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Students learn to win with gamification

Lauren Brousell | Aug. 12, 2013
As 30-somethings go back to college to earn a first or a new degree, they sometimes need a bit of a confidence boost to re-engage with learning. At Kaplan University, students are rewarded with badges and higher rankings on leaderboards as they master skills and accomplish goals.

Lytle says with a for-profit university like Kaplan, the investment is worth it even if the results were minute. "Anything that improves students' outcomes is a good idea. If it works, it becomes embedded into how people do things over time."

Watching Gamification Grow
The results were enough for DeHaven to expand the pilot from the initial class of 30 students to a total of 700 students, including the school of business. DeHaven is currently in Phase 2 of the project where he plans to integrate social networks so students can get LinkedIn endorsements and share their badges on Facebook.

"As they move towards the competencies of their degrees, we will test them for those competencies and expose the badge on Facebook or LinkedIn," DeHaven says. "We can discreetly test for those skills and prepare them for their careers."

Down the line, DeHaven hopes to turn the tables and use gamification with the Kaplan faculty. He's interested in seeing how they could measure the faculty's performance and how they engage with their classes. However, DeHaven jokes, "I'm not sure how the PhD's will respond to it."


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