Thursday 18 December 2014

Learning Services: Gamification .... initial outcomes

The group presented back today on their ideas around Gamification and its role within our workshops. First observation from me, is wow ... problem based learning sprint activities work really well. The three of them (Aaron, David & Jo) covered some ground, applied it to the context and delivered a though provoking presentation. Well done all :-)

A previous blog outlines the task set. They were given three days, and updated the wider group on progress via our Learning Services Google Community

For me, the key outcomes was gamification can be best described as a way of using game mechanics or processes to enhance learning or engagement. There is a perceived misconception though that gamification means playing games, however this falls inline with more of the Games Based Learning (GBL) approach.

We would look at using more of what is termed ‘Structural Gamification’ to help our workshops. This entails motivators such as ranks, experience points, badges and leaderboards. It’s with this in mind that we shifted our focus from the design of the core workshops to implementing a framework to sustain such gamified workshops and masterclasses. On the flip side ‘Content Gamification’, where game elements and thinking are used to create content could find a place in our in-curriculum programmes. The longer, discipline specific setting would allow us to introduce detailed scenarios.

Their presentation is below.

The next stage is to let the dust settle, encourage those from Learning Services who attended to reflect on the ideas covered, and formulate more questions and add these to the Learning Services space. After which, in the new year (February time), we can explore a small scale pilot within our existing workshop programmes. This is to pilot the methods by which we can add the reward / bonus question within a face to face session.

Image, With Thanks -

Monday 15 December 2014

Where are the e-Learning Developers?

If you are wondering where are the e-learning Developers at the moment? Well, we are on a workshop design development sprint, to look at ways of enhancing our face to face workshops.

The problem

Learning Services at UCS provide a range of generic workshops where the intended learning outcomes are around developing knowledge and awareness, and developing hands-on skills to complete certain tasks. Within this are a number of challenges based on the learner characteristics for the generic sessions, these include; a large range in cohort sizes, large variation in existing skills, knowledge and backgrounds, cross discipline, and cross academic level (undergrads, postgrads and staff).

The range in learner characteristics for our workshops has resulted in many session facilitators being “safe” within their learning designs, they question the effectiveness of sessions as change agents, and wonder about student participation and engagement.

Give this background, recently a member of the team suggested we need to explore the concept of gamification within our workshop designs to re-invigorate our sessions and make them more engaging and effective. Interest in this has gained momentum / buy-in from the Learning Services Management Team.

The task (the product)
  • To present to the Learning Services Management Team, your findings on why and how we can use Gamification to enhance the learning experience within our workshop designs. This should include, two worked up, core topic workshop designs which use different aspects of gamification. The presentation should be 15 minutes, with 10 minutes for questions. All group members should be involved in the presentation.
  • A short report (less than 200 words), including recommendations and an implementation plan needs to accompany this presentation.
  • A short reflection (less than 500 words) on a potential of this approach as a workshop and staff development tool
Guided Questions
  • What are the elements of gamification?
  • How have others implemented it within a similar context to us? What worked, what didn’t?
  • What would a workshop learning design look like?
  • Why might this be better at motivating participation?
  • What could be the issues around implementing this within our context?

With Thanks - Source -

Friday 12 December 2014

Learning Services: Our first MOOCs

Just like to promote the following online workshops which have just been released by the Learning Services team for December 2014. The topics are;
  1. Getting started with information sources
  2. Essay Structure
  3. e-Portfolios for the reflective learner
We are very pleased with these courses as they are collaboratively created across the Learning Services Team. The online workshops are managed through the Coursesites platform by Blackboard. In the majority of cases they are open to anyone. However, some of the courses are for UCS student and staff only, as they use UCS software or require UCS accounts. The courses which are UCS only are clearly labelled "UCS Only".

A number of the courses at tutor lead, therefore, these have set start and end dates. These are clearly labelled "Tutor Led", and will include the start and end dates, and a sign up form. The other courses are student led, and self paced.

All of the courses integrate other online support materials and how to guides, including Learning Service's Assignment Toolkit

What do I get for completing the course?

Inline with our face to face workshops, as recognition of successfully completing the online course you will be awarded a certificate and open badge as recognition of the skills and knowledge you have acquired. More information see the video below (a short story about open badges)

How do I enrol on Learning Services UCS: Study Skills Online (lsucssto1)?

The courses are being taught using CourseSites by Blackboard, an online platform for organizing and securely sharing course materials, online lectures, discussion and other learning activities. To request enrollment into the courses, follow the steps below:
  • Launch a browser and enter the following URL to the course home page:
  • Once at the course home page, click the Request Enrollment button.
  • Enter a valid email address and your full name in the corresponding fields.
  • Optionally, edit the Subject.
  • Optionally, edit the message. The name you enter in the Full Name field will be automatically entered into the signature of the message.
  • Click Submit to send your request.
Shortly after, you will be sent to you a course invitation. Follow the link to confirm and register. When signing up, take note that you can register using existing account information from popular web services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail, Yahoo and Windows Live to make it easier to login.

If you would like more information, please email