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PRESS RELEASE: Gamification and Gametize-powered app increase engagement by 60% in SMU's pilot group

First SMU module gamified to increase engagement and interactions among students in a pilot implementation shows encouraging results. 94% of students want to see more modules gamified. The Gametize-powered app is designed by four students, facilitated by their professor, Dr Rani Tan. 
SINGAPORE, 6 Aug 2014 – In early 2014, Singapore Management University (SMU) and Gametize Pte Ltd co-produced a pilot Gamification app for Leadership and Team-building (LTB), a core module for freshman students. Gametize CEO Keith Ng, a head teaching assistant in LTB five years back, tapped on this opportunity to improve engagements between students. It was first proposed in early 2013 to his mentor, Dr Rani Tan. After a year of planning, the GameLead app was made available on both web and mobile platforms. Lessons became more interactive and inclusive with the introduction of the app. GameLead became a success with SMU’s LTB teaching staff and students alike, with 94% of students recommending the use of GameLead for future classes of LTB.

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Gamification is the application of game mechanics and psychology to non-game context, in this case, learning. A gamified experience will ignite interest and build motivation during class, with the goal of instilling lessons as lifelong habits.
GameLead is an app for students by students. The game structure and content were wholly designed by four Teaching Assistants (TA), senior SMU students who had taken the LTB module. With the aid of head lecturer Professor Rani Tan, the TAs were able to design a gamified experience with the course content. LTB students were given a large degree of freedom as there were no deadlines to quests’ completion. Additionally, students can influence their peers by voting on others’ answers, through viewing an activity feed of submitted responses by other classmates. The app facilitated active class participation, as well as enabling SMU and Gametize to collect feedback about the module.
To provide an immersive gamified experience, GameLead consist of challenges for the students to act upon. A series of simple challenges, such as photos, quizzes, and videos prompted students to reflect on and apply what they have learnt in class. Group activities involving discussions and photo challenges were also introduced to bolster social interaction. With every successive lesson of LTB, an additional quest (group of new challenges) was made available for the students to attempt. Supplementary content, such as videos, were provided in weekly ‘bonus quests’ to help students learn better. The students commented that content introduced through videos was interactive, interesting, and relevant to the theories learnt in class.
A core goal of Gamification is to instil strong intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy. Rewards such as points and progression acted as extrinsic drivers for challenge completion. The option to choose prime presentation slots is an example of extrinsic drivers.
To experiment with the expectations of extrinsic drivers, students of one of the classes (G1) were explicitly informed that using GameLead (or not using it) will not deliver bonus marks/penalty to their grades (other than logging participation in class discussions, which was a crucial assessment at SMU). The TA left the information dubious deliberately at another class (G3). In the end, G3 had the highest challenge completions, compared to G1’s lower activity, showing the importance of extrinsic rewards to get users on-board or not.However, the provision of a point-based leader board did resulted in some students engaging in unwanted behaviour of not completing the game, seeing that they were nowhere near the top.
“GameLead is an evolution of traditional classroom learning. Through the use of digital technology, lessons can be made more interesting and interactive. The challenge is to find a balance between motivation and rewards” says Keith Ng, CEO of Gametize. “Thanks to the innovative team at SMU, we are able to conceptualize a unique learning pedagogy. From the successful pilot and enthusiastic response of students, we are encouraged to bring this app further.”

About Singapore Management University (SMU)

A premier university in Asia, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is internationally recognised for its world class research and distinguished teaching. Established in 2000, SMU’s mission is to generate leading edge research with global impact and produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders for the knowledge-based economy. It is known for its interactive and technologically-enabled pedagogy of seminar-style teaching in small class sizes.

The pilot Gamification app for Leadership and Team-building is helmed by the following Professor and Teaching Assistants:

Professor Dr Rani Tan has been teaching undergraduates at SMU, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, for almost a decade. She is also actively engaged in conducting a HRM module at the Master’s level for the School of Information System and does executive education at SMU. Besides her passion for teaching and coaching, she is also a trained counsellor and is very much involved in voluntary work in the wider community, especially in the area of mediation for the Community Mediation Centre, Ministry of Law in Singapore.
Leon Lim Jun Yang is a second year undergraduate at SMU School of Information Systems Management. He is very passionate in the area of leadership studies and strongly believes that learning can be made fun.
Joel Koh Yong Kiat majors in Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship in SMU. He believes in holistic learning and is the founder of The platform offers people the easiest way to learn and discover new experiences.
Patricia Anne Carthigasu is a second year undergraduate at SMU School of Social Sciences, majoring in Political Sciences. She believes in developing and harnessing the leadership potential in students to inspire social change in our society. She strongly believes in providing students a holistic, value-based education; and that learning should never be confined to the classroom.
Tay Weng Yew is a second year undergraduate at SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business and a regular serviceman of the Singapore Armed Forces. His passion lies in leading teams to serve the community and believes that the world is everyone’s classroom.
This post was contributed by Max Ang, Business Development Mentee @ Gametize
Max is the summer Business Ninja at Gametize in 2014. He loves reading, especially on themes that deal with the modern society. A sporty person who enjoys runs in the morning and rock climbing on the weekends.