With education increasingly being accessed online from any location and on any device, how do you keep career development content relevant and engaging? The Challenge Platform was a response to a need to increase student engagement, accessibility and usability of career development content.
Gamification is defined as “The use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals” (Gartner, 2014). The Challenge Platform embraces gamified principles and is an interactive and flexible eLearning platform where students can access career content from anywhere, anytime and on any device. The platform hosts twelve career modules based around the Australian Blueprint Career Development (ABCD), (2010) that use game mechanics such as badges, points and progress bars to engage and motivate students with career content.
Two hundred students signed up to be part of the Employability Award Pilot Group in August 2014, which incorporated the Challenge Platform. Students needed to undertake eight out of twelve modules either online or face-to-face; industry experience and a final reflection. Students who were part of the pilot program were sent pre and post award surveys to measure their confidence at creating a resume, cover letter and interview skills. They also were sent four module evaluations for either face-to -ace or online modules to measure the helpfulness of the modules they had undertaken.
The success of the modules has been greatly aided by the accessibility of the online modules as well as the gamified, interactive content and motivational elements. In a three month period (August – November 2014) there were 493 online module completions. From the four module evaluation surveys sent out to pilot group participants, out of the 198 responses received, 70% of responses stated that the online module they undertook was either very helpful or completely helpful.
Rayner (2011) identifies game mechanics such as setting goals and objectives, providing frequent feedback and measuring progress, can all make eLearning more engaging. Some examples of game mechanics used in the Challenge Platform include instant feedback, progression bars, points, badges and leader boards to help motivate students to engage in career development content. The platform was awarded the 2014 Best Practice Award by the National Association of Graduate Career Advisory Services for its innovation. The online modules can be accessed by students anywhere, at any time as long as there is internet availability which has dramatically increased the accessibility of career development to students who may not have otherwise been able to access it i.e. students who study online or at satellite campuses.
By using technology to create interactions such as timed quizzes, ranking sliders and drag and drops, career content has become more engaging for students. Completing the modules aids students’ employability as they are required to undertake practical activities such as getting a resume reviewed and undertaking an interview.
This initiative appears to be a novel approach as no other Australian universities have applied gamification principles to create interactive career content. Three universities have approached have requested more information about this strategy.