Our mission is to make gameful pedagogy accessible to everyone. But there are infinite ways to do gameful course design. What is the best way to share the approaches we’ve seen so far? Since instructors have to make some changes to their course in order to be gameful, we knew that a clear depiction of the thinking and research behind the application and the approach taken by early adopters may be vital to the success of future users.

The Problem

The GradeCraft website highlights elements of what the platform does and shares a brief description of the philosophy behind gameful learning, but it doesn’t go into depth about what gameful really is, or how these courses function. We hope that by publishing our new pedagogy support site (http://gamefulpedagogy.com), instructors who are interested in “going gameful” will be able to access the information at their convenience, and even start incorporating pieces of the idea into their own classes.

Goals of the Site

  1. Provide a resource for new instructors to learn about what gameful course design is and how to implement it
  2. Provide a resource for existing gameful instructors to find answers to common questions, read example syllabi, and discover new ways to approach common challenges
  3. Help educate potential users of GradeCraft about the application’s intended use and research supporting gameful course design
  4. Begin to address the need for a pre-onboarding experience that requires change in the classroom before setup begins in the application itself

The Process

As the number of GradeCraft users continues to grow, the GradeCraft team saw the need for an “onboarding” resource that would help get gameful courses up and running. We also realized that we needed a way to communicate what gameful pedagogy is, and distinguish it within a complicated educational technology landscape filled from platforms that offer gamification or game-based learning. A site that clearly presented this information in a getting started guide seemed the best place to start.

gameful-pedagogy-sketch

Desktop and mobile mockups in Sketch

After brainstorming the types of content we needed for this site, we began a design process of whiteboard → mockup → prototype → develop → iterate. In the first version of the site, we had little tangible content to work with, and ended up needing to significantly overhaul the original designs once content was written. Since very little programming had been completed, we abandoned the designs and started fresh with a better idea of what we wanted to accomplish with the site.

We kept the look and feel similar to GradeCraft, but not identical, to clarify that gameful pedagogy and GradeCraft exist separately. We also implemented a more modular design methodology so thematic components like the color palette, typography, iconography, buttons, headers were more consistent and easy to update throughout the site.This allowed us to rapidly incorporate feedback and revisions and have the site ready to launch before the next semester of course signups began.

We are looking forward to receiving more feedback from users of the site, especially as we add more content and transition into Fall course preparation.

Takeaways

  • Design around real content. Filler text can give you a false sense of reality about how your page layouts hold up once they are pummeled with actual content.
  • If something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to start over. A lot of times, this results in a better end product!
  • Involve users as early as possible in the process to test assumptions about content and layout. Outside input can shine light on things people intimately involved with the product might not see.