Pursuing Quests: How Digital Games Can Create a Learning Journey

[Using games in a classroom has been traditionally a reward factor. Today many teachers realize that the game-based learning process has real potential to engage students. However, there’s been a problem with how to make this game-based process work as a personalized tool. Discover in this Mindshift article how two professors from Boise State developed an online system built around Quests and how K-12 teachers across the country are now tapping into this tool.]


By Paul Darvasi

Completing missions for rewards is a core mechanic in many video games, including best-sellers like “World of Warcraft,” “Grand Theft Auto,” “Fallout” and “Skyrim.” Quests are diverse and optional, and players can undertake them on their own schedule. Unlike their plastic and cardboard counterparts, digital games leverage a computer’s power to manage elaborate player profiles and track complex, dynamic and personalized task structures. Now that students have increased access to computers and smartphones, the powerful digital engagement system can be put in the service of education.

Taking a page from the video game book, Dr. Chris Haskell and Dr. Lisa Dawley, from the education department at Boise State University, saw the potential for integrating quests and other game elements to deliver coursework. Six years ago, they developed 3D GameLab, a Web-based learning management system that helps run classes in a gamelike, quest-based format.

“A good quest-based curriculum meets the needs of many students by offering a multiplicity of choices that cover standards,” said Haskell.

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Blended Learning in India

[In this Edsurge article you’ll discover a model that uses online learning with direct instruction. The model worked here in the US for Kipp Charter Schools and is now being deployed by an Indian company, Zaya.]

Meg Whittenberger
Sep 29, 2015

half_size_shutterstock_271790024-1443595879On his swing through Silicon Valley this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to improve education for girls and increase opportunities for women. In a Mumbai slum some 4,000 miles away, two local women are doing just that.

Meenu and Manju have little teaching experience, but they are helping to close the literacy and numeracy gap in Malwani, one of Asia’s largest slums. Their schools, which have chipped walls and frequent power cuts, charge students less than $6 per month and struggle to retain certified teachers. Armed with basic tablets, Meenu and Manju have become unexpected evangelists of blended learning.

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Improved Analytics Critical to the Personalization of Online Learning

[In this article from EvoLLLution Michael Horn, the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, shares his insights into how tools, like Knewton, are opening the door for personalizing learning.]

July 31, 2015

Improved data collection and analysis is critical to the expansion of personalized learning in higher education, which itself is central to the move towards a more hybrid and online postsecondary environment.

Improved data collection and analysis is critical to the expansion of personalized learning in higher education, which itself is central to the move towards a more hybrid and online post-secondary environment.

The evolution of technology and technological tools over recent years has positively impacted the effectiveness of online learning, which has transformed into a highly engaging, highly integrated platform for students to pursue post-secondary credentials with maximum flexibility. Of course, as with any technology, there is still room for improvement and growth. Online learning has the space to become even more personalized. In this interview, Michael Horn discusses the current state of personalization in the online learning space and shares his thoughts on what the future might hold for online education.

Click here to read key takeaways.

The EvoLLLution (Evo): How truly personalized is online programming today?

Michael Horn (MH): Online learning today is personalized in the sense that it starts to give students control over the pace of their learning and the time when it occurs. It can offer much more flexibility given the asynchronous technologies.

Where there is still a lack of personalization is in the different pathways that students take towards mastery. Certain programs are certainly addressing this and we’re seeing adaptive learning engines like Knewton appear to do some exciting things to better target and personalize for different students. It still feels like we’re really in the early beginnings of the dramatic revolution that we’ve seen in a lot of other technology sectors where really smart recommendation engines come in and assist the student in picking and choosing their unique path.

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