Author: Jacob Guerra-Martinez

Up Up and Away: How Superheroes Can Save Online Discussions

Back to Krypton… In the late summer of 2017, Jacob Guerra-Martinez a Learning Designer and game-design researcher in Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies, pitched an audacious plan to a part-time faculty member in the School of Professional Studies. He wanted to gamify a discussion board so that graduate students could choose between being heroes or villains while debating and supporting opposing views. His mission was to save students from mundane discussions, and he called this idea Discussion Hero. The previous year, I had developed a course on Learning Environment Design for graduate students in the field of Information, Design


GamiCon Reflection- My Top Three Takeaways

This past weekend I had the pleasure to attend the first ever GamiCon conference, which was a co-located event hosted here in Chicago by Sententia Games and Training Magazine’s Online Conference. This conference was specifically for those who design and deliver Gamification for a variety of audiences, including corporate and academic programs. Along with the sessions, I, and fellow Learning Designer David Noffs, had the opportunity to showcase an exciting project we developed at SPS-Distance Learning called Discussion Hero for GamiCon’s Gamification Throwdown. It was a lot of fun, and we’ll share more about Discussion Hero in later posts. But


Knowing Your Users: A Important Piece of the Gamification Puzzle

As educators, we know that not everyone learns the same. That is why different learning theories and styles exist. These theories allow faculty to adapt their courses to fit the various styles of their students in order to give them the best and most beneficial experience possible. The same can also be applied to game players, or users. I’ll explain in a bit why we will use the term “Users” instead of “Players”. If you are thinking about gamifying your course, it is important that you get to know the different types of users exist, since each one expects to


Using Game Concepts to Create a Gamified Online Course Template

We hear the word gamification a lot, however it still remains quite a mystery to many educators. As I have mentioned in past posts, Gamification is not simply adding games to courses, but is instead the utilization of gaming concepts in courses. So where exactly do you get started when creating a gamified online course template? My last post suggested that you think of your students as heroes and use their journey to come up with materials for your course. But you can also take things one step further and use game components (instructions, story, levels) to make your gamified


Applying “The Hero’s Journey” to Course Design

As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts, Gamification is the utilization of gaming concepts and theories into courses. Ideas such as advancing levels, increasing challenges, implementing rewards and providing instant feedback can be worked into an online course for a more robust learning experience. So if you are thinking of your course as a game, where do you start? It all begins with the hero’s journey. Before I begin, I must reiterate another point: just because you are using gaming concepts does not mean your course has to be turned into an actual game. While you can