Collision of Playing and Learning: How Students Could Succeed in Diverse Virtual Teams?

Theresa F N KWONG, Pak Hung MUI

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Educators in universities increasingly embrace the symbiotic relationship between education and technology in recent years. Digital transformation has opened up a myriad of possibilities for universities to re-shape the educational landscape where gamification is one of the rising approaches which fuel students’ motivation and engagement in the learning process. This presentation outlines a joint-institutional project which aims to leverage students’ multicultural and multidisciplinary competences by deploying gamified learning where playing and learning collide among virtual teams on a gaming platform called “PaGamO”. University students across the globe were invited to join an eTournament which was the project highlight featuring the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. Teams were formed in such ways to ensure diversity and mimic the real world situations. Each virtual team had to accomplish several online tasks, from strategizing to competing with others by answering SDG-related questions. Two runs of the eTournament were organized in 2019 and 2020 respectively, with 243 students from 22 countries/regions registered in the first year, and 416 students from 42 countries/regions in the second. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected, including student chat histories, focus group interviews, data analytics from PaGamO recording students’ progress in the game, as well as the pre-/post-game surveys. Results showed that more than 70% of students had an increased awareness of SDGs after joining the eTournament. The students also became aware that their intercultural competence was not as high as they had self-evaluated before the game. It was identified that mutual encouragement, commitment to the team and empathy were the key factors to building positive team dynamic. The findings are significant for educators of the 21st century to prepare students for the challenges of this digital era, so that they could contribute productively in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
EventHigher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) 2021 Conference - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 7 Jul 202110 Jul 2021


ConferenceHigher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) 2021 Conference

User-Defined Keywords

  • Gamification, eTournament, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Collaboration Skills, Multicultural and Multidisciplinary Competences


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