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Conference Presentation

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The purpose of this research is to analyze the effectiveness, and student's self-reported engagement with gamification tools on a student's learning of technical concepts when used in a project-based learning (PBL) engineering classroom environment. Gamification, as defined in this study, is the use of game-based elements such as online audience response systems with automated feedback in non-game situations. By adding gamification to the classroom, we hope to further build on the active and collaborative learning environment that our PBL program already provides. Five gamification activities were implemented during the Fall 2017 semester with junior and senior student engineers enrolled in Iron Range Engineering, a program of Minnesota State University, Mankato. The Iron Range Engineering (IRE) model is a project-based-learning program in which students work closely with industry on design projects throughout their 3rd and 4th years. The goal of this program’s approach is to prepare and produce graduates with significant integrated technical and professional knowledge and skills to enter the engineering workforce. The three game-based online platforms along with two hands-on activities were used in six technical courses: Signals & Systems, Engineering Economics, Statistics, Linear Control Systems, Lean Principles, and Electric Machines. All five gamification tools allowed for real-time assessment, so students were given instant feedback from the game on their level of understanding of a technical concept. The in-class gaming activities were used in approximately five instances within the six courses; with about 8 - 12 participants in each class (n is approx 300 student gaming interaction instances). Feedback was collected via student surveys, student and faculty reflections and data received automatically by the game programs. Preliminary analysis of student feedback and faculty reflections indicates increased learner motivation, enhanced review of technical content and an upbeat atmosphere to the classroom. Faculty reflections also noted that the use of games that allow learners to answer the questions individually helped faculty identify those students who had successfully mastered the concepts, which allowed the instructor to structure peer-to-peer active learning opportunities during class more effectively. Future work includes analyzing test scores, and other measures of long-term retention of concepts. Overall, use of these gamification tools was found to be a significant addition to the project-based learning environment at Iron Range Engineering, bringing value to the overall learning process and will continue to be used to improve our teaching and student learning.


Integrated Engineering