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A Social and Gameful Experience (SAGE) Approach to Increase Learner Engagement and Foster Self-Regulation [Learner Engagement Summit]

Brianna Bannach 0:04
I'm excited to introduce Suzanne Ensmann, assistant professor at the University of Tampa to give her presentation. I'll turn it over to you. Thank you, Susan.

Suzanne Ensmann 0:14
Thank you very much. Okay. So I'm very grateful to be here. So our study specifically a little bit more about me. My I am at the University of Tampa and I partnered with a colleague of mine, Amy Whiteside, who is in a different college than I am at the University of Tampa and will tell you a little bit about I will tell you a little bit about our study. But just to get started, let's give you the basics of it. We explored teachers and learning communities to foster communication and course engagement. Dr. Whitesides background is on social presence. And my research area is on gamification. So we coupled our research areas and we studied our our individual courses in the two separate colleges in several different classes several different levels. I go over the demographics with you, but it was approximately 103 students. We studied their experience of using the sage learning approach the sage learning approach, the social and gainful experiential learning to two learning in the in the classroom. So to manage their online scholarly discourse, foster self efficacy, critical thinking and problem service, solving skills. I'm really not nervous. It's just the start of the term. The findings that we found out suggests that instructors can leverage gamification, so social media reactions to improve and foster satisfaction of learning, self regulated learning and cognition. So broth suggests that structured ways for students to learn from and with each other can enhance the learning experience for all students. I suspect all of you know this from your experience. The fact your that you're at a learning engagement conference, you know the benefit and the value of being the sage on the stage versus in engaging and the guide by the side with your learners. The study that we did, showcases an exploratory design of multiple terms of two instructors courses between the year between the terms 2021. Spring through 2022 Spring, our university is a midsize private four year residential university adjacent to downtown Tampa vibrant air city. There are approximately 10,500 students enrolled in fall of 21. And students from about 50 states and 130 countries and over 1200 international students, we're very diversified population. So the question we asked is what is the student experience when Yellowdig a community engaged platform design with social media and gamification in a course communities mindfully incorporated into courses to improve Lel, learner self regulation, cognition and satisfaction? So we were asking a lofty question, and we're going to analyze various concepts that the sage learning approach could give us an offer to us. Enter Yellowdig so when we were presenting our findings after COVID, which I'll share a little bit with you at Online Learning Consortium, about two years ago now Yellowdig, we saw that Yellowdig has the had the means of this community building platform that they spoke of. So we investigated it into it. So for those of you who have not yet implemented it, I'm just going to cover it briefly because I'm assuming that several of you are using it. So and you will see it over and over again at this conference. But the reason we used it again, is because there's social and gainful aspects to it, it's relevant because everything that's input into it is personally input either by the students, scholars or by us so we can keep it relevant. And it's data driven. So everything that we do, we want to make certain that the data is driving our processes. And we found this out after COVID as well, that the more we look at how the data is working for us, we can focus on the learning aspects of it. And it's LMS agnostic, we can use it within any LMS is providing our universities give us the access to importing LTI so if how many with a show of hands in the Chatbot box or show of yeses that you've seen this this screen here. Tell me if you've seen this, this screenshot these screenshots. This is one of my favorite screenshots. This is from you holodeck, okay, very good. This is what actually convinced us to try it out, it was no longer that sage on the stage where the teacher is giving the assignment and the students finally do it the day before it's due. But it flipped the learning so that the students were learning it. And we were just guiding them. And they and they took off and lead with it, I loved the security screen, thank you very much Yellowdig. So we took off, experimenting with it. And from the data analytics side of it, we noticed that the tools that we could use within Yellowdig allowed us to focus on the learning aspect of in the classroom. So for example, when we saw students that were not engaging, we were actually able to just hone in on those students and support their learning. Or if we saw students that were getting a lot of engagement hits, we look into that and dive deeper into that as to what is triggering the conversation. This was an example I like this example, because I think one of your Yellowdig. Leaders, Brian had talked about the book that everybody Yellowdig is reading right now by Brene. And it's talking about the vulnerable vulnerability in leadership and the the merits of that. And we found that, in this in this example of one of what one of our students were engaging about, they were taking off on the concept and building upon it themselves, they were finding out this information without us having to preach the information to them. I have a research course, that students it was the first time I was very excited about this research is very hard concept to teach the students and how to teach it to them to do it properly, ethically, and then teach them about the methods and the systems, systematic processes that are used in research. And what I found was students were taking off with the whole concept and building upon it Neil and Yellowdig. So it's really an exciting thing for this, watch the students how they take off on the learning aspects of it. So in order to promote that gainful experience, I hone in on net work graphs like this, and this is one from one of my classes is from one of my first classes that I implemented Yellowdig. And I saw the two students that were off in the distance here and had not connected yet. And one student, they're just connecting to him. And he's not connecting yet. So I touched base with them and gave them some thoughts as to what they might want to consider as far as based on the content of the course that week. And likewise, maybe I touch base with some of the other students to see if they can engage in something the the other students were posting, or the ones that were not connecting with the others were posting. And from it, the data that I found afterwards is that some of the students would go off and just start making lots of posts to see, can I just get all my words in at one point. So I was able to drive the learning and drive the feedback with the students one on one and in group settings. But more so than me doing it. My I watched the students do it. So in this picture here, you could see that they started engaging, but their their classmates started giving them feedback as to how to improve, and how to engage in what the content was actually about that I was teaching that week. So that it was it was really a fun item to observe in my in our learners that they would actually take off with the connections that they were actually beginning and their classmates were beginning and leading. I'm gonna go more into that in a little bit. Let me give you a little bit more about the data. So let's see we have about 20 minutes. Anything questions from anybody so far? If you have any questions, don't hesitate to put them in the chat box. And Brianna Aaron Natalie will let me know that they're in there. I look forward to seeing where you all from it after the session. So about the courses from spring again from 21 to 22. We offered my program is instructional design. So I was teaching my learners how to what instructional design is all about how to use instructional design theories, what instructional design theories are immediate and instruction. And then my counterpart was offering writing classes technical writing, professional editing, research and writing, and then also leadership classes.

The frame network that we started with was based on our COVID Reese COVID research study. We are abraded, we partnered with two other colleagues at that for that study outside of our college. So we were operating for different colleges and studying the students experience during COVID. What that was like for them. Ultimately, they were asked that, and not they were asked what the findings showed that there was a need to adapt to change. Those who couldn't adapt or wouldn't adapt, were not were not happy, there was a need for critical connections. Students felt very isolated if there if those critical connections were not made there. And based on those, there was a suggestion or it showed that we should offer new instructional approaches with innovative digital resources, because the students that were using digital resources to stay connected. And the same thing with the teachers were more successful in getting through the classes with a better self self efficacy, as well as they didn't feel as much alone and isolated as the rest of them did. So the sage approach that we speak of that social and gainful experiential approach uses platforms that incorporates a social and gave gainful experience to increase that motivation. And let's show you how the design of the study was that we were going to collect quantitative and qualitative data, which we did from the students to capture their perspectives of using disruptive technology designed with the sage approach, the reports that we the results that we reported so far, we've actually had five terms and 20 classes. And the first one, well, let me give you an overview of the methods for us for all three items that we were analyzing in the question. So the first question we were asking about was a student satisfaction. The second was the student's self regulated learning, and the third was cognition. Oh, and what examples of gamification would you use Richard, we will get we I will get to that as well too, as to how we were motivating them with the gainful experience. So in order to study these three questions, we first use the electronic learning satisfaction survey, that actually Albert right RETs route from UF created with his team of students, and it was designed to measure the learning satisfaction of electronic learning. So that was the first study that we did. And that study actually has been reported, and I'll share that the results for you on that. But it was published by the online learning journal 2021, I believe, and then the self regulated learning dimensions, we use Zimmerman's study, to align the specific areas of self regulated learning, with questions similar to the ELS s survey, and I'm going to give you an overview of all this too. And a little bit, I'm just giving you a brief the stet the tests, the assessments that we use at this moment, and then the cognition affective and psychomotor. That cap test was used by rove A, we use that to research the cognition its students, we're actually learning from through this experience. So, we use the surveys and then the content posts observations, and then we will be using focus groups for this year. The ethnicity primarily white, non Hispanic, we had his same amount of Hispanic Latina, black or African American non Hispanic as between 75% and then 6%. And then smaller numbers of various races, gender, primarily females, males, and then the age was primarily Z generation 1995 to 2010 is how we qualified it based on the literature that we had. And then the Y generation classifications were primarily graduate senior and sophomore distributed fairly equitably with between them or equally between them. And then our terms as I shared before, the e l s s survey this is an example of the first survey that we use to test that satisfaction. So in Dr. Ritz helps a survey he uses bipolar adjectives for the learners to give their answers as to Was it easy to learn or hard to learn? Was it positive experience negative experience, all from the negative to the positive? The findings that we found the findings that we found, were all three or on a scale of one to five were All three or over, closer to four or above. So that was pretty positive for us saying that after COVID when they were talking about, they're not happy they're isolated here was a different experience for them. There's there seem to be experiencing a favorable learning experience it we're using this specific approach. The second area that we tested, oh, and that was published and xmin and Whiteside 2022, excuse me on in the online learning journal 2022. And all the references are at the end of this presentation as well. The second test that we used was using Zimmerman's three phases of self regulated learning. And we took those and we created questions that might fit into each of those areas. And we used the format of the way El es es was created. So for example, the self regulated learning asked questions like, instructor led the post each week where the peers and I led the post each week on no social media reactions, or I gave social media reactions, not satisfied satisfied, again, from the negative to the positive. The findings on that were also mostly above three, between three and over four. The one that we found interesting was the one that was almost three, the average, but it was not, it was 2.99. And the students said, I write my posts on the fly, versus I think carefully about my posts. From a teacher's perspective. Now we test all these assessments for interrater reliability as well. But from a teacher's perspective, and when we were writing it up, we thought that if a student's writing it on the fly, they're really not thinking about what they're doing. But again, the whole concept is that it's changing the paradigm of learning, students are no longer just learning on Friday night, when they're doing their homework, they're reviewing this over coffee, and they're each morning, they're dabbling into the social media learning a little bit and taking you away. And then maybe the next day, they're posting a little bit. So they're writing their posts on the fly, which is really not much different than the way we engage in the real world. When we're learning different things. We pull up the news for a few minutes. And we might write somebody something that we learned from the news at that point. So they're writing their posts on the fly, but they're not seeing it based on their other responses, as anything other than contributing to their learning, which was interesting. Finally, the last minute questions that we asked here, again, all reflect average or above average, as far as their, how their estimating their self regulated learning was using this Yellowdig platform. Lastly, the last assessment that we used was from CAP rabies cap. And but we actually only use the cognitive and affective we didn't use the psychomotor. The motor skills because it wasn't a It's not they're actually engaging anything. They're, they're using their their active learning, and their cognitive learning is what we're studying in this. So we asked, Have you changed your attitudes about learning as a result of this platform? Not at all very much so and questions along those lines based on that original assessment. And they all again said, over on average, that they were learning through using this mechanism? And I'm only not going through each question, because I know we're on limited play time here. But actually, I do have a few minutes. So I do want to let you hear it from the students. Let me see here. But before I get there, I think I might save that for the end to make sure I have enough questions, enough time for questions for you. Yes, I'm gonna jump right here for a second. So the positive reactions we got? Were ample, we left an open ended question in our surveys to ask them, you know, how do you really feel about it so that they're not just completing these Likert scales or they are actually, you know, reiterating for us their experience, and several of them said quotes such as this, I believe that Yellowdig was extremely helpful. The format was very modern and fun. The game gamification aspect of it made interactions more significant and required more critical thinking than most discussion boards.

And then we did have some negative reactions do we had some students in the beginning it was typically negative reactions were typically more so in the Beginning when they were first starting to change their mindset mindsets as to how to use this, one student said, Yellowdig is stressing me out. And we found that these students who spoke of it were those who were coming in as gamers that they play games in the real world. And they were a little annoyed. They didn't want to play a game in their classroom, you're mixing entertainment and education. They just want to just learn, just teach me what I need to know. And you know, gaming is first elsewhere. But there are other classmates, for example, this this one classmate responds, I had similar feelings about Yellowdig. At the beginning of the summer, I initially felt as the posts had to fit a certain mode as if there was some sort of right or wrong answer. What eventually changed my mind about Yellowdig was that I decided to stop worrying about the points. Or if I thought I was saying something that I wouldn't would be agreed with. I personally value authentic thoughts and feelings over contrived expressions and verbose language. I, for one, appreciate your posts. And if you want to talk about it, it's very interesting. I'm sure there's quite a bit to be learned from your engagement with such diverse bunch of stakeholders. So essentially, what occurred after this is that these other students started changing the mindsets of what this is all about when you can, when I said in the beginning that our message was purposeful, everything that we did was perfect, purposefully Incorporated, so that the students would be motivated to play this engagement, but also learn from the social aspect of it. And what occurred was that students were stuck with the some of them was stuck with the points initially, it's like, oh, I have to do so many points. But then when they started getting into it, and realizing that, if they were just posting something that was scholarly about the content and actually learning from it, then their classmates would contribute to those points that they were so worried about in the beginning. And here at the end of it is an example from one of those students, where they wrote, As I continue to reflect on the learning over the term, this was at the end of the term, I can't seem to stop thinking about social aspect of learning. Prior to my time in the Instructional Design program, I felt isolated as a student. While I have friendship with other students on occasion, I never felt they were part of the learning equation, the ID program has made me see things a bit differently. And I'm quite grateful for what we've shared in the pursuit of education. So the connection between this collaboration, and their learning really was made up by that point. So benefits and conclusions. Well, the benefits of increased connectedness, which was one of our goals, allows students not to feel alone and increased increase their self reliance. They knew that they what they needed to do to earn those points each week, it was very clear measure as to how they were doing. And it reduced the instructor workload from the minutiae to invest into it into counting the posts. So my time I used to offer and I still do some of my classes, I'll offer a LinkedIn, or another social platform, social media platform where students, it's just a private group still, but the students engage. And then I spend my time counting their posts because I require them to post and to respond. So I spend all the time counting their posts and counting those responses, as opposed to or counting their words, as opposed to really finding or contributing to the learning. So with yellow DAG, I'd see the posts come through in my email. And if there was any challenges, I responded to it, or if there was areas that they were off, or really absorbing the content and synthesizing the content, I could get in there and strengthen it one way or another for them. So it allowed me to facilitate the learning. Great question. Did you allow Yellowdig is replacement for supplement to UTS LMS. Blackboard product? No, we did not. We did not it wasn't an LMS platform. We used it as I didn't call it a discussion board. I called it a personal learning community. So but they were required to participate. It was part of their participation grade. Can we pull it into the LMS? To improve it even more to put it right into their gradebook? That would be best case scenario. But no, because we had other elements. We have other elements we use within the LMS so we didn't replace our LMS with it. We pulled it into it. The challenge is that we found are those students that are boycotting the system? No, I'm fine. This is not my it's not gonna be fun for me. It's education. You're not getting you're not mixing my game life with this. And it takes time for students to get that A ha moment sometimes, but those who do take off with it, and they lead their other classmates into that so that we don't even have we, as long as we get them with the clear rules and prompt them here and there, their classmates seem to take off with it as well. And they have their own reflections so that they actually add the learning, which is really exciting. And they get in get from it, what they put into it. Okay, so I'll go back to that student learning. But let's see, do I have time for this? For those of you who did not see my social, my post on Yellowdig community, one of the things that this student went off on taking off with, after he said, you know, we could post anything essentially on here, and we're gonna get our points, what does it matter? Well, what it matters is there's an option for classmates to flag students or myself to flag a student. And part of the rules, I tell them, you know, if you're going into anything that's off topic, or not adding or contributing to the learning, even if it's supporting each other mentally, like, you know, I'm having a hard time finding this in class, where do I go for this, if it's a q&a platform, even that supports their their learning and their, their mental state to be able to absorb the content. But if it was off task of any kind of learning whatsoever, then I told the students flag it and the students might lose points for off task topics. So this student said, we know what if I typed a potato 250 times, you know, so I'm still gonna get my points, right. And so I told him, Well, everything's got a consequence. So in a game, you you can, you can try, you know, you can try different avenues, you're not going to fail, you're going to find out what the consequences. So as I had directed them in the rules, you are aware of the consequences and the rewards are and Yellowdig gives all that as well, as far as their gaming points for it. And this student did wind up posting potato 250 times, and his classmates flagged him and I gave him points off. So he didn't do that again. After that, then all of a sudden, he started contributing to the conversation. So okay, and I see, do we have any other questions? I saw the one about the LMS. I haven't been able to keep up with all the questions. But Brianna, do we have any other questions?

Brianna Bannach 27:26
Yes, there is one in the q&a. It's about the surveys. They Caroline is curious if the survey was specific to satisfaction with Yellowdig, or the course in general? And then also, at what stage in the progress of the course. Did you conduct the surveys?

Suzanne Ensmann 27:43
Great question that the surveys were all addressed to address the experience in Yellowdig. So not the course content, but the Yellowdig platform. So that was all all those results were directly about that, that approach to learning using Yellowdig. Correct? And what was the other question?

Brianna Bannach 28:03
I'm not 100% sure what this is referencing, but Richard would like to know what examples of gamification would you use? Yes.

Suzanne Ensmann 28:11
Okay. So a couple of different things. So I had one student asked me, Well, is this just a point of vacation? Is it really a game, it's not an indoor, it's not an immersive, great game that you're going to get a It's not first player game or anything like that. But it's, it's gamified. So we call it a game full approach. Because it's gamified to motivate the learner and to make it fun. So, for example, the accolades, we use the accolades a lot. And we, we offered some accolades. For example, we had standardized accolades that my, my colleague and I used, one of them was, and actually we have a paper coming out, and I think that's included is included in it, but one of them was about it, I have to think now, um, and I can't, I can't think of it. But we used a name that was creative, so that when the students were showing something creative, or superheroes, and that we defined as something that was a superhero was something that went over and above, showing their creativity. So and we give these little definitions for them. So each time the students posted something that you know, they were really making the community strong or something, we'd give these little academic accolades of rewards, essentially. So that was part of it as well, but the students actually competed up against each other. So they were striving for more points. So even when they got all their points, sometimes they I mean, they kept going on but they would strive to who would be on the leaderboard each week. So I would also share that information with them as to you know, who who is on the leaderboard this week. So but then they were also not only competing as they would in the game, but they would collaborate so some students would you know, give via different emojis for various classmates that they, you know, want to support along to. So, that answer your question, Richard.

I spoke to marketing Yellowdig the non students participate in Canvas? No, we didn't use the discussion board and the LMS that we have. We didn't use any other discussion boards this was at. So all our communication conversations were through here other than email, or in the classroom. But other than that, all the conversations were here. Great question. Did were there any others? Breanna that I missed? Um,

Brianna Bannach 30:38
I don't think so. I entered this one in a direct message. But I think it could be good to mention it to everyone. Someone wanted to know if the, the network graph that you shared was something that you created. But I wanted to highlight that that's actually something that all instructors can access in Yellowdig. And we encourage them to it's just part of part of the platform.

Suzanne Ensmann 30:57
And it's wonderful. Yes, it's a great, it's a great driver for me. And Christine, you asked how the students tried to game the system. So they, for example, the student that did the potato, that was clearly he was trying to show you know, the system is broken, because I can get my points anyway. But if it wasn't scholarly contributions, the classmates were not responding to it, and Endor flagging it and same with me, and the students boosting each other's points. Yes, they could gain the system like that, but they're still in there. And they still they're not getting the points. So even if they're giving a point to somebody else, by giving them those reactions, there's, they're not getting anything. So they have to also contribute something to the learning as well, in order for them to get the points to so they fit all figured out how it works. And but it really seemed to contribute to the aha moments that several of them had. Once they get over the whole point thing that they have to score these points. Okay, so, um, yeah, too late. I'll tell you what, let me see if I can get this link for you for Christina, so that you can play it on your own. Yep. Let's see here.

Brianna Bannach 32:12
I also shared the link to the Yellowdig community. And I know you're already in there. So if you want to drop it in there, we can encourage everyone to hop on over to the Yellowdig community to watch this video as well.

Suzanne Ensmann 32:23
Absolutely. Okay. I can do that as well. Here. I'll chat session is that is it okay to throw it in the chat session? Yeah,

Brianna Bannach 32:31
go ahead and throw it in the chat too. Well, we are at time so I want to say thank you so much for a great presentation. I learned a lot and it was really interesting. And we do have a raffle to announce. So I am excited to congratulate I'm sorry if I butcher your name. Uh, Sarah, Stolberg, Berkowitz. You have won a free pilot with Yellowdig for six months. We will reach out via email to get that started if you're interested.

Suzanne Ensmann 32:57
Right. Thank you.

Brianna Bannach 32:58
Thank you for all thank you so much.

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