Gamifying History: Designing and Implementing a Game-Based Learning Course Design Framework

Keywords: higher education, game-based learning, course design, history education


This paper analyzes the development and implementation of a game-based learning course design framework. Drawing inspiration from task-based learning, the framework is structured around four core gamified elements: narrative assignment design; learner discovery; team-based collaboration and competition; and choice through quests. The intended goal of implementing this framework is to improve learner engagement and foster greater learner investment in the course. The framework, developed at the University of Waterloo, was integrated into the course design for—and subsequently taught in—a third-year history course. A mixed-methods analysis was conducted in which students (n = 15) were surveyed, interviewed, and observed throughout the course at different intervals. The results of the study suggest that the team-based nature of the framework and the embedded gameplay elements are most effective at improving engagement for learners, while some form of extrinsic motivation is still beneficial to ensure all learners find completing additional tasks worthwhile.

Author Biographies

Kyle W. Scholz, University of Waterloo

Kyle W. Scholz is an Educational Developer in the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo (CAN). His work focuses on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, as well as encouraging instructors to develop their own capacities for SoTL.

Jolanta N. Komornicka, St. Jerome's University

Jolanta N. Komornicka is a medieval historian and has taught at several institutions, most recently St. Jerome’s University (CAN). Her work focuses on medieval crime and society.

Andrew Moore, University of Waterloo

Andrew Moore is a PhD Candidate in the History Department at the University of Waterloo (CAN). His work focuses on the environmental history of fourteenth-century manors in southern England. 


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How to Cite
Scholz, Kyle W., Jolanta N. Komornicka, and Andrew Moore. 2021. “Gamifying History: Designing and Implementing a Game-Based Learning Course Design Framework”. Teaching & Learning Inquiry 9 (1), 99-116.