How do students differ in gamified education?


Gamification of University-level courses is becoming a common practice, as many professors decide to try offering their students a more engaging learning environment. Nevertheless, we still do not have a clear idea on how individual students engage differently with a gamified course. But now a detailed, long-term study from the University of Lisbon has presented some insightful observations on this topic.

During the course of their study, the researchers observed three editions of a gamified University of Lisbon course on Multimedia Content Production. The course employed a blended learning method that combined theoretical lectures, lab classes, and an online Moodle component where students engaged in discussions and completed online assignments.

Throughout the years, the researchers have learned from the experience and improved the course’s gameful design. A general observation from the student’s feedback is that they all felt the gamified course was indeed more engaging than the previous non-gamified editions. However, there were some noticeable differences on how individual students engaged with the course, which the researchers sought to investigate.

Continue reading

Positive Computing: A novel research field to promote human well being

Technology has undoubtedly improved at vertiginous speeds in the last decades. However, there is no evidence that all this technology is helping increase the people’s general wellbeing. Calvo and Peters have attributed this to the fact that most technology professionals keep a machine-focused view of their work, avoiding to look at anything related to the user’s wellbeing. Nevertheless, recently there has been a growing body of efforts related to using technology to improve human wellbeing. Calvo and Peters refer to this new research field as Positive Computing.

Continue reading

A Place for Students to Shine at the ACM UIST Conference 2016 in Tokyo

The UIST student innovation contest (aka the “SIC”) is one of those rare moments in a student’s life: a chance to present work at the heart of one of the top venues in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). In fact, UIST (i.e., ACM’s conference for User Interface Software and Technology) is often acclaimed as the top conference for those driven by hardware / software novelty, mad inventors of the HCI kind, and the likes.

So if you are a student interested in HCI and never had a chance to visit one of the main conferences, here’s your chance; because the UIST SIC is not only a place to meet some of your favorite researchers while they try out your demo, it is also a remarkable conference to learn about the bleeding edge of the field, a financially supported opportunity for those teams that have less support by applying the UIST SIC travel grants,` a chance to get some fabulous prizes — there’s 3K USD for the winning teams but also participation awards — last but not least, it is your chance to get in touch with some novel hardware: electrical muscle stimulation:

Continue reading

Thoughts on Usability studies

In the last months, I conducted a few usability studies and upon reflecting on these I decided to share my experience as it might be helpful to anyone starting on usability. This article attemps at summarizing my experience and thoughts on usability experiments.

When trying to start a usability study or experiment, the practitioner or researcher must answer some initial questions about their future work.

Regarding your research, in general, the most important question to answer  is “What is my motivation or why I am doing it?”. In a few words, as a  researcher, you must not only formulate your research question but also, its answer.

Research methods are here to help you create and solve a new question on usability, user experience and also, on human-computer interaction.

Continue reading

An Introduction to Gamification in Human-Computer Interaction

User experience (UX) is a field within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) that studies the whole experience of a user with a product, system, or service. UX focuses on  issues such as usability, ergonomics, cognitive load, and affective experiences. However, in the last years, there is a particular growing interest in understanding users’ motivation to use a product, system, or service. This interest is spawned by observable low engagement rates: it is not enough to have a useful system, one needs to also motivate and engage users in it. One possible solution to this comes from a field of study is called gamification or gameful design1, because its main inspiration comes from understanding the factors that make games fun and motivate people to play them voluntarily with so much engagement. Continue reading