Introducing a successful reward system

Jean-François Sénéchal is a lecturer at Laval University. He is also a father of teenagers and an occasional video game player. It presents a system of trophies, badges and rewards inspired by the world of video games. We present you the main features.

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Jean-François Sénéchal is a lecturer at Laval University. He is also a father of teenagers and an occasional video game player. He recently published an article on the scientific information site The Conversation in which he presents a system of trophies, badges and rewards inspired by the world of video games. We present you the main features.

Over the years, Jean-François Sénéchal has often wondered if video game designers haven't understood something that educators haven't yet grasped. In fact, he has often observed young people concentrating for hours on a video game as they struggle to find the concentration necessary to complete their schoolwork. 

Gradually, Mr. Sénéchal integrated new tools into his own teaching practice “to make the course more interesting, engaging and stimulating, and that, both for the students and for the teacher! "

In the end, he designed, with the help of the Information Technology and Pedagogy Service Center (CSTIP) of Université Laval, a system of trophies, badges and rewards inspired by the world of video games, which is actually a computer application.

“This rewards system encourages behaviors such as active participation, presence, humor, creativity, help, collegiality, leadership and curiosity. These behaviors are promoted in the discourse and policies of our educational institutions, but in the field they remain difficult to value in the assessments and the traditional scoring system ”, he explains in the text.

More specifically, he focused on five categories of behavior, which had already been identified. in a previous study.

1. Express yourself (create, build, embellish)

2. Explore (try, experiment, research)

3. Compete (excel, succeed, stand out)

4. Collaborate (share, help, cooperate)

5. Identify oneself (recognize oneself, find oneself, associate with a group)

When its students demonstrate, by their actions or their attitude, one or the other of the first four variations of the commitment, a trophy is presented to them, accompanied by a short word from the teacher. The last variation takes the form of a table of leaders which allows young people to see in which category of engagement they are most successful.

The introduction of the reward system in Mr. Sénéchal's classes seems to be bearing fruit. He concludes by writing: “The efforts that these students are willing to make for a few trophies are impressive. While the average number of visits to a course site is approximately 100 per semester, some students accumulate over 1000 for this course alone. Many say they are openly addicted to these trophies on discussion forums. Others write to me asking for a list of all trophies, badges and awards. They do not all seek to accumulate trophies, but all the students have a little more fun. Like the teacher, for that matter! "

In addition : A video in which Mr. Sénéchal presents his system of trophies, badges and rewards.

The original version of this article was posted on The Conversation April 28, 2021. École branchée presents a summary with the consent of the author.


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