Why do students love to play games, but hate to do schoolwork? In his Honors Thesis, 2016 Baylor Graduate Nathan Elequin discusses the unlikely alliance between game design and educational psychology, and the strategies that educators can implement in their learning programs to increase the engagement of their students. FOLLOW THE SLIDESHOW (http://bit.ly/27wRGKN) DOWNLOAD THE FULL THESIS (http://bit.ly/1TGGC3U) READ THE ABSTRACT BELOW: Press A+ To Play: The Emerging Field of Gamification in Higher Education Director: Jason Whitlark, Ph.D. Higher education faces a critical issue with producing and encouraging engagement in and out of the classroom, as students are finding more reasons to dismiss their coursework as a “means to an end” in the game of the degree-grab. Meanwhile, research from the unorthodox and previously-untapped field of game design offers to provide a unique solution to these educational concerns. In short, the newly-emerging field of gamification asks a simple question – how can we make the learning experience more meaningful and fun for the average student? In this expansion on the works of TEDx spokesperson Yu-Kai Chou and New York Times bestseller Jane McGonigal, I argue that game designers possess an invaluable expertise in holding the attention of and creating meaningful experiences for emerging adults. I then dissect the higher educational discipline from the perspective of a game engineer, to discuss and diagnose the critical failings of the institution in exciting and engaging its students. Finally, using Chou’s pioneering Octalysis Framework, I will detail eight strategies for improving learning through a game design approach, concluding with a listed arsenal of engagement tools that be directly-applied to the programming and pedagogy of the classroom. By the end of this thesis, parents, student, educators, and administrators alike will have acquired actionable tools to increasing the enjoyment and engagement of their educational experiences. Questions? Contact me at (nathan.elequin@gmail.com) or via Facebook!

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