3.2. Gamification in GameLet

Missions and points

GameLet, a gamified learning environment which includes 5 learning level missions, consists of various tasks that are based on tested instructional methods aimed at improving reading fluency. The missions and tasks are coupled with the well-known Multilingual Readers‘ Theatre (MELT) which in this program integrates school, foreign and migration languages into the learning scheme (Kutzelmann et al., 2017). Thus, MELT is able to respond to growing societal demands for an increase in multilingualism as a learned competence (Baecco & Byram, 2007) as well as for recognition of the multilingual reality of learners in today’s world (Kutzelmann et al., 2017). Readers’ Theatre (Young/Rasinski, 2009), a well-documented method and best-practice for fostering reading fluency in the classroom, integrates repeated reading aloud as the central training technique. Moreover, this method is designed so that reading feedback is given by both teachers and learners alike. Following a bilingual or multilingual approach, all missions are worked through by means of self-guided learning activities. To ease orientation, a color-coded scheme shows the level students have achieved:

Mission 1: Introducing story & language
Mission 2: Getting to know scenes and language
Mission 3: Informing oneself and others on scenes and characters
Mission 4: Practising roles and scenes
Mission 5: Recording general rehearsal and final RT

Each mission consists of self-study and group work tasks that are designed to be completed in a systematic manner. Moreover, each of the tasks receive points upon completion. Teachers may also award extra points for particularly successful work and/or creative performance. In addition, repeated practice is rewarded with points.

All points earned by individual students go into a group account, which can be accessed by group members at the end of each mission. This point system also informs the group of their overall performance.

The reward points may later be redeemed in a Podcast Section. Because GameLet strives for an uncompetitive approach to learning, a group‘s scores are kept deliberately invisible to other groups. Groups are only allowed to advance to another level when all members have completed their self-study and collaborative tasks, unless the teacher decides to unlock the next level at an earlier stage.

GameLet’s fundamental concepts of gamification comprise ‘game’, ‘story’, ‘play’ and ‘flow’. Many of the activities carried out within GameLet are ‘play’ experi­ences that, by themselves, are novel, exciting and uplifting to most students. User experience, efficiency and attractiveness of the dedicated software and materials contribute to reaching ‘flow’. GameLet applies the narrative frame of a fictive podcast production. This frame story motivates the activities, fosters identification with drama personae, and structures the learning steps.

In GameLet, the main game goal and the learning goal are perceived as intrinsically identical (cf. Nicholson 2015 for an assessment of the importance of this feature). Thus, the production of a podcast is the goal of the main game, but at the same time, the acquisition of the ability to read aloud for a podcast is the main learning goal. GameLet also has developed a new method to employ scores in a flexible and gentle way, where students at the end can use the scores as game money to embellish the presentation of their podcast. Thus, scores cease to serve any ranking purposes. This way, GameLet integrates fun, story identification, playful experimentation, and self-discovery with minimal risk of failure and frustration, in a unique way.