Testing the implementation and impact of a gamification plugin for Canvas LMS in an introductory physical geology course

Friday 11:15-11:45am PT / 12:15-12:45pm MT / 1:15-1:45pm CT / 2:15-2:45pm ET Online


Cinzia Cervato, Iowa State University
Imtiajul Alam, Iowa State University
Michael G. Brown, Iowa State University
Larysa Nadolny, Iowa State University

This poster illustrates the results of the implementation of a personalized gamified dashboard integrated into the Learning Management System (LMS) of a large-enrollment introductory physical geology course. While there is literature on the impact of geoscience-themed games on student learning, gamification is still a new concept in geosciences, particularly technology-based.
The dashboard, called Delphinium, includes the most widely used gamification components, e.g., progress trackers, badges, rewards, and a leaderboard, to offer individual students accomplishment and instrumental goals to motivate them to engage with the course content organized in modules in the LMS. 
We measured the impact of this single gamification component on the performance of students enrolled in one section of the course (N=137) and compared it to the performance of students enrolled in a second section (N=86) taught in person by the same instructor in fall 2019. We compared the number of times users accessed the dashboard and the number of page views from the LMS, exam scores, and final grades. Students in both sections completed the Science Literacy Concept Inventory (SLCI) at the beginning and end of the semester. 
Using their SLCI score as control, students with access to Delphinium performed on average 13% better than students in the control section. Analysis of LMS data showed that students in the gamified section accessed the LMS more frequently and that the dashboard provided them with an early and significant advantage in the course.

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