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Education lecturer aims to ‘gamify’ education

Published on September 26, 2022

Education lecturer aims to ‘gamify’ education

Robert Ford receives Best Article award

Headshot of Rob Ford

Robert Ford

Robert Ford, a lecturer for Eastern Connecticut State University’s Education Department, had his research efforts acknowledged for “gamifying” learning techniques within classroom settings. Ford has been chosen to receive the 2022 “English Leadership Quarterly” (ELQ) Best Article Award. He will receive this accolade from The Conference on English Leadership (CEL) for his published work titled “Adventures in Gamification and Personalized Learning: A Case Study in Game-Based Course Design.”  

Gamification, one of Ford’s focuses, refers to a transformative system of teaching that is centered on interaction, engagement and intellectual stimulation. Ford’s research adds new insights into the process of applying game-centric characteristics such as point scoring, competition with others, and guidelines that players must adhere to within educational atmospheres. He also delves into the benefits of providing students with personalized forms of attention in academic settings.  

The gamification of learning activities allows educators to cater to the individual needs of students, while simultaneously aiming to correct their educational inadequacies and shortcomings. However, Ford notes that gamification does not revolve around fun and games. Instead, it focuses on game-based instructions that can enhance course and unit design for educators and students alike.  

“Gamification in classrooms revolves around personalization, or more broadly, student agency, engagement, choice and voice,” said Ford, the author of the study. “That is, proponents of game design argue that gamified or game-based courses provide a more effective means through which students can personalize their learning and exercise some degree of choice or ‘say’ in their education.” 

The CEL values individuals, students and educators who are in pursuit of developing and enacting progressive literary practices, techniques and writing methodologies. In particular, the group praises authors and journalists, who aim to vastly improve the conventions of their craft, while positively influencing a community of avid readers and writers to employ these effective methods. Ford managed to not only advance educational research on the literary front, but he also changed how educators perceive unorthodox applications of teaching in every subject. 

While reflecting on the impact of his research, Ford said, “A traditionally designed high school English elective was converted to one designed around game concepts. For the past three years students were assessed in this class using both traditional and game-based models. The results are not a ringing endorsement of gameful approaches, but they do inform and reshape our understanding of engagement and achievement.” 

The CEL will present Ford with its highest distinction on Nov. 20 in Anaheim CA, at its annual convention. During the open session of the event Ford will be recognized by the CEL’s forum for literary leaders as a recipient of their most prestigious accolade.  

Ford says that one of the most essential aspects of his research resides in the personalized approach to learning. "Game design sets higher proficiency standards and rewards students for high levels of engagement. In addition, courses designed with games in mind provide more autonomous learning environments that encourage curiosity and engender independent inquiry because they emphasize choice, embed ‘restarts,’ and accommodate different paces.” 

Due in part to his ability to bring together literature and gamification societies, Ford will be presented with an engraved plaque detailing his artistic, scholarly and literary achievement and expertise. 

Written by Jack Jones