What Do Constructive Learning Theory & A Gamification Tool Have in Common?

A lot of our users are teachers. Therefore, we thought it would be useful to connect different Seppo features with different pedagogical theories and frameworks to show you how indeed, Seppo has a place in the educational world. It is not just gamification for the sake of gamification.
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What Do Constructive Learning Theory & A Gamification Tool Have in Common?

First, Eeva, our Head of User Experience, is going to discuss the constructivist learning theory and link it to for example game boards and levels. Afterwards, Eeva dives into more detail about different Seppo exercise types and opens the functions behind them.

Constructive learning theory – learning by building on something

As constructivist learning theory sees it, learning happens by building – constructing – new knowledge on top of previous knowledge. There is also a social dimension to learning: it happens in interaction with others.

Connecting learning to everyday life

As a combination of our personal experiences and formal learning, our knowledge is connected to everyday life. An authentic environment can help learners to see connections between it and the subject to be learned. In Seppo, live map games take learners to explore their everyday environment. When authentic environments can’t be used, 360° pictures are a good replacement.

Taking advantage of levels

A good way to start learning is to become aware of what we already know about the subject. Taking advantage of levels, we can gradually build new knowledge. On the first level, the exercises can evoke, test, and make prior knowledge explicit. On the following levels, players can get new information and apply it to gain new knowledge. At the end of the game, there can be a check on how players’ understanding of the subject has changed. 

Another way to use levels is to increase the difficulty level step by step. This way learners can work in their zone of proximal development: if an exercise is too easy for a learner, he can move on to the next level. For another learner, the difficulty level is just right on the lower level.

Multidisciplinary learning: Studying a subject from multiple perspectives

When we want to study a subject from multiple perspectives, exploration mode is a good tool for that. A game can have up to 10 game boards. If one is dedicated to an introductory, the nine other game boards can each represent an angle: a theme or a subject in multidisciplinary learning. Allowing learners to choose the angles they are interested in can increase their motivation. Players can then come together and share what they have learned. This way learning becomes social: learners can learn from each other.

Exercises are the heart of a learning game! 

Let’s take a closer look at Seppo exercises and discover the functions behind them. The exercises are the heart of the game and it is not indifferent what kind of exercises you create for the games, therefore it is good to know how to use them and why.

Creative exercises (or open-ended exercises)

As an open-ended exercise, creative exercise has a lot of uses. Think of a picture as an answer method: players can take photos that show how the subject is present in their everyday life. But the answer can also be a mind-map or a process chart – hand drawn and photographed or made with an app.

Video and audio are good for explaining things: for example, the mind-map can be explained in more detail. Learners can act out a situation and make a video of it, or they can interview an expert. For language learning and younger students’ reading exercises, video and audio are powerful tools, especially when learners are allowed to record their answers at their own pace outside the classroom. Without the social pressure of the classroom setting, many learners who rather stay quiet in a big group, excel in these assignments. And let’s not forget text: it’s good for listings, writing definitions, explaining, summarising…

Multiple choice and checkbox exercises

Multiple choice and checkbox exercises can be used to check prior knowledge but also to get new information and apply it. For example, true-or-false questions, picking multiple correct/incorrect statements, and selecting the correct explanation work well for these purposes.

Missing word and match pairs exercises

Missing word exercise can be applied in naming key concepts. Match pairs exercise works for showing relationships between concepts. Another application is to connect a concept with the correct explanation.

Create and comment exercises

Our newest exercise type is the create and comment exercise. Like in creative exercises, players can answer with text, picture, video, or audio. In addition, they can see what others have answered and comment on the answers. It is excellent for sharing and creating knowledge together. 

The instructor’s role and giving feedback

The instructor has an important role as the more knowledgeable person who can guide learning by giving feedback during the game. The feedback can be both instructional – pay more attention to this and that – as well as supportive – keep up the good work. If players have misunderstood something, it is possible to ask them to redo an exercise. If there’s a correct solution to an exercise, automatic feedback is good for explaining it.

We hope that this blog post helps you to get a better grip on the pedagogical functions of Seppo and maybe opens the eyes of those who still doubt that you can benefit from gamification!