In most cases, the delivery of simpler gamification elements such as badges, points, and leaderboards is similar for both face-to-face and online courses. As most of these elements are awarded or tracked outside of lecture time the course delivery mode doesn’t have a significant impact. Learning management systems such as D2L have integrated badges that can be tied to specific tasks and automatically awarded. Open online tools such as Mozilla’s Open Badges can also be used in a similar way but require a different level of administration and costs.
Unlike the simpler gamification elements, quest-based learning requires a change in pedagogical approach, particularly with face-to-face delivery. As many courses are designed to support linear learning, in-class instructors need to adjust content delivery to support out-of-order processing. To some, this task may seem daunting.
The Quest-based Flip
One approach might be to pair a flipped-classroom with quest-based learning. This would see the instructor play more of a facilitator and support role as opposed to a traditional lecturer. Students would choose their learning modules or path as they desired and the instructor would facilitate examples and applied work. It is unclear how well this approach would scale to larger classes but could be suitable for smaller groups.
Another approach might use a hybrid linear and quest-based learning model whereby a course might begin with a few weeks of foundational content before allowing students to follow their desired path afterwards. A closing linear content section could be optionally added as needed as well. We are particularly interested in the potential and challenges of face-to-face quest-based learning models and are currently working on a set of guidelines and procedures to help instructors adapt their courses with the use of OERs (link to OER module again) to populate content models.
Online course delivery is potentially more straightforward for a QBL approach. If thoughtfully designed to use self-contained content, exercise and media modules such as OERs, online courses can leverage the flexibility and student agency that QBL offers. One concern with online courses is ensuring that instructors and teaching assistants are prepared and willing to grade materials submitted by quest-based learners at various times and in different orders. While one student may be submitting assignment 2 by the end of the first month, another may be submitting assignment 5. This may be more of a concern with larger class sizes.
In Laura’s experience deadlines need to be set for some students while others function very well with flexible due dates. Instead of dictating what needs to be submitted it is possible to be flexible with what is submitted instead. The instructions could indicate that by a certain due date X number of assignments need to be submitted instead of providing specific due dates for each assignment.