The study by Gomez-Carrasco, Monteagudo Fernandez, Moreno-Vera, and Sainz-Gomez, M. (2020) examined the impact of an intervention program in teacher training on acquired skills and competencies of teachers. The study combined the flipped classroom design and gamification techniques in order to encourage motivation. The issue laid in an underdeveloped theoretical and empirical framework that could help to discuss the effectiveness of these strategies. There was also a lack of evidence and empirical knowledge of the use of gamification in a non-entertainment context.
The purpose of the study was to demonstrate the positive outcome of gamification strategies and flipped classroom design in training on the improvement of the skills of future educators, particularly in their ability to create new teaching activities. Researchers decided to link the flipped classroom as a daily work method and gamification as a motivation instrument. Gomez-Carrasco et al. (2020) wanted to identify the effects of the aforementioned active strategies on the learning perceptions and improvements of teachers during training. The specific objectives derived from this general one were:
- To analyze the opinion of future teachers on the techniques implemented in the training curriculum by group, gender and chosen strategies;
- To examine the perception that future teachers had of the skills acquired during training by group and gender, and the connection with the techniques assessment subscale.
- “To analyze the learning outcomes of future teachers in relation to their ability to make teaching proposals for Social Sciences in Primary Education and the differences by groups and learning perceived” (Gomez-Carrasco et al., 2020, p. 3)
The training program was implemented in four classroom groups on the subject Teaching Methodology for Social Sciences taught in the first semester of the academic year 2018/-2019 as a part of the Primary Education Degree at the University of Murcia (Spain). The researchers created a protocol to ensure fidelity in the implementation of the training program by the staff. The teaching team presented weekly video-content with the theory of the subject.
In the classroom, there were various activities based on teamwork, simulations, case studies, which were all combined with gamification techniques. To ensure class dynamics, teachers introduced the system of experience points. Students were also grouped according to the score they managed to achieve. Researchers also ensured there was a system of rewards to encourage motivation. Lastly, in order to inform students about their progress in an existing gamified system, there were feedback sessions at the end of each questionnaire. At the beginning of class, students answered questions related to the content of the videos they had to watch at home. At the end, team competitions were held to assess the students’ understanding of the information discussed throughout the session. Throughout the program, the groups had to develop an innovative teaching unit, which was then analyzed using an observation scale.
As for the study population, the research sample included 210 trainee teachers, who were divided into four groups at the University of Murcia. The age range of the future educators was 19 to 44 years, but almost 87% of the sample population was between 19 and 22 years old. The majority of participants were female (157 women; 75%), while only 25% of trainee teachers were male (53 men). Group 1 is the only one, which had a smaller proportion of males compared to the other groups. In addition, Group 1 differed from the others due to the fact that it was bilingual (at least 15 subjects were in English). Therefore, students in the bilingual group had “to meet the following requirements: have the nationality of countries whose official or co-official language is English, either, have a certificate of accreditation of a level B1 or higher in English and have completed a Bilingual Baccalaureate” (Gomez-Carrasco et al., 2020, p. 4). The other groups were more homogeneous both in terms of gender and in the academic background of the students. Having a group that was different from other ones helped researchers to check the uniformity in the implementation of gamification and flipped classroom in training.
Data Collection Procedures and Instrumentation
Researchers collected data via a questionnaire, which assessed students’ perceptions, and then evaluated it using an observation scale. They incorporated a quantitative approach that included two tools:
- “A questionnaire with Likert scale (1–5) to ascertain the perceptions of the participants about their learning” (Gomez-Carrasco et al., 2020, p. 4);
- “An observation record of the training units designed by the teachers in training to ascertain the learning outcomes” (Gomez-Carrasco et al., 2020, p. 4).
The ad hoc questionnaire consisted of three thematic blocks. The first block examined the perceptions of students on how the training program had influenced their motivation. The second block assessed how satisfied the trainee teachers felt. The third block addressed the perception of the skills acquired during training. The observation scale helped researchers to evaluate the teaching units developed by the participants. It included a 1–5 rating scale, which was created around four variables assessed by the teaching team: “suitability of the structure of the teaching unit; relevance of the training activities; methodological suitability; correction of the evaluation procedures and instruments” (Gomez-Carrasco et al., 2020, p. 6). The contents of the questionnaire and the observation scale went through validation by an expert panel. The task of the panel was to determine how relevant and clear the variables and proposed outcomes were for each assessment.
The analyses were carried out, including minimum, maximum, mean, and deviation for each of the variables. Descriptive statistics included “mean tests (t of Student and ANOVA of one factor); non-parametric tests (U-Mann Whitney test); and Pearson correlations between subscales” (Gomez-Carrasco et al., 2020, p. 7). The researchers utilized Student t and single factor ANOVA for sex and group variables. Nonparametric tests (Mann-Whitney U) were applied for the sex variable, while Pearson correlations were used between subscales. Gomez-Carrasco et al. (2020) collected the data, then coded and analyzed it separately using SPSS v.22.0 for MAC.
The validity of the concept of the perception of learning in the questionnaire had to be estimated prior to the analysis of data. In order to assess the reliability of the questionnaire, the researchers used the internal consistency method. They based it off Cronbach’s Alfa and composed of a set of items of Likert scale type in order to analyze the same theoretical dimension. Gomez-Carrasco et al. (2020) also checked viability of a subsequent factorial analysis. For each block of the questionnaire, the researchers assessed the correlation matrix carried out Bartlett’s sphericity test and a Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The exploratory ACP explained “the maximum percentage of variance observed in each item from a smaller number of components which summarize that information” (Gomez-Carrasco et al., 2020, p. 6). These tests demonstrated that the questionnaire had an adequate level of validity and reliability.
The scores demonstrated that all the students had a positive evaluation of the strategies implemented in their classrooms since they rated all the techniques higher than 4 out of 5. Overall, Group 1 gave the incorporated techniques the highest rating, while Group 2 rated them the most negatively. In addition, Group 1 valued the gamification strategies more than all the other groups. The researchers found no statistically significant differences in the students’ perceptions of the strategies in terms of their gender. The findings also demonstrated that the trainee teachers evaluated the learning acquired positively. Teamwork was “the most influent variable on the perceived learning, followed by gamification strategies, flipped-classroom strategies (with similar values between strategies)” (Gomez-Carrasco et al., 2020, p. 10). As for the students’ capacity to produce teaching proposals, the study showed that there were mostly positive results in regards to the acquired learning, with Group 1 achieving the highest perfoemance.
The main limitation of the study was that students were informed of the training method from the outset. Another weak point of the implemented program was the fact that even though the trainee teachers acquired specific skills in the proposal of educational activities for social sciences, the conceptualization capacity of these proposals was rather superficial. The researchers put more emphasis on technical and design competences. The program required multiple rounds of systematic reviews to ensure future teachers had a greater theoretical framework, which would help them create the proposals. Therefore, in order to confirm the findings presented in this study, more in-depth research is needed, which would include more learners in different contexts.
Gomez-Carrasco, C. J., Monteagudo Fernandez, J., Moreno-Vera, J. R., & Sainz-Gomez, M. (2020). Evaluation of a gamification and flipped classroom program used in teacher training: Perception of learning and outcome. PLOS ONE, 15(7): e0236083, 1-19. Web.