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A Gamified Ideation App –  Co-authored by Tala Mami and Earl Einarson

Earl and Tala have created a proposal to develop a mobile-based web application that encourages students to create ideas and submit them to a shared group freely. As a team, we decided to utilize Stanford University’s Institute of Design (2016) design thinking process in order to discover commonalities between our organization’s students and to incorporate these generated ideas into the finished application. 

Earl is a Tech Instructor and works with First Nations throughout British Columbia. He travels into small, remote First Nations communities with a portable computer lab and instructs technical skills. Many of the students that he instructs have low or developing technical skill sets. Tala worked as a Learning and Development Director in the hotel industry, and she facilitates staff training orientation programs and leadership programs to develop and manage critical staff development functions. Tala requires a user-friendly interface that enhances communication among her tech-novice staff who work in operational departments such as Housekeeping (HK) and Food and Beverage (F&B). Our shared objectives were achieving collaborative learning, especially for tech-novice students using user-friendly interfaces and low technical barriers. 

From a student perspective, instructors ask students to be vulnerable in front of others, speaking in public, admitting they do not know the answer, being wrong or right and feeling judged, either way, experiencing conflict and disagreement, and sharing personal opinions, thoughts, experiences. Therefore, creating a classroom where students (novice or experts) feel comfortable sharing risks requires building the basic: a community. We referenced Garrison’s Community of Inquiry in our design thinking process. According to Garrison (2007), The Garrison’s framework consists of three elements social, teaching and cognitive presence. Social presence represents the ability to establish personal and purposeful relationships among students, cognitive presence represents understanding through collaboration and reflection in a community, and teaching presence represents the design of the App where the instructor determines student satisfaction, perceived learning, and sense of community.

From an instructional designers’ perspective, we thought of adding the gamification learning theory into our component. Gamification of learning “is defined as the use of game elements, including action language, assessment, conflict/challenge, control, environment, game fiction, human interaction, immersion, and rules/goals, to facilitate learning and related outcomes” (Landers, 2014, p.757). Our idea is creating a live, synchronous, simple web app that provides real-time chat for an only targeted group (Intranet based; not accessible outside of the group). The format would allow pictures to be uploaded, pictures of drawings/sketches/mind maps that would encourage open dialogue and higher Intellectual risk-taking in addition to building a community among students. The environment would be one of open sharing (like stories on Instagram), and the posting would only be available for 48hours. This way, users would be more prone to put up ideas. Each post is given 10 points to a user and would allow up to 100 points of input. There is gamification built-in in which users get stickers at 20, 50, 80 and 100 points. Accordingly, establishing an impetus to put up more and more ideas. 

At this point, we are looking for feedback on the potential successful implementation for our App; we want to hear from readers if integrating this application into an online program is doable? If yes, does it help encourage students and keep them engaged? What modifications can be added to this prototype? We appreciate your inputs through commenting below, and we will reply to all responses received no later than 9 pm Wednesday, December 04, PST.



Stanford University Institute of Design. (2016). A Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking — Stanford d.school [Website]. Retrieved from https://dschool.stanford.edu/resources-collections/a-virtual-crash-course-in-design-thinking

Garrison, R. (2007, April). Online community of inquiry review: Social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(1), 61-72. Retrieved from http://jaln.sloanconsortium.org/index.php/jaln

Landers, N. (2014). Developing a theory of gamified learning: Linking serious games and gamification of Learning. Simulation and Gaming 45(6), 752-768. Retrieved from DOI: 10.1177/1046878114563660


Photo by Daniel Korpai on Unspash