Then I discovered 3dgamelab, and everything changed. Since 2013, it is the design I use, and shown in this video
It has three main advantages, in my experience:
- formative assessment - This is different from summative assessment (i.e. a typical exam - write the exam, get a grade, move on). In formative assessment, the student will produce a learning artifact of some kind, but if it doesn't meet the requirements, I will send it back. Thus, the student learns through that feedback.
- increased student engagement through active learning - I have dispensed with the lecture series (my lectures are now available on YouTube), and use the classroom time for students to do labs or simulations, keeping them active.
- increased student agency - students can choose from a smorgasbord of assignments and complete them at a time of their choice.
The effects have been palpable, and it seems to me that the scholarship on teaching methods generally provide support for the veracity of the model. Next week, I'm presenting a paper on my experiences. Here is the abstract:
Gamification consists of the introducing game mechanics into activities to engage users with motivation beyond what is normally expected. Properties include introducing points accumulation, badges, levels, leaderboards, challenges or quests, customization, economies, avatars, and role-play. When introduced into education in the form of game-based learning, such elements can raise student motivation as well as decision-making capacity and cognitive development as students are given increased control over their learning path. In 2013, I changed my political science course design using the learning platform 3dgamelab. The experience was transformative on many levels, including learning achievements and the instructor-student relationship. This paper describes those experiences for the purpose of demonstrating the utility of game-based learning when teaching political science in higher education. It provides an overview of the literature on game-based learning in education and the significance of some integral components of a course design using 3dgamelab, including elements like active learning, the flipped classroom and formative grading. This literature provides important context for the experiences I have made transforming a lecture based course design to a game-based one. Five courses have now been delivered using this framework at the 200 and 300-level in Comparative and Canadian politics, with class sizes varying between 8 and 75 students. The paper identifies opportunities for instructors as well as potential sources of problems and how to re-think how political science education can be delivered in a more engaging way.