Student + Gamification = Engagement? I – SOL53


Peter Isackson

Peter Isackson has worked in France for over 30 years as a consultant, trainer, coach and trainer of trainers. A prolific author, producer and publisher of a wide range of multimedia and e-learning products, he has acquired a reputation as a pioneer in the use of new technology in training, collaborating with multiple publishers in Europe and the US. He has authored programs on sales techniques, foreign languages, intercultural skills, team management and sustainable development. 

He is the founder and Chief Visionary Officer of SkillScaper, proposing next generation authoring tools, methods and content for learning in a Web 2.0 context. 

Since 2015 he has collaborated on educational projects launched by the crowd-sourced online journal, Fair Observer, contributed numerous articles on culture, politics and education and is a member of the Fair Advisory Committee. He is the creator and writer of a daily feature, the Daily Devil's Dictionary.

Peter is currently spearheading the launch of Fair Observer Education, a European NGO which links various initiatives in the field of education with the journalistic innovations of Fair Observer.

In 1995 Peter Isackson was a member of the steering committee that founded Online Educa Berlin. He is an expert with the European Commission in the area of TEL (technology enhanced learning).

Gamification: Learning vs. Engagement aka Boring Knowledge or Empty Showbiz, where is the Tradeoff?

Roberto Alvarez, Multimedia Unit at IE Business School, Spain


When creating online learning materials, it is paramount to balance out the learning objectives, which are the reason for which the material itself is created, and student engagement, as they are who the material is created for. If on one extreme, only the objectives are considered, you might end up just dumping information, and if it is only engagement you pursue, then the gaming industry might suit you better. This does not necessarily mean that there is a tradeoff between learning and having engaging materials, and there is a place where gamification strategies actually enhance the learning experience of the student, and learning objectives are certainly easier to achieve.

Gamification has become a buzzword, however most of the elements that today are grouped under this term have been around for much longer. For instance, a clear example in the business education setting is the famous Beergame. The simulation was created in the 60’s, a time when computer simulated business simulations were at a huge distance from their current capacities, however it incorporated many elements that are today labelled as gamification. So, how do we actually make it work? At IE Business School the importance of gamification is deeply rooted in IE Publishing, were interactive business cases, simulations and tutorials take the form of web developments where students achieve learning objectives driven by high engagement. Gamification elements in these learning materials are no casual events or accidents, they are guided by clear objectives and strategies.

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The presentation will place its focus on the best practices achieved in years of developments, what challenges were encountered down the road, and an overview of the strategy used to deliver superior learning experiences to students. It will show several actual examples of these elements integrated into business cases, how these can be actually used in business education, and try to measure the effect of these elements over the ratings that learners assign to such materials.

Entertainment is not the purpose of including gamification. However, if having fun while going through materials leads to higher quality learning… Why not? Examples will be shown of materials were students roar in joy for their success in simulations, fiercely compete for performance, engage in team collaboration dynamics or betray the trust of their peers to achieve differentiated financial performance for a company that never existed.



Roberto M. Alvarez Bucholska

Roberto works in Madrid as a Project Manager at IE Publishing, where along with a team of programmers, designers, audiovisual professionals and academic staff he creates learning materials for subjects across business areas such as Entrepreneurship, Finance, Marketing, Operations, Information Systems & Technologies among others. Roberto has a Computer Engineering major from Universidad Simon Bolivar and a Master in Business Administration degree at IESA, both in Caracas, Venezuela.

Going Creative: How to Keep Learners’ Engagement in a MOOC Environment?

Emilie Buisine, IÉSEG - School of Management, France; Jeannette EDOUARD & Charlotte GUILLOT, IÉSEG - School of management, France


Going creative: how to keep learners’ engagement in a MOOC environment?


This presentation describes the creation process of a ‘MOOC-to-be’ SPOC about infrastructure finance within a top business school, IÉSEG. It explains how a team of experts in pedagogy, finance, video worked together, pushed the boundaries and produced an innovative ‘MOOC-to-be’ SPOC. It also provides information about the work on the platform possibilities and on the development of an identity design and branding. Finally, it states that, based on first feedback, this course has reached a higher engagement rate from participants and is now part of the school course catalog for 2 ECTS. And it will definitely become more creative and innovative in future sessions.


MOOCs have made a storming entrance in the instructional world as a global learning tool. Many academic and private organizations have been riding this learning wave producing a massive amount of knowledge within easy reach worldwide. This has quickly created a dramatic online offer out from which it was hard to stand as an institution. Also, despite those phenomenal learning opportunities, danger of inefficiency of the learning process was real. Proof may be lying in the very low engagement rate in MOOCs.

So, how to create an engaging and innovative MOOC with qualitative and specific content? How to improve the videos standard as the main learning material of MOOCs? What new assets to bring within a MOOC environment which meet the needs of efficiency in the learning process? 

Those were our main questionings when we started working on our first MOOC back in 2013.


Knowledge does matter and so, why not the learning environment? After an important monitoring on existing MOOCs, we’ve made some moves.

About the videos production, we left the studio to outside locations related with the course topic. Video is a very popular and attractive online media causing more traffic and a possible higher engagement rate.  But the flipside of the coin with popularity and numbers is that the audience’s attention can drop quickly and it easily switches off from a video after less than one minute.
So from pre-production to post-production, we’ve created well-targeted and tailor-made short video-lectures – and also a video teaser - with hopefully some style and pace to optimize the engagement objective we had.  

But our main new idea was to put gamification into the course layout. Gamification brings games-attributes into a non-game context and although it is often used in companies and business schools as face-to-face learning activities, it has never been mixed with MOOCs environment yet. That was a totally new way of learning and could then logically reinforce participants’ engagement. As long as this was doable on a platform, we could started working on ‘gamify’ the course. And we could, and we did.

We first launched this course as a SPOC which perfectly matched our wish to quickly get feedback from close participants that we could analyzed.


Early feedback has proven that our choices in being creative and innovative to rise and maintain participants’ engagement might have been good ones. Even though the engagement rate was a classic MOOC one (2%), 56% of the participants have really liked the game assets making the course more engaging. Born and bred in media culture and so more accustomed to videos, participants were logically less enthusiastic about the videos enhancement or, to be more specific, they were more demanding on the level of video’s enhancement quality.


So, what’s next? We are working on taking the participants’ engagement a step further for future sessions. That would go with improving the team skills and cohesion but also with matching both content and environment more accurately with each other. Hopefully, it will make the course more and more engaging, causing then the learning process to become smoother and more pleasant. Also, the notion of fiction is always close to gamification and video and it is one of our next move in development. A new questioning we may face now could be to find the right balance between the learning process and entertainment: how to keep content and knowledge first without too much distraction?



Emilie Buisine

Emilie Buisine is from a creative background, in video mostly.

She has studied arts and video production in France and Australia. She has worked in both the private and public production fields.

Active in the audio-visual organisations environment in the North of France, she produces many videos formats, from fiction to music videos and interviews, with her own organisation, Chtisfilms creation.

She’s now a full-time employee at IÉSEG. Her work at the CETI, which is IÉSEG Centre for educational and technological innovation, is to produce quality videos for educational purposes for the professors of the school, but also to reflect and research on video production for instructional purposes.

Learnings on Game-Based Learning

Jochen Kranzer & Jörg Hofstätter, ovos media, Austria


Learnings On Gamebased Learning

Serious Games are (mostly digital) games that go beyond pure entertainment. They transport serious content that is, if done well, integrated seamless into the game mechanics of the game.  This medium allows the player to engage with the content while following the rules and task of the game. The simple formula “game objective equals learning objective” merges the players intentions to master the game with a constant examination of learning content and provides a motivating learning experience in the flow of gameplay.

Putting the concept of serious games into practice reveals quickly that it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Though the market for serious games is growing, many use a misguided interpretation of the serious games concept. The “learning part” and the “game part” are living side by side and do not form a coherent whole. The pattern “solve problem first” then “you get a reward“ (mostly in form of a mini game) is a common tactic. But even if you put aside these examples, creating a serious game still has numerous pitfalls that impede their development. High production costs and the uncertainty of learning transfer are only two of them.

In the past years another concept has established itself besides serious games - the concept of gamification. Gamification promises to provide tools that enable us to transfer the motivation of games onto non-gaming activities, learning habits and behaviour that usually are quite resistant for any kind of enthusiasm. However, we reached a point where we have to ask some critical questions about this hype, especially in the context of business. Does gamification keep its promises of being able to playfully motivate employees to do nearly any activity? Or could this be an empty promise?

People love to play. The amount of time they spend for digital games - voluntary and highly motivated, is astonishing. The satisfaction of this intrinsic motivation comes from the activity itself.  Complementary, extrinsic motivation is provided in form of incentives, including virtual (points, badges etc.) and real (boni and presents) rewards.

Even though psychological studies have proven years ago, that mechanism based on intrinsic motivation have a long lasting effect, many gamified systems that are used in the economy are still relying exclusively on external incentives to motivate their players. Points and badges are more than just the icing on top of the cake! The amazing power of gamification can only be achieved if enough time is invested in creating a system where gamified processes are an integral part of the learning experience. The following aspects are crucial to this “gamified redesign”:  Feedback (Where am I? What is my next goal?), autonomy (Do I have the freedom to choose how to reach my goals?), social connections (My contributions are valued. I am part of a whole.) as well as purpose (Why the heck am I doing this?).

Gamification is a young discipline at the edge of becoming a professional player. If we manage to integrate the insights of psychology and motivational research into usable applications, we are looking into a future with the best implementations of gamifications yet.  


Jochen Kranzer, ovos
Online EDUCA Berlin 2015




Jochen Kranzer is managing partner at ovos and responsible for game- and productdevelopment. ovos designs playful learning experiences in different formats (serious games, gamified learning platforms, gamebased corporate training, …) and for multiple platforms.



Jochen Kranzer

Jochen Kranzer, DI is managing partner and head of game design at OVOS realtime3D . Back in the days, he produced an award-winning installation for his master’s degree in architecture, building a virtual 3D Environment of an ancient city plaza where the user could travel in time. A game aficionado, intrigued by game technology since the age of 13, he eventually made his real passion a profession. Today, Jochen masterminds most games and interactive concepts and products at OVOS and developed a deep passion for playfull learning experiences. He designed and led the development of "Ludwig", "Lern Deutsch", the "ovos play Gamedesigner" and many more. In his spare time, he teaches game design at FH Hagenberg and TUW, drives his old VW Bus and plays with his little son.