If you want a fun way to encourage students to be active explorers, consider adding “Easter Eggs” to gamify your online course. This is one of the easiest ways to incentivize and add a sense of play to the learning.
An “Easter Egg Hunt” was originally an Easter holiday game of hiding brightly coloured eggs and having children find them. Adopted by the gaming world, programmers hid virtual “treats” inside video games (bonus points, extra protection armour, etc) to be uncovered during game play.
In online learning, we can sprinkle easter eggs throughout the course to encourage active exploration in all corners of our courses.
Let’s walk through some common questions about adding Easter Eggs to your course.
1. What can you use as an “Easter Egg”?
You can use anything! Whatever you can dream up. They can be all the same, using a single image repeatedly all over the course, or all different like a “set” to collect.
They don’t have to be Easter Eggs!
2. What kinds of rewards does an Easter Egg trigger?
Each Easter Egg triggers something novel and engaging. For example, a Youtube video with a funny song or some humour.
It can also link to interesting extension material, a screencast from the teacher, clues to a mystery, etc.
3. Where should they be placed in the course?
I like thinking strategically with this gamification technique. Here is a short list of ideas:
- At the end of each unit to encourage forward motion in the course
- In the course outline, grading policy or other “dry” material they may want to skip
- In your “teacher profile” area (have this egg linked to a little video of you!)
- In the feedback area of a quiz or project, as a little reward for completing a major assessment
- In forum entries. Even better, in OTHER people’s entries to encourage reading the thoughts of their peers.
- Completely random. Keep students interested by adding them WHILE the course is happening too.
You can even have a little (just for fun) quiz at the end of the course that can only be answered after they have gathered all the eggs.
Gamification doesn’t have to be complex. Try it and watch the impact it has on the engagement and completion results in your course.
Have fun and let me know if you try adding Easter Eggs to your online course.