Welcome to my action research site.

My name is Drew McConnell. I am a technology trainer and instructional designer. The research on this site explores the effect of gamification on employees' motivation and self-direction in a professional development environment.

Problem/Situation: The problem I will address is motivation in professional development. Employees in my research environment are media specialists that assist university students and faculty with media projects, both software and hardware. This requires a wide variety of skills including video and audio editing, photography, image editing, and more. In order to adequately help others, the media specialists must be experts in and stay up to date with a plethora of different technologies, but they are not motivated to improve their skills through self inquiry.

Research Question: How will the use of gamification and digital badges affect the motivation of employees to improve their technical skills through self directed learning?

Background Research: The resources that have helped me the most are:
  • Motivational design for learning and performance: The arcs model approach (Keller)
  • The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education (Kapp)
  • Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world (McGonigal)
  • The potential and value of using digital badges for adult learners (Jonathan, F., Erin, K., & Susan, M. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education)
  • Intrinsic Motivation and Instruction: Conflicting Views on the Role of Motivational Processes in Computer-Based Education (Lepper & Chabay)
John Keller’s ARCS model for motivational design has provided the basis for designing motivating professional development, while the game resources have provided practical application of these principles in the form of gamification.

Community of Practice: My community of practice is trainers of media creation at a single university. I believe it is important however, that members of the community are connected to larger communities of instructors and media creators. Therefore, getting connected with larger communities of practice will be apart of the professional development.

The next step is to design the gamification badge system. This will include designing the criteria, desired outcome, and method of assessment for each badge, as well as a point and leveling system.