Educational Gamification Design Principles and Formative Feedbacks: Overcoming Inappropriate Postings in Discussion Thread


What is Gamification? Gamification is the craft of deriving all the fun and addicting elements found in games (Konopelko & O’Broin,2017) and applied in real-world activities such as learning. Dealing with a learner who posted something inappropriate in a discussion, immediate short feedback using alternative means of communication such as the “message tool” or a private feedback discussion area for a private message is essential to guide the student to the right track following the prescribed rubric of the assigned topic. Incorporating education gamification design principles in combination with formative feedbacks make the learning experience more fun, more “real” and engaging, leading to the perceived enhanced value of the educational exercise.

The education gamification design principle “Freedom to fail” as stated by Haaranen et al., (2014), Berkling and Thomas, (2013), De Byl and Hooper, (2013), Hentenryck and Coffrin, (2014)) presumes no penalties on poor choice or task performance allowed students to revise and re-submit assignments, or go back to the discussion thread and post a relevant argument. Then the student will have the chance to reclaim the conversation, and apply the principle “Freedom of choice” where he/she could weave together the contributions of other students in the class. In this way, as educators, we show empathy; at the same time, help our learners develop empathy. We have the chance in this scenario, to remove the notion of a “tribe of one,” loyal to one party, but rather induce collaboration for the better good. It will add up to a flight of discussion and rebuttal, nurturing a conversation of ideas, a forum where creative partnership thrive. Hybrid formative feedbacks could promote interest and the drive to deeply engage in a discussion forum, transforming the gaming concept to positive addictive behavior that encourages collective intelligence (CI). CI or group intelligence in a class will then eclipse any inappropriate discussion post and reverse the probable implication of negativity to positivity. Feedback to students that is informed by insights derived from both personal and professional experience make the feedback process “more real” to support one’s development as a reflective, resilient, and humanistic professional in their field of choice. Formative feedbacks can illuminate students’ personal and professional growth.


Berkling, K., & Thomas, C. (2013). Gamification of a Software Engineering course and a detailed analysis of the factors that lead to it’s failure. Int. Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, (pp. 525–530). Kazan, Russia. doi:10.1109/ICL.2013.6644642

De Byl, P., & Hooper, J. (2013). Key Attributes of Engagement in a Gamified Learning Environment. 30th ASCILITE Conference, (pp. 221–229).

Haaranen, L., Ihantola, P., Hakulinen, L., & Korhonen, A. (2014). How (not) to introduce badges to online exercises. In J. Dougherty, & K. Nagel (Ed.), SIGCSE ’14 (pp. 33–38). Atlanta, GA: ACM.

Hentenryck, P. V., & Coffrin, C. (2014). Teaching Creative Problem Solving in a MOOC. In J. Dougherty, & K. Nagel (Ed.), SIGCSE’14 (pp. 677–682). Atlanta, GA: ACM

Konopelko, M., & O’Broin, D., (2017). Helping Students to Internalise Standards Through Gamification. European Conference on Games Based Learning, 890.

Turkle, S., (2016). Reclaiming conversation: The power of talk in a digital age. Penguin.

Wald, H. S., & Weiss, B. (2018). Making it “More Real”: Using Personal Narrative in Faculty Feedback to a Medical Student’s Reflective Writing–An Illustrative Exemplar. MedEdPublish, 7.

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