More than points and badges: Using gamification to "level up" research, task design, and assessment


Gamification, the use of videogame design elements in non-game settings (Deterding, Dixon, Khaled, & Nacke, 2011), has infiltrated various aspects of our lives including the workplace, health, and education. Its popularity is rooted in the idea that gamifying behaviours can create an immersion experience similar to that of gaming, increasing motivation and engagement (Codish & Ravid, 2015). However, certain shallow implementations based on adding glittery—yet superfluous—elements such as points and badges do not take advantage of the essential components of gamification which sustain interest, develop skills, and foster self-management (Nicholson, 2012). In this workshop, we will explore the application of the key components of videogame thinking and mechanics to research design in applied linguistics and to language pedagogy. Specific applications will include the implementation of techniques to maintain the engagement of  participants in long-term research studies, to motivate learners to complete tasks, and to  assess learning using a competency-based approach. Participants will leave the workshop with the knowledge and strategies needed to incorporate key gamification principles and techniques in their own professional practices.


Teresa Hernández González is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education at Concordia University (Montréal) and Program Director for the Teaching English as a Second Language degrees. She is also a teacher trainer and consultant for the English/Spanish British Council-Ministry of Education Bilingual Program. Her interest in gamification and its applications to teaching, learning, and research in applied linguistics originated in her work with assessment and self-regulated learning. She has developed assessment tools and language learning tasks based on the principles of gamification for language programs in Quebec and Spain. Dr. Hernández González’s numerous presentations on the gamification of learning include AAAL (2018) and the Task-Based Language Teaching (2017) conferences, and she has also delivered keynote addresses at the International Bilingual Education Conference in Madrid and the International Assessment for Learning Conference in Trento, Italy. More recently, she has been investigating the application of gamification principles used in other fields, such as the workplace, health, and marketing, to applied linguistics.