Evidence of success.

I LOVE the bonus work, gamefication.  Please don’t ever stop them. 


Shared Decision Making

In all courses, students suggested the rewards they wanted. This shared decision-making promoted student engagement and enhanced the perceived value of rewards. Students were introduced to badging and presented with a beginning list of badges. The brainstorming session included a discussion of what the rewards could be and which ones were worth more work than others. Students were also invited to suggest additional badges to be added to the course. Many of the innovative reward ideas came from the students. For example:

Interestingly, the ones suggested by students were more work than the ones suggested by students. They were also related to extra-work.

fancycrave1 / Pixabay



Anecdotal evidence suggests that overall, students enjoyed badging. Some students were quite passionate and involved in earning badges. They acted as promoters of badging among their peers. The year-end survey responses below need to be interpreted with caution as the response rate was low.

BSN 1007 Did you enjoy badging

Response from BSN 1007

Response from BSN 1194

Some of the activities students enjoyed included:



Students reported that badging was viewed as helpful to keep up with homework. In future more game tools/badges can further support staying up to date with homework, motivating students to stay on track and not falling behind. Depending on the student, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be enhanced by badging. Some students are motivated by earning the reward (extrinsic) while others reported that they were more motivated by the fun in the actual activities (intrinsic). For example, one student kept playing the “APA Sleuth” game over and over despite not being able to earn more than one badge. They found the game itself fun.

I really like your APA sleuth game as it’s really helping me learn it. I have never learned APA before so I am still extremely new at it. I took a look at your learning activity 3 and tried to find all the errors I could. …

~Year 1 Student Email

ProSmile / Pixabay


Students respond well to being acknowledged for work that is required but not graded for a course. Moving towards a rewards-based (rather than a punitive) approach to learning can be supported by badging. For example, students felt a sense of recognition for the effort required to complete pass/fail evaluative component included in clinical, lab and practice lab. Several student informal reports suggest that earning a clinical star was a great indicator of their clinical success and achievement.

Students were engaged by “getting an email that I achieved a high A badge!” One student indicated in conversation that receiving this email was a needed boost to her confidence during a difficult week. She was in the middle of preparing for scenario testing and questioning if she had the ability to become a nurse. When she got the email it reshaped her perspective and promoted her success in other courses. The high A badge was appreciated by both groups that used it.

Acknowledgment for the effort is important, whether it is worth marks or not.

geralt / Pixabay


Supporting Learning and Student Engagement

Activities were designed to help students learn material that reinforced course content. As one student indicates: “The review class. HUGE HELP!: Students felt better prepared for the final exam as a result of the review class. The badges associated with the exam review were the most affirming in the course. As one student indicates “Getting badges for an exam review kept everyone more motivated.”

Badging afforded students more opportunities to be successful. Some rewards enabled students to fix errors, get in-depth feedback prior to assignment submission, and increase their grade.

Activities that were perceived most helpful related to APA, being able to suggest test questions and completing quizzes.

I liked how we were able to get badges by doing the little quizzes each week or by reviewing the attached moodle documents

~ Fourth Year Student

Recognition, in the form of rewards, was appreciated by those who participated. Students particularly liked:

Badging offers students an alternate way to interact with course content in meaningful ways. It supports flexible learning.

I participated more as I am shy to participate in class.

~Fourth Year Student


Pushing for Excellence

The competitiveness that gamification promoted in the class pushed students to do their best. Students appeared to value the completion of badged activities. They saw the opportunity to earn more marks and requested more badging opportunities. These requests ultimately lead to more engagement in course activities.



Gamification is optional, but reminders of due dates for claiming rewards or earning certain badges helped students who wanted to earn badges. Due to the busy nature of the nursing program, gentle reminders are recommended but need to be balanced against being seen as coercion.


Instead of assigning rewards to a specific badge, allowing students to choose what reward to cash points in for improves buy-in. This structure was recommended by fourth-year students and enjoyed by students in the following semester. This approach means students are more likely to be motivated to participate since they can pick the reward that is the most meaningful to them. We recommend the point system for future courses.



Note: Data for this analysis were extracted from official student feedback results collected at midterm, course evaluations done via anonymous google forms after the course was completed, unsolicited anecdotal evidence collected throughout the term, and teacher self-reflection. Ethics deemed this work quality improvement and therefore did not need formal ethical approval.