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Enhancing Student Success in MOOCs: A Gamified Approach with High Completion Rates

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The MagIC team, led by researchers Manuela Aparicio, Tiago Oliveira, Fernando Bação, and Marco Painho, has been dedicated to analyzing individual usage behaviors, particularly in education, transitioning from broad theoretical frameworks to concrete impact areas. In a close collaboration between Information Systems, Management, and Data Science disciplines, MagIC conducted a study to understand the primary drivers behind Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). This research directly informed the development of UNL's first MOOC about geoinformatics technologies, which was made freely accessible on a digital platform. 

Many MOOCs face the challenge of maintaining student engagement throughout the duration of courses. Addressing this challenge, MagIC researchers developed a gamified MOOC to investigate the impact of gamification on student success. This innovative approach resulted in higher completion rates and increased participation throughout the various modules of the MOOC. Their research demonstrates that integrating challenging activities, escalating difficulty levels, and clearly defined rules significantly enhances participant engagement and success. 

This research holds practical implications for the industry, particularly for digital MOOC platforms. It directly facilitated the provision of a free GIS course to over 4,000 online learners across multiple editions of the MOOC, representing a diverse cohort spanning 18 countries and encompassing practitioners from 14 distinct economic activities. 


Publication: Aparicio, M., Oliveira, T., Bacao, F., & Painho, M. (2019). Gamification: A key determinant of massive open online course (MOOC) success. Information & Management, 56(1), 39–54.