If you are wondering where gamification is going next, arguably your best bet is to ask the experts. And when it comes to the LMS arena, few are more qualified than Branch Up. Since 2014, the team led by Frédéric Massart remains a thought and practice leader. (We have documented as much since then.) Their new features and upgrades are often improvements over no other than themselves. Only in Moodle, more than 3 thousand sites rely on their flagship Level Up! plugin. It is one of the most downloaded plugins ever, and has the most fans among non-themes.
The premise of gamification continues to earn adoption. Which makes it prime victim of opportunistic fortune-seekers. Not really a threat for Level Up! whose outcomes continue to get substantiated evidence. Just because playing a game is fun, creating engaging games with actual results is not necessarily so, as educators often (and painfully) realize.
While the conventional wisdom offer simple-minded, and therefore limited uses for points, coins and badges, Level Up! “breaks the rules” in 2018 by expanding the scope. Both the free and premium tiers now allow to set up unlocking rules across a Moodle site. This means that efforts made in one or more courses could reward students in different courses of the same site.
This expansion of Level Up! can still protect instructor’s control over their own courses, if admins allow it. In which case, instructors can opt-out of a site’s default rules. These an other enhancements in the control will enable educators to expand the scope of games, even beyond the classroom frame.
For 2019, Branch Up’s game will remain strong, Massart promises. “We are even happier that we are able to continually improve Level Up! for teachers, educators and learners. New features are developed based on their feedback.”
To make the most of Level Up! and the new rules, it helps to envision a higher outcome out of your game. First define a desired outcome out of gamification. Retention and engagement (momentum) are always great choices. Next, define the actions that award points according to the goal: Offering points for repeated activities and completing activities within a limited period of time can, respectively, help either outcome. Finally, set up an enjoyable reward that frames learning in a positive light (rather than an unquestioned hurdle). Unlocking a special lesson is usually a winning tactic.
“With the current new features and more coming up, we hope to inspire the community for even more creativity applied to gamified learning,” Massart concludes.
Level Up! is currently available in for the Moodle LMS, versions 2.7 to 3.6. If you are Moodle admin, one-click install is available via the Moodle Plugin Directory.
Learn more about Level Up! and other developments by Branch Up at branchup.tech.
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