Gillian Vesty has replaced her traditional budgeting class activity in her accounting course by developing budgeting model activity using gamification technology to engage her students in learning through simulations. In this gamification module, the students are invited to construct their own hotel (3 star; 5 star or backpackers) and manage the product mix (room types and retail options) and associated budgets. They need to determine selling price and where they will spend money (staff, maintenance etc.). Initially, the students do not realise that the simulation places them in competition with each other for market share. There are winners and losers, depending on how well they manage their hotel and the external impacts that arise during the year. The game is played over a period of three years. When students realise that they are competing with each other, they become very interested in how each other is performing. The instructor can also insert an external market to increase the competition if there are only a small number of players. The game is animated using graphic designers and is set on a fictitious Lucro Island. There are characters that provide advice to students and natural events that might occur to offer elements of environmental uncertainty. The graphics and characters provide a light hearted, fun approach to a complex topic.

The model of learning adopted by Gillian incorporates game elements into learning to motivate learners by providing immediate feedback, fun learning environment, “Scaffolded learning” with challenges that increase, progress indicators through points and social connection. Students presenting with games have been shown to be effective for learning “partly because learning takes place within a meaningful context” (Van Eck, 2006, p. 18), which allows for application and practice. Gamification desires to combine intrinsic motivation with an extrinsic one to raise motivation and engagement” (Muntean, 2011, p. 326). Effective games must be “motivating, addictive, and provide encouragement through very short-term goals, so that the player can fail and try again until they succeed” (O’Donovan, Gain, & Marais, 2013, p. 242). Games have been shown to be effective in promoting learning (Annetta, Minogue, Holmes, & Cheng, 2009; de Freitas, 2006; Liu et al., 2014; Van Eck, 2006), and are more motivational for students than non-gaming teaching methods (Batson & Feinberg, 2006; de Freitas, 2006).

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References

Batson, L., & Feinberg, S. (2006). Game designs that enhance motivation and learning for teenagers. Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education, 5, 34 – 43.

de Freitas, S. (2006). Using games and simulations in learning. Learning, Media and Technology, 31(4), 343 – 358. doi: 10.1080/17439880601021967

Liu, M., Rosenblum, J., Horton, L., & Kang, J. (2014). Designing science learning with game-based approaches. Computers in the Schools, 31(1-2), 84 – 102. doi: 10.1080/07380569.2014.879776

Moreno, J. (2012). Digital competition game to improve programming skills. Educational Technology & Society, 15(3), 288-297.

Muntean, C.I. (2011). Raising engagement in e-learning through gamification. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Virtual Learning. Retrieved from http://icvl.eu/2011/disc/icvl/documente/pdf/met/ICVL_ModelsAndMethodologies_paper42.pdf

O’Donovan, S., Gain, J., & Marais, P. (2013). A case study in the gamification of a university-level games development course.Proceedings of the South African Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists Conference, (SAICSIT’13), 242 – 251. doi: 10.1145/2513456.2513469

Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE Review, 41(2), 16