by Petros Lameras

What are teachers’ experiences of using GBL and how do such experiences influence practice?

Key findings were that teachers’ perceptions of GBL were varied from retaining knowledge into memory and helping students to understand the topic to addressing a learning goal and developing constructive competition. Teachers’ approaches to using a GBL hub spanned from searching content and discovering GBL for creative use to creating GBL communities.
Research insights can be applied in practice by utilising the mapping between teachers’ perceptions of GBL and approaches to using a GBL hub would encourage the design and categorisation of GBL content to align with teachers’ actual practice most meaningful and relevant to them. An interesting study would be to build on these preliminary findings and identify perceptions and dimensions that would be inclusive and hierarchically structured delineating a more developmental set of GBL perceptions and approaches along with their influences. Limitations arise from our study in terms of its context-specific nature that may not be generalisable to other contexts. However, in that it revealed, teachers’ perceptions of GBL are instrumental in better understanding approaches to using GBL which in turn would inform the design of GBL systems and resources. Teachers would be keen firstly to understand what GBL means to them and how it connects with their teaching conceptions, strategies, and processes. The results from our study showed that teachers had varied conceptions of GBL spanning from helping students to register and retain knowledge and gain understanding of the topic to developing a sense of competition and attaining an in-game learning goal.

These varied conceptions may be mapped to approaches to teaching GBL from searching and accessing GBL contents and discovering GBL resources for creative use to creating GBL communities. A community-based structured to GBL is the key for helping teachers to gain an awareness of and develop a conception for GBL. Learning from others, sharing, reusing and repurposing GBL activities and content as well as providing feedback on GBL models, features and engagement mechanisms may pave the way for a more community-based support to GBL development and training.
An online hub for teachers to easily find and retrieve GBL content would be central. Of course, teachers would need guidance and support on how such resources could be reused and repurposed hence the development of a GBL community of teachers would alleviate the challenge of finding ways on how to best utilise GBL. GBL is more than a set of tools, strategies, or features, it is about encouraging creativity, empowerment, resilience and situating learning into a context. To this end, we have created a mapping of teachers’ conceptions of GBL with approaches to GBL teaching. The table on page 31 illustrates the mapping between conceptions and approaches in terms of offering a paradigm of how different conceptual under-pinnings may resonate with actual GBL implementations.
To support the discovery of GBL content for creative use teachers may retrieve content-based games and gamified assignments that would inspire how to represent and visualise content creatively.
GBL communities around different ways of representing, visualising and assessing GBL content may be formed. In theme B, the focus is on understanding the topic hence searching for applied-based GBL and context-aware games would enable use of GBL for complex meanings. Discovery of GBL resources for creative use may encompass
repurposing lesson plans and gamified simulations with problem-based scenarios. Community development would convey GBL aspects around applying theory into practice. In theme C, associating learning goals in GBL is in the foreground of participants’ experience. Searching for gamifying learning outcomes would enable teachers to assign GBL learning goals. Discovering GBL for creative use may be in the form of mapping goals to GBL templates. Communities around how to design and represent goals in GBL would assist in the design of goal metrics. In theme D, the focus is on constructive competition as a process of instigating progress and collaborative mechanisms for learning development. Searching for competitive GBL would highlight the competitive and collaborative elements of the perception. Discovering GBL content for creative use could be around game design collaboration templates. Community building for supporting GBL would help on designing creative GBL for promoting competition and collaboration.

An ecosystem for using immersive technologies for education…

Mapping GBL theory to practice…

GBL can…
provide a process and a pedagogical approach to learning and teaching in playful and context-based ways. GBL
is all about activities, self-direction and acquiring a gameful perspective to learning.

GBL cannot…
replace or substitute the essence of formal learning and teaching which is having specific learning outcomes, assessment and feedback. And cannot be applied
in all learning situations, to all students and in all subject areas and topics. Teachers need to know how their students are learning and how learning should
be designed to be transformed into a GBL activity.