approach. For the quantitative method, online surveys were conducted in an experimental group (class with implementation of gamification) and control group (class without any gamified activities) that were randomly selected from graduate level statistics courses. For the qualitative method, the researcher conducted semi-structured interviews with subjects who addressed their interests to be interviewed during the online survey. A Welch’s independent t-test revealed a significant difference (p < 0.001) in the mean exam scores of experiment and control groups. A difference favored the classes with gamification. More than 70 % of students agreed that gamified activities were either extremely or highly useful in helping them review and/or understand fundamental concepts. In conclusion, using built-in LMS tools to design gamified learning activities may enhance students’ learning outcome/effectiveness, provide more diversified learning methods and motivation, and offer easy modifications for different learning needs.


Gamification; game-based learning; online learning; engagement

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