Gamification in education: game design elements in the 'Solutions second edition' EFL textbook set
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The students today are often referred to as ‘digital natives’ who have grown up in the digital age and as a result think and process information differently than the previous generations (Prensky 2001). Living in a digital age with digital natives, whose perception of learning differs from that of the generation(s) preceding them, it is the duty of educators to be receptive to new methodologies of learner engagement that might help to shape a learning environment better suited to the new type of learners (Dyer 2015:65). The need for a new approach to teaching and learning in general is stated also in the Estonian Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020, a document that guides the developments in education in Estonia in 2014-2020. Gamification, the use of game elements in non-game contexts (Deterding et al. 2011), is said to have great potential also in education as it helps to increase both user engagement and motivation Simões et al. (2013). The aim of this thesis is to locate and analyse gamification elements in a textbook set used in Estonian schools and to see how the elements present exploit the potential of gamification in the context of language teaching. This would provide an idea of what the starting point would be in using gamification in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lessons and what kind of support it could give for gamifying EFL classes. Knowing game elements would help teachers incorporate the elements into the methods they are already familiar with (Keramidas 2010). The thesis consists of an introduction, two core chapters and a conclusion. The introduction explains the reasons for addressing the topic, states the research questions and introduces the structure of the paper. The first chapter presents the definition of gamification, provides examples of gamified systems, discusses criticism towards gamification and the following response, and introduces different gamification taxonomies. It also includes the list of game elements used in the analysis conducted in the second chapter. The list of game elements is compiled based on game element taxonomies suggested by Cugelman (2013), Blohm and Leimeister (2013 in Seaborn and Fels 2015:19), and Robson et al. (2015). The second chapter gives a short overview of the Solutions Second Edition textbook set, introduces the game elements found in different parts of the set, and discusses the gamification potential of the set. The conclusion provides a summary of the findings.