Dr. Szymon Machajewski: Gameful Design of Blackboard Learn Courses to Replace A with Fiero

Blog Post created by ar0044571 on Jul 3, 2018

We welcomed Blackboard MVP, Dr. Szymon Machajewski, as our guest speaker at our 7-5-2018 KBUG Meeting! His session was a great teaser for anyone interested in using gamification in a Blackboard course. Check out the session recording and slides for more information.

"Gameful Design of Blackboard Learn Courses to Replace 'A' with Fiero" Session Description

Gamification is a trend in business and in pedagogy. This session will help faculty and system administrators gain insight on immersive feedback environments and redirecting failure into a progress indicator. Juul submits that we play games to seek out failure (Juul, 2013). Humans desire the feeling of competence and success, but only when it feels deserved. Games create the environment, where grunt work, or skill practice, allow the player to have a good relationship with failure. Games create the feeling that we are escaping failure, escaping inadequacy, by continually trying to get better at the task. This behavior is fundamental to learning, so it is of no surprise that playing games has been found beneficial to learning (Granic, Lobel, & Engels, 2014). Structuring assignments and other course activities into gamified environments further promotes student and faculty engagement. Active learning techniques are a short game approach, which can be complemented by long game mechanics such as grades, Blackboard digital badges, and experience points. Adoption of specific digital tools allows for gamification of large enrollment introductory courses (Machajewski, 2017).

Gamification Resources:



Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. E. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66–78. doi:10.1037/a0034857 Retrieved from

Juul, J. (2013). The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games. MIT Press. Retrieved from

Machajewski, S. (2017). Gamification strategies in a hybrid exemplary college course. International Journal of Educational Technology, 4(3), 1-16.  Retrieved from