The findings that emerged from the analysis found that the challenge-based instructional design of the Educational Technology course for student teachers have augmented in (i) instilling innovativeness, (ii) character building, and (iii) enforced camaraderie among learners.
The first theme that emerged from the findings was instilling innovativeness, where learners got the opportunity to browse and shop-talk ideas and leverage technology they commonly used to produce a customized educational board game. Two participants had expressed their anxiousness on creativity when they first learnt about the coursework for the Educational Technology course.
When we first talked about gamification and our project, I was like, “Oh man this was going to be tough,” because I do not know how to develop games – although it was not going to be fully digital. But we have to embed augmented realities as well – and to make it educational was another challenge. But as we progressed through the semester until the very end and our project worked – the motor moved our gears – I told myself, “Not bad!” I never thought that I could be this creative and pull this off. We were so used to writing reports as assignments, but this course, we had to create something, a product of our own, and that was awesome.
I heard the word game and I immediately loved it! I have no idea what it was going to turn out like, but I know it has to be something creative and we have to be creative, you know, thinking creatively and critically. And yes, it had definitely turned me into a creative person when we did our project.
The aforementioned remarks are evidence that the InDeC framework for the Educational Technology learning design was able to sustain learners’ interests in the course, help them discover their abilities to produce creative projects, although the learners perceived it as rather comprehensive and intimidating in the beginning. However, the activities designed through the InDeC framework gives opportunities for learners to browse and shop-talk ideas through modelling on other people’s work or online resources. This is consistent with the extending component in the Interest Loop and the imitating component in the Creation Loop where learners look for solutions and devise a plan for implementation.
Browse and shop-talk ideas
Learners have mentioned that the series of workshops and events that they have participated throughout the semester had given them the chance to generate ideas, broaden their mindset, and translate their experience into their project.
We talked to other groups, asking them “How do you do your project? How is it doing?” and what not. We learned about their projects, we didn’t even have thought on doing what they have thought of doing. Then we improvise our work. I think this has helped us in one way or another in developing our project.
I got triggered when I looked at the exhibitions during the Educators’ Day. We tried a board game during the exhibition and theirs was on Medic Education … and so I thought, “Oh wow this is interesting, I think we can apply this idea on our project.”
Yes we adapted some work. We got ideas from there (exhibition) and when we got back, we changed our design for snake-and-ladder into something craftier.
… from the Design Thinking workshop, we learned about how we can specifically finish-up our gamification project. I think the avenue provided by the course instructor, this really helped me to have a sustained interest in completing our work.
The Design Thinking workshop had an imprinted effect on me because we were taught on how 3D models were made … we also had the chance to talk with the consultant during the Question and Answer session. And he is from the Faculty of Design and Architecture, which is awesome.
These interview excerpts imply that learners’ participations in exhibition and workshops had increased their curiosity, at the same time, boosted their confidence when they were aware that they could almost find the “missing piece” of the information gap casted upon them. Learners were somewhat starting to get immersed into the learning process as they have an aim to accomplish. Through invested involvement in the project through activities design using the InDeC framework, new ideas and fresh thinking can take root—thus further equipping learners with competencies they will need in the future ever-challenging world (Johnson et al. 2009).
In conduit with the aforementioned findings, Poth (2019) also suggested that innovative learning experience can be provided to learners by leveraging technologies in teaching and learning. It can offer students more personalized opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction and content engagement. This is evident in the findings where learners narrated impressiveness in their ability to use technologies for this course, either during lecture or for their project.
We shared with the students [exhibitors at Educators’ Day] that we were developing our board games at that time, and that we were also going to develop a game inspired by the Monopoly, just like theirs. It’s just that ours are going to embed Augmented Reality elements in our games. So the students were like, “Wow, how do you develop augmented reality? Isn’t it difficult to create one?” But to us, it was not difficult at all because we had learned in the augmented reality workshop on how to create them.
The consistent use of devices, usually smartphones, has increased my self-efficacy on anything related to the use of technology. After the semester ends, I was still thinking on the possibilities of games I can create using gamification and technology for my own area of study.
For the Explorace Game we played during class, I think that was great. We must have good companionship for the race or else you’re going to finish late … at each stations, we have to check-in. During that time, we were all immersed in an IT environment. Because we had to scan the augmented reality using our phones, check-in by posting pictures with our partner, and contacted other groups to ask for the locations of the stations and clues.
These findings are in consistent with Poth (2019) who claimed that an improved communication among learners can be achieved when the right, especially commonly used technology, is optimized. The practicality of InDeC framework is particularly in line with the spirit of challenge-based learning where learners work collaboratively with peers, teachers, and distant colleagues via the Internet, leveraging on technologies they used in their daily lives to solve real problems (Apple Inc. 2010). Although the above evidence were cited from different activities outlined in the InDeC framework, they all pointed to the same theme, namely learners’ increased skills in leveraging technology. It is also worth noting that the activities from the InDeC framework has a lasting impact on one of the learners when he mentioned that he kept on thinking about possibilities of creating more games even after the course has ended.
The second theme that emerged from the findings was character building. Learners mentioned that the instructional design of this course has helped them in improving their soft-skills and resiliency toward challenges. One of the seven key skills set for twenty-first century (Moylan 2008), which is communication skill and information fluency, is evident as narrated below:
My communication skills with my coursemates have improved. We seldom talk this much. But as we were preparing for the Innovation Showcase, we really talked a lot to make sure our project will turn out as how it was supposed to be. During class and after class, we discussed about our projects. Ideas kept flowing.
Greater communication and team work occurred during the final days leading to their project presentation at the end of the semester, where communication and problem-solving continuously and rapidly happened. The teams faced challenges and setbacks along the way, and this had forced them to visit, re-visit, and modify their plans to overcome the problems. Learners were very much engaged and invested in their projects, especially when the final presentation were designed as an open presentation to the public (staging component).
The Innovation Showcase had really stimulated my eagerness, because I know we were going to present our work to outsiders, not only to our classmates or to our own instructor. Communication, teamwork and critical thinking—all of these—and problem solving. As we came closer to the Innovation Showcase day, ad-hoc things happen every now and then. We had to think real fast to solve our problems. Sometimes our game didn’t work, our plan didn’t turn out as how we had hoped it to be.
It was also evident among the learners that the design of the Educational Technology course had stretched their skills and tested their resiliency, especially the final staging during the Innovation Showcase event where learners experienced challenges in a multitude of forms.
Days leading to the Innovation Showcase, I started to feel really anxious. But we had to devise our plan really careful, there is no room for mistake because it was not going to be the course instructor who was going to evaluate our work, but judges from other faculties.
Our plans keep changing. It can change in a blink of an eye. We have to be very very very flexible.
Even during the day of the presentation, the learners were able to construct iterative knowledge and skills as they observe how others presented their work, and applied the observation on their own presentation.
We had the opportunity to improve our communication skills when we observed how others pitched their projects to the judges [during Innovation Showcase]. If the project presentation were to be done in class, I believe most of us would present it rather differently. But for Innovation Showcase, everyone was like, more serious and composed.
The above excerpt is in congruent with Apple Inc. (2010) that proposed learners’ interaction with peers or teachers (other than classmates and own instructor) is the most beneficial and enjoyable aspect of learning as it promotes professional growth and development. On another note, learners had narrated that weekly consultation and project check-ins with the course instructor had developed their resiliency toward challenges, critics and comments.
I remember we were about to present our progress to you and something on our board game didn’t turn out as how we want it. So we had to keep on thinking about having back-up plans. Like, “What can we do if the course instructor would give us another advise and this had to change?”
My take away for this course is that I have learned to think about alternatives and opportunities. There are many ways to achieve our objectives, maybe it was not meant to be straight forward, but we can still achieve it. We can’t be too rigid in doing things.
I am the kind of person who likes to plan … I will make sure what I have planned will be done. But this course has changed my perspectives—there were a lot of unexpected changes, sometimes what I have planned didn’t work. I was frustrated and thought that I didn’t properly plan my work. But I think I am more acceptable to changes now, because when I changed some of my plans, the project turned out to be better than I thought. And that was very satisfying.
It was evident from the findings that learners were able to embrace criticism and bounce-back, although they had to change their plans. These findings are in congruent with Yang et al. (2018) who suggested that innovativeness could increase courage and resilience levels among learners. These aligns with IDC theory which hypothesizes that learners will become life-long learners when they are allowed to enjoy and gain a sense of achievement in their life (Chan et al. 2018). Furthermore, learners will better develop their twenty-first century skills through the Educational Technology course through the implementation of InDeC framework.
The third theme that emerged from the findings were enforced camaraderie, where learners noticed a heightened positive vibes revolving around them and sense of camaraderie among themselves. They reported that they are free to share ideas and argue, instead of fight, with one another. Although there were ups and downs, they managed to sustain a good group synergy. The interview excerpt below shows an example how learners exercise core skills that leads to overall personality development (Balaji and Somashekar 2009), such as diplomacy, conflict management skills, negotiation and persuasion, flexibility, and orientation towards goal.
[my mood] was down a few times. Sometimes I thought I got this, the other moment I felt I can’t continue with the project. Our group members have different ideas, so it was quite tough to come to a consensus, you know, to get everybody to agree with the project. And then sometimes our ideas worked, and sometimes they didn’t work. But we embraced our differences and finally get to finish it [the project].
“Competitiveness” was in the air. When other groups were demonstrating their project to the instructor, we were like “Wow.” We looked into another direction and there was another group sharing about their work to others, and we were in awe. We kept on telling ourselves that we need to do something outstanding and get it done by the end of our timeline.
Teamwork had occurred at a greater level, where learners expressed that they were not only motivating one another within their team, but they were also proud of the other team’s accomplishments during the Innovation Showcase event. This shows that learners have developed maturity through the activities that were designed for them through InDeC framework.
We gave words of encouragements to one another, and that kept us moving. Whenever anyone of us throws an idea on the table, we would praise them. We kept on checking on one another and that gave us the spirit we needed.
The highlight during the Innovation Showcase was the award giving ceremony. I didn’t win anything but I was very proud of my coursemates. Some of them bagged gold medals, some silver and some bronze. I was anticipating for our team to be announced as one of the winners, but we didn’t get a medal. Nevertheless, it was a proud moment for me to see my coursemates got on the stage and take their medals.
These findings clearly show that learners were getting more comfortable to express themselves while practicing diplomacy and conflict management skills with their team mates. From these evidences, the InDeC framework appeared to encourage learners to be more actively collaborative, enthusiastic, and have an invested motivation in completing their projects especially when they were nudged by competitors from other groups. Similar experience was found in the studies by Moylan (2008) and Yang et al. (2018) among learners who participated in a team work project activities.