Project, Product or experience: “The last Secret, Legend of Taelmore” A Gamified classroom. (Explicit Gamification)
Brandon Abril Ávila
Unidad Educativa CEBCI (A highschool from Cuenca – Ecuador)
Gamification is a powerful tool and we already know why. One of the aspects in which gamification is extremely helpful is Education. In the actuality being a teacher is hard and that is because our mission, our task is almost impossible. We have to teach not only content but also teach competence. It should be interdisciplinary and of course it should include techniques and materials to simulate things that students will face in the real world. Also it must be problem-oriented, interesting and challenging enough to keep the student engage. And at the same time it should motivate students to learn.
This task is not possible with the traditional and of course actual way of teaching in Ecuador, here we have a lot of problems to motivate students, our classrooms are not high tech so we have to think in a way to solve these problems and create a change in education in this country.
The Last secret is a big project, a full gamified classroom where each student become an adventurer that is called by the Blue Wardens, an elite organization that is searching something called the Last secret. It has a really well done story (2 literature teachers of the school helped to write it). Students are going to have a full RPG experience while leveling up their character, getting some new powers, badges and gold for buying items that help them in regular classes’ activities. They will have a guild and they will have the CRAFT possibility; they will “CRAFT” a project based on the “profession” they choose as a guild. We have prepared PvP events, PvE events. Also they are going to be part of LARPs events to make the experience even more engaging.
We also know as an Educational institute that parents are really important in the education process of our students. That is why we are also creating an Implicit gamification process for them, called the “Parents School” where they will be graded by points; they will attend to parenting capacitation’s, etc…
We also are going to implement a web page where, parents, students and teacher can participate. Teacher can plan their lessons, missions and task for students. Students can talk about The last secret and other topics and Parents can talk about, well, their kids.
Design and implement a new class model that is fully gamified in which students will be able to build their own knowledge by making short and middle term projects. This will be possible thanks to the creation of a whole and original story and web page where the students will feel unique and motivated, parents will be part of the education process too and teachers will have a new tool to improve their classes. With this will be able to get a class where students are fully engaged to learning and they will improve their fluid and emotional intelligent.
1) Analyze the main problems teachers have in their regular classes so we can focus on them in the design of the process. 2) Imagine and design the gamification process based on the 8 cores of Yukai-chou Octalysis.
3) Apply and socialize the process and method we are going to do, with teachers, parents and students.
Analyze why your product is engaging through the 8 Core Drives.
Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling
The Last secret has a beautiful story it is engaging… After students create their characters they get a letter. The letter is a call of duty; The Blue Wardens are searching only the best of the best to create an elite team to search something called the Last Secret. When they finish reading the letter a big trailer is projected (3 minutes about the lore of the story). Then everyone throw the “Lucky dice” it is a beginner gift we give to them, depending on the dice result they get a basic item from the shop. Also later on they get to know the “Craft” mechanic, that it means that they have to create a project but the objective of the project is to help the community, so they also feel that their quest, their mission is not only to help themselves but also others. And we get a deal with their parents “Each homework and classwork they do is equal to 1 cent that is going to be donated to a Cancer hospital called Solca that is really close to the school”
Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment
Here is actually the more obvious part of the design. Their grade is equal to the experience points they get, also when they level up they get some new Skill point or Power point they can use to learn new powers. Also when as a team or as an individual they do certain things, they get badges. They fight monsters that mean they need equipment, powers and more. They will be part of a guild, the guild will get honor points depending of actions they do all the scholar year (like harry potter). They also will have to fight with monster. They will have all of that.
Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback
In the class kids will not do “Classwork” or “homework” anymore, they do missions in order to get the necessary experience points to their grade. This means we have different missions, different activities they will discover the best way to get points being creative and working hard. Also having items and powers gives them a lot of new ways to work in class and kill monsters. Also decisions students make can change the story of “Taelmore” so they have to be smart on their choices.
Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession
The first thing about this core is that the students are going to have their own and unique characters, they can customize it. Also they will have a lot of rewards that they get by working on their characters, one of those rewards are gold coins (they can buy items, crafting materials, and even classroom materials). Also the project they work on in classes is a guild project so they will feel that is something of theirs. Even the fact that they have guilds and the guild gets “honor points” can be useful to make them feel like they are part of the team.
Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness
Students as I said before will be part of a guild that means a lot of social influence there; they will choose a logo, colors, slogans, etc… Also they are going to be part of the web page where they will have a forum so they can share experience, missions, or talk about any topic that means they will be sharing their progress, badges and more in the web page. In classes we have 2 types of guild events: the PvP and the PvE… So in the PvP you put guild vs guild on task to see who do it faster or better while on the PvE they even will ally with other guild in order to defeat the challenges we as “GAME MASTERS” give to them.
Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience
Missions are not permanent they have a time to be completed, and if they did not completed on the time they will have to wait 1 to 3 days to get new missions. That means that maybe the special mission that has the super rare item as a possible reward, will be gone, and they will have to wait to try to get the item again as a reward from the mission. Also the webpage will have a Bounty Hunter page where students will get unique missions that are not part of the regular classes, In which they can get awesome rewards, but as I said before these are not permanent. The rare items and materials will be hidden in classes and in the webpage forum, Game masters will have a timer to make students more impatient about when and where is going to be hidden the item or material. Also monster fights can drop rare items. And of course we are going to have unique items depending on the month ( an Item of the month)
Core Drive 7: Unpredictability & Curiosity
Using the narrative is a great way to get this core in the project. For example every mission has a little text with lore about everything that is happening. Also in a period of time something is going to change in the game and that means: a new piece of story about their adventure and a new random event (maybe the power of the villains is getting bigger so now they will have to do extra missions to get the grade they want) or maybe every single elf gets a 100XP bonus. Everything can happen. Also random events will happen at least once each week so they will be waiting for it every Monday.
Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance
There are 3 main options of Loss & Avoidance in the project. The first one, as Characters students have their own amount of Health points, when they lose enough Health point to enter in a critical state they start to earn less experience points and they must do a saving throw (like D&D) in order to avoid death. If they die they will have to deal with a “destiny” that it can be less experience per mission for a period of time, losing their powers or even do a hardcore investigation about a random topic. By the other hand they have a “criminal history” every time they do something that is not in the class agreement they get a warning point; when they reach X warning points they go to judgment and the judge define how many days will be the student in prison. When someone is in prison they will get reduce everything they earn in classes. When a guild has someone who is in prison every member of the guild gets 1 warning point, also if the guild has someone who is going to die every one of the guild lose -5 hp. This collaborates to create also a good team work engagement. Finally some items they get have durability. That means that they will want to avoid using it to often.
Classcraft and The last Secret, Legends of Taelmore: Well everyone knows about classcraft and its Gamification design. When I started to use it I get some serious results, the problem was that the Core 1: Epic meaning & calling was really low, I implemented a way to engage the students by narrative but it was not what I was thinking, because it was not part of the system itself. Also the scarcity was really bad with the random events, our students wasn’t engage by them at all. The social influence also wasn’t working well and other problem was that Ecuador reality is sad when we talk about high- tech, our internet is not ideal to use that kind of applications, cell phones and smartphones are not allowed in classes, and of course our culture is different. Also as a teacher and as a game designer I knew that there was a lot more potential in making a class an RPG experience. So I started to work on my own “handcraft” system. It has their similitudes and of course differences… But I really sure I can improve what is missing in classcraft in my own design and taking it to the next level. A full education process.
How the project can increase engagement through the 8 Core Drives. What’s missing? And what can be added?
How the project can increase engagement through the 8 Core Drives?
First of all in Ecuador there is nothing more boring than a normal and traditional class, education here is all about the teacher, he stands up in front the kinds, dictate a bunch of things and then ask if they get it, 2 or 3 kids raise their hands answering their questions and finally the teacher sent homework that has no purpose. That is every day classes here, I studied in the same educational model and I have to say It is trash.
I have been always a game fan and I did know games have something very powerful that help us to learn. When I get the opportunity to be a teacher the first time I prepared a game for the kids, it was ok but I thought it wasn’t good enough, and then I learn about Gamification and everything change. We want our kids to be the protagonist of the classes not the teacher, as teacher we must guide them. We normally want kids to pay attention to a white big board with some letters on it but when they are in their houses, they play video games or use the TV as a distractor of the smartphone or laptop (that means a distractor from the distractor) how big is that?
We need a critical and urgent change of our classes’ method and processes, and Gamification is the answer. Engaging them by a Mission “Get the last Secret” and that mission is going to help other is something big; giving them chances to improve themselves by leveling up, getting new powers and the most important thing having fun in classes. Also making students to do “homework” because that is fun to them. This Is something really big in education terms. With this we can engage our students and modify their behavior in a positive way and also make our classes something relevant in their life.
Core drive 1: Being part of a unique story and help the community with their guild project. Also they know that for each homework they do they add 1 cent to help kids with cancer.
Core drive 2: Experience Points is equal to the grade; they will want to level up because of powers and skills. Badges and Team points.
Core drive 3: Different ways to complete missions gets experience, kill monsters and win events.
Core drive 4: Character creations, Guilds, items creation and customizations and auction house.
Core drive 5: Being part of a guild and have different roles, web page forums and PvP and PvE events.
Core drive 6: Secrets inside the web page and activities. Special and secrets missions.
Core drive 7: Great and unique story. Random events.
Core drive 8: Death, Prison and Items durability.
I think something that is missing is a well done grading system inside the web page (it is still developing but the grading system is awful) that is something that is not helping the teacher to engage himself to the project.
Also we need more variety of items we just have a total of 20 items (at the beginning we thought it was going to be enough) Students learned the meta game really quick and of those 20 items 12 where never on the wish list of the students. And that started to bore them. So we need more creative items and balance.
Also we really need a more attractive (visually speaking) web page and items. Even when the missions are well done we were using some private images so I think we need a way to make everything more attractive.
In the core drive 3 I think we can add new ways to make students feel that empowerment. In the core drive 4 we can add a web page character customization similar to the classcraft one. In the core drive 8 we can add the criminal history in the web page so it can be part of the social influence. We also need a way to add mentoring in the process.
Business Metrics = Game Objectives:
The average grade of the Tenth grade of general education “A parallel” of my high school is 7.3 of 10. Talking in quality terms, that is extremely low. We need a minimum of 8.5 to be in the safe zone and our goal is the 9.0.
So the game objective is the average grade of 9.0.
Users = Players:
As we are talking about a school, our players are the students. We did not divide the class by gender but we did divide the class in 3 “classes”: Elite, Soldiers, Noobs (these classes are terms only us, teachers, use. Students don’t know about this division) Elites are those who are very responsible, always try to participate in classes and have the greatest grades of all the class (We want them to keep playing this way…
Maybe the Endgame design for them) Soldiers are those who are regular fighters in classes, they participate but they do not feel really motivated to do it, they have regular grades (We want them to push themselves a little bit so they can be part of the elite, a little motivation is enough to start having some good results with them) and the noobs are those who doesn’t care about the class, they never participate and they have the lowest grades of the whole class (this is the part of the class we focus on, in quality we know that if we get these ones to grow up to the soldiers or even the elite, the whole class will be pushed to a higher level. If they get good grades the average grade of the class goes up).
Desire actions = Win State:
- – Participate actively in classes
- – Do not break the class agreements
- – Do Homework
- – Do Classwork
- – Work in teams
- – Participate actively in the web page forums
- – Socialize and get fun
The win state of these actions is defined by the second core drive. Getting the experience points and badges will make them fell the win state. There is more reward if the whole guild completes a
The win state of these actions is defined by the second core drive. Getting the experience points and badges will make them fell the win state. There is more reward if the whole guild completes a mission and there will be rewards exclusives from the web page like badges and items.
In each particular case on thing that motivates students is the fact that doing homework or classwork is also helping kids with cancer.
The first mayor win state in this case is what we called the free level. Everyone started with level 1 but to get into level 2 they completed the first mission of the whole class and immediately get enough point to upgrade their first power. So they learned how the experience points and powers systems works and they enjoyed using their powers later on.
Another big win state is the fact that on tests they get a good grade. Making them feel like having a fun class is even more effective than a traditional class.
Feedback mechanics = Triggers:
Same as the desire actions = win state part. This is almost defined by the second core drive. Experience points give them levels and levels are equal to their grade. So XP = Grade. They have badges and items as rewards. Also a great thing is that they will be part of a story and their decisions are going to affect the whole story.
Incentives = Rewards:
We are going to use boosting as rewards to our students. We prepare an elite space for those students who are doing really, really well in classes. They will have access to a more comfortable desk and also to a locker for their books and stuff (we don’t have lockers in our schools here) Also they get a unique and legendary item that is really helpful, but it they quit or lose their position on the elite, they will lose the item too.
When they actively participate in class they can earn a special coin that is used in the wheel of destiny (a random reward)
For those who participate actively in the web page we have a forum rank and of course special items than can be only obtain in the web page.
Business Metrics = Game Objectives:
•Increase the average grade of the class
•Espected Grade: 9.0
Users = Players:
•Our player are our students
•3 classes: Elite, Soldiers and Noobs
Desire actions = Win State:
•Participate actively in classes
Do not break the class agreements
Do Homework •Do Classwork
Work in teams Participate actively in the web page forums Socialize and get fun
Feedback mechanics = Triggers:
•Experience Points. levels = Grades
Story changes with their decisions
Incentives = Rewards:
•Elite Espace in class. Wall of champions
Unique and special rewards
4 Phases of the game:
Endgame) of the product and the Desired Actions of each phase.
Every day at 7:10 am students have a 15 minutes talk about human ethics and values. We are going to
present a trailer of the program to them (core drive 1). But before that we are going to introduce this
method to the students’ parents first so they heard of it from them first. Also we want to use social
media to tell other people about the program (core drive 5).
The fact that we are going to apply this with just 1 grade first is going to bring a lot of attention of
other courses of the school (core drive 6) and also there is nothing more boring that regular classes
here so students will definitely feel attracted by a new way of giving classes (core drive 7).
We are going to present the entire cool thing about the process step by step. Just after everyone accepts to be part of the Gamified class. We will start with the well know “Welcome, everyone have an F” so they learn that to get their grades they will need to level up “How do we level up?” (Core drive 7). That is when we present a new video showing the races and classes that are available with an introduction to leveling and powers; the trailer will have a short introduction to the Last Secret story and also it will show them how they can help SOLCA (the cancer hospital) by doing missions. They will create their characters (core drive 4) and they will be part of a new Guild, give it a name and a logo (core drive 5 & 4). The first mission they do is a free mission it has it challenge but the reward is enough XP to level up and get their first power (core drive 2).
Later on they will learn about Crafting, Items (core drive 4) and Events and the different ways to earn XP (core drive 3). The Health Points and the Warning Points (core drive 8) Then we will show them the web page and teach them how to be part of it (virtual goods) web forums, etc…(core drive 5).
They know the week schedule and how it works, they have days of missions, “farming” days where they will kill monsters, crafting days and events days. (Core drive 3?)
The core drive 2 is implicit in here, as they will earn rewards and XP per missions, monsters or events; earn badges and gold. Also the cores drive 4 and 5 are part of the process with the web page where they can show their progress and customize their character. The web page will also give some new and unique missions or quest so this give use to the core drive 6.
The fact they have the freeway to earn XP will motivate them to try new ways of owning points. (core drive 3) Also another thing that uses this core drive is that they can “craft” a unique project based on whatever they want to do, the only condition is that the project someway must help the community.
As we know for core drive 3 to work well it must give quick feedback and this is I think something that is part of the process. When they finish a mission they immediately get the XP and also when they finish crafting an item or learning a new power they can use them immediately. The projects will give them the feedback with social influence, they will show their progress to everyone, and of course with some XP too.
There is something special about The Last secret and is that they will have to play an RPG where they
will act as their own characters and decide what to do, this will affect everyone and even the missions.
So they will feel that they are really important. This will happen in classes with EDU-LARPing activities
and in the web page with the forum.
We also use some Loss & Avoidance core drive, when they do incorrect things like not completing an
Urgent mission (a must do) being late on classes or being mean to everyone, etc… This will make them
lose some Health Points. Also as we really want them to learn to write properly Spanish they will lose
points if they have a lot of grammar and punctuation fails.
If they break a class agreement they will also earn a Warning Point, accumulate warning points is
equal to prison and being in prison is awful for everyone. Some items will have durability so they will
want to avoid using them too often.
End Game Phase
We talked about the 3 types of students we defined before; I think the Elites are the closest ones to
be part of the END GAME. The fact that they already have good grades and they don’t really need to
get more grades is one problem here.
That is why we prepared an exclusive section in the class for the Elites. So they will feel more
comfortable in there that in the normal section of classes. This will make them never want to quit the
This is an action we prepared for the Elites but, what happen with the Soldiers and the Noobs?
There is something similar to the elite exclusive classroom zone happening for them, the thing is this.
As we mentioned earlier regular classes here are boring and repetitive. I am pretty sure that nobody
will want to quit “playing” because that means they will be part of the boring and normal classes again
and nobody wants that.
But also we prepared something especial for them… Everyone who finishes classes “playing” the Last
Secret will be part of the Hall of Fame of the “Blue Wardens” a especial wall we created for them, so
the next year the ones who will be part of the Last Secret can know their characters and what they
4 phases Graphic:
Players Types Analysis
As I mentioned Before we defined our students in 3 types but that is a different way of thinking that doesn’t have to be part of the gamification design. That is why I decided to add to the design the different types of users based on the Octalysis and the Andrzej users’ types.
Intrinsic Based players: Philanthropist: