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Gamification of the Laboratory Experience to Encourage Student Engagement

    Author: Kevin Drace1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Mercer University, Macon, GA 31207
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 02 December 2013
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, Mercer University, 1400 Coleman Avenue, Macon, GA 31207. Phone: 478-301-2646. Fax: 478-301-2067. E-mail: drace_km@mercer.edu.
    • ©2013 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2013 vol. 14 no. 2 273-274. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.632
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    Abstract:

    The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Task Force on Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology Students published recommendations for introductory microbiology courses that suggest teaching specific skill sets in the laboratory beyond just fundamental knowledge and concepts of microbiology (6); however, students can sometimes view a skills-based laboratory experience as a task list of unrelated assignments to complete for a grade. Therefore, providing explicit connections throughout the lecture and laboratory exercises is critical for a truly integrated learning experience. Several pedagogical techniques can provide a coherent framework throughout a course. For example, case-based studies can connect lecture with laboratory skills and increase student engagement by applying newly developed knowledge and skills to tackle real-world simulations (2, 3). One reason that case-based studies succeed is that they can provide intrinsic motivations and an alternate purpose for students to engage with the material. A more recent trend in pedagogy involves using game design elements to increase student engagement and motivation. Gamification is the application of game design (accruing points or badges, reaching significant levels of accomplishment, or other reward elements) in a non-game context to motivate or influence participation (1, 5). A natural extension of both of these methods is to gamify a case-based approach where a fictional scenario is presented for students to role-play as scientists using their developed skills to solve a complex problem. The typical microbiology laboratory, as described by the ASM Task Force, can easily incorporate game design elements without extensive modification of the exercises themselves. Instead, gamification involves structuring the lab in a way that gives the course a coherent and unified purpose. This ultimately allows the student to see how the principles and concepts of lecture and laboratory connect to real world situations.

Key Concept Ranking

Culture Methods
0.4805418
Staining Techniques
0.4805418
Culture Methods
0.4805418
Staining Techniques
0.4805418
Biochemical Test
0.44450113
Chemicals
0.3125
0.4805418

References & Citations

1. Domínguez A, et al 2013 Gamifying learning experiences: practical implications and outcomes Comput Educ 63 380 392 10.1016/j.compedu.2012.12.020 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.12.020
2. Herreid CF 2005 Because wisdom can’t be told: using case studies to teach science Peer Rev 7 30 31
3. Hudson JN 2004 An evaluation of case-based teaching: evidence for continuing benefit and realization of aims Adv Physiol Educ 28 15 22 10.1152/advan.00019.2002 14973007 http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/advan.00019.2002
4. Lammert J 2007 Techniques in microbiology: a student handbook Pearson Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ
5. Lee JJ, Hammer J 2011 Gamification in education: why, how, why bother? Acad Exch Q 15 146 151
6. Merkel S 2013 The development of curricular guidelines for introductory microbiology that focus on understanding J Microbiol Biol Educ 13 32 38 3577306
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.632
2013-12-02
2017-11-21

Abstract:

The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Task Force on Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology Students published recommendations for introductory microbiology courses that suggest teaching specific skill sets in the laboratory beyond just fundamental knowledge and concepts of microbiology (6); however, students can sometimes view a skills-based laboratory experience as a task list of unrelated assignments to complete for a grade. Therefore, providing explicit connections throughout the lecture and laboratory exercises is critical for a truly integrated learning experience. Several pedagogical techniques can provide a coherent framework throughout a course. For example, case-based studies can connect lecture with laboratory skills and increase student engagement by applying newly developed knowledge and skills to tackle real-world simulations (2, 3). One reason that case-based studies succeed is that they can provide intrinsic motivations and an alternate purpose for students to engage with the material. A more recent trend in pedagogy involves using game design elements to increase student engagement and motivation. Gamification is the application of game design (accruing points or badges, reaching significant levels of accomplishment, or other reward elements) in a non-game context to motivate or influence participation (1, 5). A natural extension of both of these methods is to gamify a case-based approach where a fictional scenario is presented for students to role-play as scientists using their developed skills to solve a complex problem. The typical microbiology laboratory, as described by the ASM Task Force, can easily incorporate game design elements without extensive modification of the exercises themselves. Instead, gamification involves structuring the lab in a way that gives the course a coherent and unified purpose. This ultimately allows the student to see how the principles and concepts of lecture and laboratory connect to real world situations.

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