Doctoral Programme in Network and Information Technologies

Author: Alberto Mora Carreño
Programme: Doctoral Programme in Network and Information Technologies
Language: English
Supervisors: Dr. Joan Arnedo Moreno and Dr. Carina González González
Faculty / Institute: Doctoral School UOC
Subjects: Computer Science
Key words: gamification, design, framework, personalization, Agile
Area of knowledge: Network and Information Technologies


Interest in applying gamification techniques to different contexts has increased in recent years and has become a promising trend in many areas, such as human-computer interaction (HCI) and educational technologies. Unfortunately, many instances in which these techniques are used do not meet their motivational objectives, primarily due to poor design or a completely ad hoc approach. Findings reveal that a formal design strategy is the key to success. This thesis presents the development and validation of a framework for the design of personalized gamification services. This framework, called FRAGGLE (FRamework for AGile Gamification of personalized Learning Experiences), is based on the use of agile methodologies to obtain a fast design that is ready for testing and reproduction. It is aimed at applying different techniques, all the way down to the lowest levels of abstraction, through a guided, step-by-step process, including a design validation process of intrinsic motivation (SPARC). This approach was tested and assessed in two courses on an e-learning-based bachelor's degree in computer science, its goals being to encourage learners completing non-graded training activities, and to increase their sense of kinship and interest in the class group. The first case revealed a moderately positive assessment of the designed experience and student engagement in a "one-size-fits-all" proposal; meanwhile, the second case of study allowed assessment of which design elements had a greater impact on student engagement. Results from a further case of study also revealed that personalization worked better regarding students' behavioural and emotional engagement than previous generic approaches. Finally, the framework was also applied in a real healthcare environment through Preventive Neuro Health, a gamified, crowdsourcing-inspired tool developed for cognitive impairment prevention in healthy older adults. Aiming to motivate its regular use among these adults, it enabled a high degree of personalization both from clinical and engagement perspectives.