Curtin’s vision to establish the university at the forefront of educational technology is being realised through the Challenge Platform project, which involves the development of gamified learning activities and modules which are bundled into “Challenges” that can be used in Blackboard units or can stand alone for use in both formal and informal learning.
The modules promote individual and team learning through open-ended challenges that incorporate gamification, automated feedback and rubric-driven assessment. The Challenge Platform supports either local or global teams in solving real-world problems and therefore is a niche platform complimenting Blackboard and EdX MOOCs. Three content areas have been developed thus far: Leadership, Careers and English.
The Leadership Challenge contributes to students gaining Curtin Extra credit for leadership development and the Careers Challenge provides interactive online experience in career preparation. On completing a challenge students are awarded badges demonstrating evidence of learning. Modules are completed at the students’ own pace – anytime, anywhere, on any device. The Careers Challenge has delivered over 28,000 modules to over 8000 students and is currently being considered for adoption by other universities.
Following release of the Challenge platform in 2015, the project worked to make enhancements – personalising learning content to students via delivery of a contest support system, scoring, communication and collaboration functions, improved student profile functionality, Blackboard integration and content authoring.
Curtin Challenge launched University-wide in March 2015 with more than 200 students signing up on Orientation Day. 35 game modules were released for students about leadership, careers and English language.
12,391 unique student profiles have been created on the platform, with little marketing or outreach. These numbers are considered as ‘pilot phase numbers.’ The target is to reach 60,000 on campus students and a larger number of off-campus learners. Over 24,000 modules have been delivered, containing 142,000 activities completed, and nearly 5000 badges have been awarded for Challenge completion.
The cost of delivering these approaches zero the longer we use the content and the more student that use it. As the cost is amortized with the cost of production and computer services (total costs estimated at $600,000/12000 users or $50 per student) over the future life of all current Challenge content, the cost per student for delivery will continue to drop below $50 per student. The current cost per module (about 1 hour of content delivery) is about $25 and the cost per page of activity (or micro-learning engagement) is $4 per activity.
Student and staff feedback suggests the modules have been highly successful. Careers is promoting Challenge as a nationally significant advance in informal Careers outreach and education, Leadership modules are being used in both the informal Leadership program for Curtin Extra and also in a formal unit of study on the Miri campus, and English Challenge has been viewed by potential external partners as a possible commercial offering.
- Creates very low cost content delivery and lower faculty workloads in both informal and formal delivery systems.
- Supports Curtin’s reputation as an innovative educational technology developer.
- Development of gamified learning activities builds Curtin’s capability for bringing gamified ideas to the edX platform.
- Encourages global engagement with Curtin as teams from around the world participate in learning challenges.
- Aligns with the UNESCO commitment to make global progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, placing Curtin into a role of helping the world to advance via collaborative problem-solving and the creation of innovative ideas.
- Aligns with Curtin’s Strategic Plan 2013-17 Teaching and learning objective to ‘provide a richly interactive and personalised learning experience.’