Μαζικά ανοικτά διαδικτυακά μαθήματα και παιχνιδοποίηση: ιστορία, σύγκλιση, ερευνητικές προτεραιότητες και πολιτικές
KeywordsΠαιχνιδοποίηση ; Διαδικτυακή πλατφόρμα ; Ανοικτότητα εκπαίδευσης ; Διαδικτυακά μαθήματα ; Gamification ; Open online cources ; Μαζική εκπαίδευση
Massive Open Online Courses/MOOCs, a form of e-learning distance education that was largely advertised as a disruptive educational innovation, had known an unprecedented worldwide diffusion during the second decade of the 21st century. Having as technical providers a great number of digital course management platforms and as content providers famous Universities, multinational technology companies that specialize in internet related services, as Google, or, recently, agencies such as Europeana, the web portal created by the European Union, MOOCs had a lot of media coverage from the first moment and were quickly confronted with criticism, mainly on the high percentage of students that tend to abandon them prematurely. The mobilization of Gamification as a way to counterbalance the factors that allegedly contribute to the decreasing student engagement appeared to have a positive effect, leading designers of MOOC courses to embed in the structure of the courses various gamification elements, aiming to create a pleasant and user friendly digital learning environment that would provide the prerequisites for increased student commitment, giving the participants incentives capable to ensure student retention through prolonged engagement with the content and the proposed activities. In the context of this dissertation, it was attempted, to begin with, a historical review about the first steps of MOOCs and Gamification, examining their origins, the technological and educational prerequisites of their upheaval, their parallel evolution and how they started to converge, the various policies adopted by states, EU bodies such as the European Commission, and Universities that contributed to their expansion and concerning MOOCs, their association with the movement of Open Education, related to the openness dimension, that is part of their identity. Secondly, after dealing with issues of theoretical terms clarification concerning gamification elements, gamification mechanics and dynamics etc., an investigation has been launched into the use of specific gamification elements in MOOCs, based on data provided by fifteen papers, mainly in English, concerning empirical research during a period of time covering the years 2014-2019, followed by corresponding research and partial recording of the authors experience attending twelve MOOCs being in action on November and December 2019 and further research accomplished by browsing the information pages of three MOOC platforms to detect not only how often and which gamification elements were used, but also whether the MOOCs’ content were offered as Open Educational Resources. The comparison of the findings led, among others, to the conclusion that nowadays gamification, both social and structural, is being greatly embedded in MOOCs’ planning and made clear which the most frequently used gamification elements are.