Gamification: A Tool for Lifelong Learning

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Hardly any child wants to go through the mundane task of studying. On our first visit to a school participating in the Government’s Tablets in Schools Programme, a child ran up to us and showed us his tablet. He had been watching a video on Youtube. Similarly, when a child has your smart device the first question asked is, “What games/videos do you have on your phone/tablet?” Children want to play games. They just want to have fun. And many times children have been conditioned to think that learning and school is a chore.

On the contrary learning is one of the most exciting, and albeit fun, aspects of life. For as long as you live, you will learn and that in itself is fun but sometimes translating learning to fun can be difficult. So how do you bring fun into learning? GAMES.

Gamification is the foundation on which EduFocal is built. Some may have less of an appreciation for it but what makes gamified experiences successful lies in how people are motivated. Gamification works by providing not only extrinsic motivation but intrinsic as well. Extrinisic motivation comes in the form of rewards, levels, leaderboards and rankings while intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, drives behaviours that result in enjoyment, positive feelings and happiness. These are often thought of as polar opposites but both are linked as extrinsic motivation can drive intrinsic.
Meaningful gamification, though, is not just about levels and leaderboards but targeting intrinsically-motivated behaviours. EduFocal’s platform does just that and as a result drives long term engagement in a non-game setting. Andrzej Marczewski’s RAMP theory illustrates this. He explains that there are four key motivational drivers which should be used as foundations for all good gamified systems:
  • Relatedness: social status, connections, belonging.
  • Autonomy: creativity, choice, freedom, responsibility
  • Mastery: learning, personal development, levels
  • Purpose: altruism, meaning, a reason why
EduFocal’s quick and easy messaging system is the bedrock of the EduFocal community which kids have even called a “social network”. They like being a part of a community. Friendships are created on EduFocal and having the student’s progress public via the leaderboard allows other to encourage their friends to do better or congratulate them on their good work. Often times students form internal competitions and face off against each other. This may seem extrinsic but it extends beyond that as students are motivated by the feeling that their peers value their input and experience.
Freedom is the core concept  of this driver. Many games these days have several modes of play from which you can choose. On EduFocal students can choose from activities by subject and topic regardless of where they are in classes. They may review material previously taught or they may venture into an area they have never done before. This helps them feel in control of their learning and take personal responsibility for it. With this level of autonomy, students may choose to focus on subject areas that they are proficient in and neglect weak areas but EduFocal’s system rewards all-rounded students thereby encouraging this behaviour.
All students on EduFocal start off on the same level. With hard work and lots and lots of practice, they are able to level up and earn a place on our EduFocal leaderboards. Even on a personal level, students benefit from seeing their points stack up given the work they have put in. It is important to us that we feel a sense of accomplishment when faced with a challenge and be continuously challenged. EduFocal is designed to engage users based on their level as such high level users would receive more difficult tests. This is important in continuing engagement and without it students begin to feel less motivated.
In all things we do, we must feel a sense of purpose. It is only human. At different stages in life, our sense of purpose varies. Students on EduFocal have already joined for the purpose of doing well in their GSAT and CSEC examinations. Beyond that though, is the purpose that they share with each other, their dreams and aspirations of being paediatricians and going to Campion College or St. Hilda’s High School and getting all one’s. In spite of having prizes like phone credit, movie tickets and cash grants, students are not lost on their higher purpose being a part of this community and in this regard EduFocal’s reward system is the icing on the cake.
Concepts which contribute to the success of gamification are hard to grasp at first. However, seeing the excitement play out in how students interact with each other and excel in their studies would convert the most stubborn skeptic. Students love games. They like competing with their friends. They like to say, “I see you’re at 500points. I’m going to beat you by tomorrow.” And in response that child aims for even more points and an even higher level. It’s a constant state of iron sharpening iron. Our high level of engagement creates lifelong learners which is evident to parents, and teachers too, who understand the unique value brought by EduFocal when your child is in love with learning and continuously motivated to learn.
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More New Features (Question reporting and new profile page)!

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Hello, EduFocal Users.

We’re always striving to improve the EduFocal experience for you!  We’ve heard your requests and we’ve brought them to life!

We’re bringing you two new features! Now, test takers have the ability to report any question that has a problem – whether it’s an incorrect answer, lack of relevant image or anything else – you can tell us about it and we’ll fix it! Just click on the ‘Report Question’ button beside the question you want to report.

FireShot Screen Capture #024 - 'Test - EduFocal' - www_edufocal_com_testing_96269

Then you would select the error from a list of options. If the error isn’t listed, you can tell us about it in your own words.

FireShot Screen Capture #021 - 'Test - EduFocal' - www_edufocal_com_testing_96269


Also new to EduFocal is our new and improved Profile page. We now use bright expressive colours to show students’ progress on their subjects. The subjects are displayed in an easy to read chart. If you hover the mouse over any section of the chart, you can see what subject it represents and the points the student has with that subject!

FireShot Screen Capture #009 - 'Eniola Johnson's Profile - EduFocal' - www_edufocal_com_dashboard_profile_view_3705

We’re very excited to bring you these new features! Go check them out now and tell us what you think!


Introducing EduFocal Video Tutorials!

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We’re excited to announce the launch of EduFocal Video Tutorials! Our videos can be viewed from any computer, mobile phone or tablet.  All you need is an internet connection and EduFocal membership (paid subscribers only, but everybody gets a month free!).

To start, video content will only be available for GSAT Math; videos for other subjects  will be available in the future. The videos, following the GSAT curriculum covers all topic areas  on the syllabus in a quick, easy to understand way that will keep students interested. With the help of real GSAT teachers, these videos are a perfect way to enhance the classroom experience without the typical classroom distractions. The videos are full of anecdotes and examples that will keep students’ attention and help them to learn and remember the lessons.

Now, if a student has trouble grasping a topic at school, they can come home and click on a video that covers the same topic covered in class. They can use these videos to revise what they already know, or clarify something they don’t know. Plus, since the videos will be available all year round, any student has the opportunity to get ahead of the class!

After viewing the videos, students may take tests just like usual to practice what they’ve learned. They can also view the videos again if there was something they didn’t understand, or move on to a new topic. Try out our Video Tutorials and you won’t be disappointed!

If you aren’t already an EduFocal member, contact us at help@edufocal.com for help to sign up.




Broadening our Horizons with Versan

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Hello, everyone!
Exciting news from EduFocal! Our students will be pleased to know that EduFocal is now partnering with Versan Educational Services to bring you SAT prep questions. Anyone looking to apply to college abroad will now have the edge of using EduFocal and Versan to study for their SATs!
Versan Educational Services is a company that has been operating in Jamaica for over 20 years, helping students in the Caribbean and all over the world to achieve their goals of getting to some of the top Universities in the United States. They have a strong history of guiding and supporting students on the road to Ivy League Education. Their specialized team of SAT tutors will provide the questions that students need in order to prepare. Their reputation and experience with SAT preparation coupled with EduFocal’s fun and challenging programme will give you the ultimate advantage.
Look out for more info on the EduFocal-Versan partnership soon. We’ll be ready for you in the new school year!

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Introducing the EduFocal Report Card

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It can be extremely challenging for busy parents to stay on top of their child’s exam preparation progress, an almost impossible task when the preparation only involves the use of a pen and paper.

Imagine coming home from work and not knowing if your child did any work or being unaware of how  they’ve been progressing in a specific subject or topic area. With so many things to distract your child, it’s important that parents have useful tools at their disposal to keep on top of their child’s progress.

EduFocal’s reporting feature seeks to solve these problems.

As your child uses EduFocal to practice for their exams we generate detailed  reports to give you valuable insight into their performance.

Our reports are designed to give you the information you need to help your child reach their full potential. With EduFocal, you can identify your child’s  strengths and pinpoint areas that give your child trouble, view improvement over time, and monitor their progress over a specified period.

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Date picker: Parents/teachers can see a child’s performance over a specific period.  Let’s say you’re interested in seeing your child’s activity on EduFocal for the month of October, the date picker would make this easy

Average score: You will be able to see your child’s average score over the specified period on a subject by subject basis and also on a topic by topic basis.

Lowest/Highest Score: You can see your child’s lowest or highest score over the specified period.

Tests taken: A parent can see the number of tests taken on a subject by subject or topic by topic basis over a specified period.

Full report:  The full report link shows all your test information from the first time you started using EduFocal.

Our reporting feature will only be available to our scholar ($1,500) and genius ($4,200) subscribers.

This is just the beginning and we will be rolling out additional features soon!

Email us at: help@edufocal.com or Call us at: 1876-545-6316 between the hours of 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Mondays to Fridays if you have any questions


EduFocal and The West Indies Cricket team join forces

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ORLANDO, Florida – Members of the West Indies cricket team utilised a customised version of EduFocal, the innovative social learning platform, in one of their team building sessions on Wednesday, October 24, 2013

During the week, the team will be involved in several team building exercises – indoors and outdoors – as well as interaction with Dr. Jason Scott Hamilton, the Jamaican Elite Sports Psychologist, who has worked with the team for the last six months.

Members of the team congregated in one room and battled for the top spot. With 4 levels, players were quizzed with simple questions ranging from general knowledge to music; answering questions correctly was a requirement to advance to subsequent levels. Correct answers carried points which allowed the players to rank on the publicly displayed scoreboard. With 44 points, fast bowler Tino Best seemed like the likely victor, but Team Captain Darren Sammy took victory from him in the last minute with 48 points.



The EduFocal Leaderboard Reset

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Wow! The new school semester is certainly going by quickly. Our GSAT students would have by now settled into their new schools and our CSEC students would have moved on to 6th form or to college.

At EduFocal, we believe that learning should be both fun and rewarding and we’re privileged to have helped with your exam preparation along the way.

The second year of the EduFocal leader board competition starts now! You may notice that your points have been reset to zero if you chose to join our new competition for 2013 to 2014. If you haven’t done so yet, what are you waiting for? Visit your rankings page and click the red bar that appears at the top of your screen. Opting in to our 2013 to 2014 competition gives you a chance to win prizes, and climb to the top of our leader board to win an award at our annual EduFocal Awards.

A point of note: all members who decide to participate in this competition will also have their points reset to zero. This is to give everyone a fair chance in the new competition.

General News

Profiled: EduFocal member, Warren Cassell Jr

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14 year old Entrepreneur, Author, student and last, but not least, EduFocal member!

Warren is a huge EduFocal Fan, check out his testimonial:

“Unlike most learning platforms, EduFocal makes revising a non-monotonous and enjoyable task. Not only has preparing for exams with EduFocal’s practice questions boost my confidence but also my overall performance. “

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EduFocal’s exam tips!

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With GSAT being just a few days away (March 21 and 22, 2013), We know the anxiety is building. Some of us are nervous, some of us wish it were next year March, some of us would like an extra month, some of us just want the exam to come and go…. Whichever group you fall in, one thing is certain – Everyone wants to do their very best. EduFocal has helped with the theory and now we are giving you tips on how to be mentally and emotionally prepared.

  1. Pack/prepare all items you will need for the exam at least a day before the exam
  2. Go to bed early – get a good night’s rest
  3. Arise early
  4. Eat breakfast
  5. Be at the examination centre at least 20 minutes before the exam is scheduled to start
  6. Read through the entire paper before beginning
  7. Ensure that you understand the instructions and follow accurately
  8. Read each question carefully
  9. If you are not sure of/don’t know an answer, move on to the next question and then if time permits, return to the one you were unsure of/did not know
  10. Check over your answers
  11. Remain calm in the exam
General News

CEO’s Speech, EduFocal/Observer Partnership Launch

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EduFocal, a social learning platform for GSAT and CSEC students was incorporated on November 19, 2010. The company was launched on March 15, 2012, a little over 10 months ago at the Jamaica Pegasus.

Today we’re here for another launch, the launch of a partnership between EduFocal Limited and the Jamaica Observer Limited. EduFocal, the first service of its kind in the caribbean to incorporate gaming elements in education has seen a very positive response from the media, students, teachers and other stakeholders. The Observer, with its forward thinking Leader, The Hon. Danville Walker didn’t hesitate to get this partnership off the ground.
Our partnership with the Jamaica Observer will see students being able to access EduFocal for free with the purchase of  a Sunday Observer. The partnership will also see EduFocal expanding its content base to offer not only questions and answers for subjects, but reading content material from the Observer’s popular Study Centre publication. This, with the unique offerings of EduFocal will be beneficial to many students.
I’ve always said that EduFocal was created from a student’s perspective, i.e how a student would want a service to practice for their exams and not how a teacher wants his/her students to practice for their exams.

At 22, I figure that I’m still young enough to understand the needs of a High School student and I dare say, the needs of a GSAT student. Times have changed and children have so many things that are competing for their attention, including video games. Using elements from video games (particularly the concept of leveling up and a leaderboard) and incorporating it into learning has proven to be an effective method of piquing a child’s  interest in learning.

On December 30, 2012 EduFocal and the Observer did a demo campaign. On January 13, 2013 another campaign was initiated. In that short space of time….hundreds of students at both the GSAT and CSEC level have registered to EduFocal and have done over 5,000 tests with a 5-10% test abandonment rate.



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