Dissertation Defense Announcement

College of Education announces the Final Dissertation Defense of

Scott Vann

for the Degree of Doctor of Education

April 23, 2019 at 1:00 PM in Ball Hall, Room 320

Advisor: Andrew Tawfik

Gamification Applied to Faculty Professional Development: A Case Study

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine online faculty perceptions of engagement within a gamified professional development course, at a large urban research university. Over the last decade, gamification has been a trending topic in education because it allows learners an opportunity for contextualized and engaged learning by applying game-thinking to solve problems. Research has shown a direct link between increased levels of engagement when gamification elements such as badging, leaderboards, leveling, etc. have been introduced into online learning environments. While literature exists on the use of gamification with learners in secondary and post-secondary, as well as private corporations, there is currently a gap in research related to gamified professional development and how incorporating gamification in online faculty professional development influences engagement. While previous research is promising, faculty have unique considerations related to effective teaching, student engagement and research development; therefore, it is unclear the degree to which this literature applied. The case study was conducted with ten online faculty members with diverse backgrounds. This study examined the perceptions of online faculty who had participated in a gamified online professional development course. One-on-one interviews were conducted to learn more about the participants' perceptions of engagement and gamification within the professional development. This study revealed online faculty perceptions related to the following four themes: increased perceived engagement through self-directed learning, gamification features activate external motivation to engage, competition and the role of flow, and the role of effective segmentation and cognitive load in flow. Although the six participants that were interviewed all had unique perspectives of the course, all shared positive perceptions of increased engagement related to the gamification design of the professional development. Findings indicated that gamification may increase online faculty's engagement within professional development courses. The engagement of online faculty with professional development is an imperative initiative for institutions, to optimally prepare online faculty for instruction and to contribute to the overall educational goals of the institution. The results of this study will be used to inform faculty professional development design practices at the researcher's institution, as well as faculty professional development at large.