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Mader, Sebastian; Heller, Niels; Bry, Francois (2019): Adding Narrative to Gamification and Educational Games With Generic Templates. In: Proceedings of the 18Th European Conference on E-Learning (Ecel 2019): pp. 360-368
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Adding narrative, that is, a story, to gamification and educational games can boost students' motivation and engagement. This requires a narrative fitting the course in which it will be deployed to and a gameplay to which the narrative fits without seeming to be tacked on. In this article, a gamification template called Reification and an education game template called Synapses are introduced both aiming at relieving educators from having to find an appropriate game or gamification leaving them only the task of finding a fitting narrative. Reification is making something abstract concrete with the intention of making the represented concept more tangible. In case of the gamification mechanism Reification, a learner's progress in a course is made concrete through visualization: A student's progress is visualized as a landscape in which each object, such as a tree, makes concrete one of the student's accomplishments, such as a solved exercise. Reification aims to provide students with a tangible overview of their learning progress and allows them to compare their landscape to their peers'. Reification is illustrated in the article with a course on Egyptology. Synapses is a game which supports students in overcoming and preventing the development of misconceptions, which are commonly held incorrect beliefs by students about courses' contents. After each lecture, students are tasked to organize parts of the lecture's content in a concept map, or to revise their concept maps in reaction to mistakes made in exercises. The game's narrative takes different turns depending on the percentage of students having a correct concept map. Synapses is illustrated in the article with a course on Logic. This article represents a work-in-progress: The concepts are grounded in theory with evaluations of the introduced implementations planned for future work.