Gamifying the Student Experience for the BSc (Hons.) Events Management and MSc Events Management Students

Project Lead

Dr. Claudia Sima – Programme Leader/Lecturer in Tourism and Event Management

Project Details

One of the biggest trends within the events industry is gamification. In addition, gamification has long been acknowledged as a highly valuable teaching tool. It is often used within an educational setting for various purposes such as testing knowledge or encouraging a more dynamic and active student experience within the classroom. However, this topic has been neglected in events management literature and the industry itself has been slow to react to it. Gamification has also been neglected as a teaching tool for event management modules and students.

Gamification involves “applying elements and principles of electronic games in a ‘non-game’ context” (Martin and Cazarré, 2016, p. 51). The potential for gamification within the events sector is “only now starting to be acknowledged and understood. This is mostly due to new technology developments (such as advanced and integrated social media platforms, virtual reality, or enhanced reality), the coming of age of Generation Y or the Millennial generation as event attendees, as well as trends in gaming (such as Pokémon Go or Ingress). Event managers are realising more and more how technology goes hand in hand with games and how a technology-driven gamification events strategy can enhance the event experience. Areas such as on-line and on-site participation, event design, networking, or feedback can easily be gamified to maximise the desired outcomes.” (Sima, 2018:188).

Taking into consideration the value of gamification both as a teaching tool and as a trend within the events sector, a gamified teaching strategy was employed on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate events modules: the BSc (hons.) Events Management’s ‘TOU1013M Event management: Concepts and Practices’ (level 4) & ‘SBM2018M Event Management (live event)’ (level 5) modules; and the MSc Events Management’s ‘TOU9154M Innovation and Event creativity’ (level 7) module.

The strategy was used to test the acquisition and retention of knowledge and to encourage interactivity and group work. The gamification strategy made use of online quiz platforms such as ‘Kahoot!’ and popular game show formats such as ‘Deal or no deal’ or ‘The Apprentice’. Sweets, chocolate and academic textbooks were used as incentives and awards for students. Gamification was used randomly and unexpectedly throughout the modules both in the lecture and the seminars/workshops.

Martin, V. and L. Cazarré, L. (2016) Technology and events: How to create engaging events, Goodfellow Publishers Limited, Oxford.
Sima, C. (2018) Book review, Volume 64, February 2018, Pages 188-189.

Impact & Success

Results were measured under the form of post-it feedback and formal end-of-module student feedback. Student feedback reflected a positive outcome for the two areas targeted: knowledge acquisition and interactivity.

Sample of feedback:
“Dynamic teaching styles such as using technology to conduct quizzes and group work that allows us to share our ideas, thus enhancing our knowledge of the subject” (TOU1013M student feedback)

Post-it feedback ‘TOU9154M Innovation and Event creativity’

The module statistics for all 3 modules were also higher compared to previous years.

  • 84.21% overall satisfaction on TOU1013M;
  • For SMB2018M, excellent overall satisfaction of 89.52%; module feedback reflected a highly motivated and engaged student body scoring 93.33% in the student survey. The level of My Engagement with the Module: 93.33%; the teaching on My Module: 93.33%; module Content and Relevance: 100%.
  • For TOU9154 100% was reached on all student survey categories.

Next Steps

The aim of this in-classroom study was to test the potential of gamification on two areas:

  • Interactivity within the classroom and group dynamic
  • Acquisition and retention of knowledge

The findings from this study are being processed and submitted under the form of a reflection case-study to the Journal of Educational Technology & Society.

The 2017-2018 application of gamification acts as a pilot study for a wider research project. Further thought is required on measuring knowledge acquisition and retention and interactivity linked to gamification.