Motivating student mastery through gamification

At a Glance:

  • Facilitates mastery of basic skills

  • Gamifies collaborative learning

  • Taps into students’ competitive instincts

The LeaderBoard system gamifies the classroom in order is to encourage collaborative learning and to help students achieve mastery over basic skills. At the beginning of class (virtual or f2f), students receive worksheets that, when completed, yield a secret word or phrase. After having worked the problems, the student types the secret word or phrase into a text box. If they’re right, the student receives a congratulatory message and his or her name is publicly displayed on a ‘LeaderBoard’ --  a webpage showing the names of all those who completed the task, in order of completion. If the submission is incorrect, the student receives an error message and can try again after a few minutes (a lockout period can be set by the instructor to discourage random guessing). Any number of LeaderBoard activities can be recorded and displayed on the same Leaderboard page, either individually or as a table.


By tapping in to their competitive instincts, the LeaderBoard motivates students practice basic skills either individually or in a team-based setting, where participants are incentivized to help teammates who are struggling with exercise to ensure that the whole team will be in a strong position for the next assignment. Moreover, students who find themselves stumped by the worksheets can use the LeaderBoard as a way of finding others in class who can provide guidance on how to proceed.

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