University of Oulu

Siklander, P., Harmoinen, S. (2021). Ice Age is Approaching: Triggering University Students’ Interest and Engagement in Gamified Outdoor Playful Learning Activities. In: White, P.J., Raphael, J., van Cuylenburg, K. (eds) Science and Drama: Contemporary and Creative Approaches to Teaching and Learning. Springer, Cham.

Ice age is approaching : triggering university students’ interest and engagement in gamified outdoor playful learning activities

Saved in:
Author: Siklander, Pirkko1; Harmoinen, Sari1
Organizations: 1Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2024-01-01


Higher education (HE) is required to educate educational experts who can design teaching and learning processes, which trigger students’ interest, motivate and engage them. Although research has shown the importance of triggers, particularly in challenging situations, academics still lack practical and theoretical examples on how to design inspiring learning experiences. In addition, little is known about the connection of drama, gamification and engagement in HE learning processes in outdoor contexts. The aim in this chapter is two-fold. First, we describe a gamified role-play design, which was implemented in higher education studies, in an international master’s degree program in the forest, and the students studied three concepts—engagement, gamification and collaboration—both by reading scientific articles and through their collaborative experiences in the forest. Second, to analyse students’ engagement in the gamified activities, and see which elements positively trigger their interest and engagement in the activities and which on the other hand negatively affect their interest. The data obtained comprises students’ self-evaluations throughout the activities and their reflections after the course were considered. The results show that the most important triggers are: (1) collaboration and learning together; (2) role-play activity itself, particularly when it is novel and provides feelings of success; and (3) outdoors activity. Other-directed and intellectual-creative playful triggers were the most evident. Frustration and anxiety can weaken engagement. Implications for educators are discussed.

see all

ISBN Print: 978-3-030-84400-4
Pages: 125 - 143
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-84401-1_8
Host publication: Science and Drama: Contemporary and Creative Approaches to Teaching and Learning
Host publication editor: White, Peta J
Raphael, Jo
van Cuylenburg, Kitty
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.