In a series of three presentations at Online Learning 2018.  Here are a few of my reflections on the sessions.

At Ryerson they needed a solution to the challenge of certifying graduates. Collaboration sounded like it was a key component of developing the modules, understanding gamification and ensuring that the modules demonstrated compliance with the new professionally eligibility criteria. Involving key stakeholders and getting ideas for an effective game design is something I have definitely found to be of value.

The reason for using gamification was to make learning more engaging. The engagement in gamification leveraged quizzes, H5P, and likely more they looked for a balance between learning style engagement. Gamified components all reinforced learning outcomes. I have used badges in courses in the past. One of the debates we had as a small group at the reception was around gamification – how to make it meaningful beyond a single course. That is an ongoing discussion.

The second presentation was about psychology. A person gains more from studying, waiting and retrieval practice. I wish this presenter had more time to go into depth around the psychology of gamification. The study – test – study – test reinforces the development of neuro pathways. Using technology as a mode of inquiry as a low stakes way to engage in low stake assignments helps students learn because it removes the fear of failure. Students do a lot of work to earn the marks – the interchangeable rewards of building self-efficacy and learning.

Listening to this presentation reinforced the value of using gamification for marked course components. I use it for non-marked components, which we hope to do research on next term. Her results indicate that students had a plateau effect from repeated attempts, but was based on a small sample size. It would be interesting to compare marked vs. non-marked gamification.

The third presenter was interested in finding collaborators for research. It all boils down to engagement and feedback. There are some disadvantages of gamification (the over justification process).

Conscientiousness is a predictor of success. He asks us to consider gamification as a way to engage students who are not conscientiousness and help them develop those habits. In Steve’s classes there are a lot of due dates (14). If we can get hooks into textbooks we can track when they accessed resources. Are students keeping up? Metrics can be used to track this. He rewards students with conscientiousness points. Students start the class with a bag of consciousness points to give to students that help them. I think that is very interesting. He uses that tracking to inform letters of recommendation. His goal is to reinforce good habits. I found that a very interesting approach.

Gamification can be used to reinforce habits that will make students successful in future courses. 

In the future I hope to reward consciousness and maybe even partner with Steve on future research! I am drafting a research proposal right now looking at gamification across two courses in our BScN program that expands on this work. Maybe we can share results at a future conference. I am also interested in exploring the negative impact of gamification in more depth.


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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