How To Motivate Your Students Online
For a few years now, BBA INSEEC has been working alongside several other partners, such as UCL, UPV/EHU, Lab University of Applied Sciences, H&N services, and O&D from INSEEC U. on a European project called E-REACKT. E-REACKT stands for eLearning revision activity and collaborative knowledge teaching. The aim is to reduce as much as possible the number of dropouts during the first cycle of higher education through different methods. With a diversity of content, the development of healthier study habits, and a better follow-up from teachers, we strongly believe students can feel more motivated to keep on studying and succeeding.
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Enhancing Student Motivation Through Gamification
To meet our expectations, we created a web app called Academ’Quiz. In a few words, teachers create quizzes with questions, answers, and pedagogical notes on a topic of their choice. Then, students connect on Academ’Quiz and start to play. It is easing their way until graduation! It also presents many advantages for students and teachers.
Boring revision can stem from a lack of diversity in content. Academ’Quiz tackles this potential issue with three different playing modes and a diversity of questions. Students can play with three different modes: 1) white mode (solo without any timer), 2) red mode (solo with a timer), and 3) duel mode (compete against their friends). For each quiz played, students win some points. Whatever the playing mode, students can find different kinds of questions in the game. Teachers and students can create questions with text only, but they can add questions with a picture or an audio file as well. For each question, a player has to choose the right answer among four possible answers. When creating questions, students and teachers sometimes add some fun with totally out-of-the-box wrong answers. If revising can feel like a serious business for some of us, some fun cannot hurt. On the contrary, it can help defuse some stress!
Moreover, using Academ’Quiz over a semester can help students organize their revisions more easily and less painfully. On the one hand, few students, especially in the first cycles of higher education, manage to plan short revision periods to avoid saturation. Enrolling them in an Academ’Quiz game session allows them to revise in small sessions throughout the day, at “lost” times (while waiting for the bus, between two lessons, while having a coffee, etc). On the other hand, after the planned revision session, students can do a white solo on a course they have just revised. This can reassure them about their level, put them in a situation to answer questions about what they have just learned, and allow them to identify the chapters of a course on which they still have some difficulties. If they embark on a red solo or a duel, they may be asked questions about their other courses, thus facilitating the transition to revising another subject.
Better Self-Organization During Revisions
During their review cycles, students tend to compartmentalize their courses: “I will start by reviewing marketing and when I’m done, I will move on to finance.” This planning in itself is reassuring and provides a framework, but it is also stressful if a student is falling behind or is feeling overwhelmed by the number of other courses to review. If they introduce a few games from Academ’Quiz in their schedule, they will still have an impression that they are starting to revise other courses without pressure. As a result, they will manage their stress better.
Scheduling a game session at the start of a semester can also help students organize themselves: Starting with a few games, reviewing only the chapters in which they detect weaknesses, and then intensifying their revisions, with or without Academ’Quiz, at the end of a semester before exams. Students, especially academic ones, find it difficult to take breaks during weeks of intense revision. Offering a tool allowing them to work without being aware of it, revise in another way, break the rhythm of revisions without leaving it, and space it, can help reassure them and avoid burnout at the end of a semester.
Finally, when a question is created by a teacher or a student in Academ’Quiz, a level of difficulty is associated with the new question: beginner, intermediate, expert. You can create courses for different study levels. For instance, first-year students will have a course with beginner questions only. On the contrary, you can create a course with a mix of levels. Students can always be challenged by more questions that are difficult, without having the feeling of systematically failing, being able to answer less challenging questions. This way, you give a break and a confident progress perspective to your students.
Advantages Of Gamification For Teachers
As far as teachers are concerned, advantages are mainly concentrated in the back office. For each student of a selected game session, teachers can see a certain amount of data, such as the number of connections, the time spent in a game session, the number of white, red solos, and duels. These visual indicators (colored arrows) are dynamic and illustrate the progress of a student (for example, if they have played less or have regressed in a subject) during a game session. Better still, teachers can refine the analysis. It is possible to configure the game period on a session they want to analyze to know at which period of the session a student dropped out. It is also possible to sort the results of students by last name, first name, and indicator (ascending or descending). All these results can also be exported as an Excel file.
A teacher can see quickly and interact with a student during the next class or contact them to discuss and set up some help. If the success rates of your student in a subject are much lower than your colleagues’, you may need to contact your colleagues and the student to discuss it. Finally, if it is possible to set up game sessions around the same academic theme (for example, as part of a language course, create a game session with a vocabulary course, a grammar course, a course in listening comprehension, etc.), it is also possible to create multidisciplinary game sessions. It requires more coordination between colleagues, but the game is worth the effort! Indeed, in a multidisciplinary session, you will have the opportunity to identify cases of students in partial or relative failure (excellent in certain subjects, in total loss in others), but you will also be able to play on the motivation of these students. Even if the results are not there in certain subjects, students will have a feeling that they are catching up on others and will be able to identify more easily their strengths and weaknesses in their university programs. They can then adapt their learning strategy with Academ’Quiz, like playing more white solos on courses where their results are low.
BBA INSEEC students have been using it for two years now and they enjoy themselves through different modes. Even in a worldwide pandemic and studying from home, their academic results have shown a great improvement, thanks to Academ’Quiz. Fond of our work, we will be glad to present it to a targeted public of potential users: students, teachers, and deans.