Personalized Professional Development through Gamification

by Sarah Mumm, Director of Education Services for Kaneland School District

Have you ever played Flippy Cup at work?  

Have you ever wanted to escape your PD session after 10 seconds of being in the session?

Have you ever raced through the day and competed with your peers to see who can learn the most and identify ways to implement your learning?  

If you are intrigued by any of those statements, we have the session just for you!  Come join us at the National Convening on Personalized Learning (October 31 – November 1) and learn how to personalize your professional development with the use of gamification. Staff across the nation are yearning for engaging professional development that is job embedded and timely and gamification is the answer. As stated by Brian Burke (2014) in the book Gamify, “Gamification engages people at an emotional level, which is far more powerful than typical transactional engagement strategies” (pg.23).

The ability to provide professional development where staff connect to the content and the strategy on a high emotional level has been our goal in Kaneland School District for the past three years. The session will review the rationale behind gamification practices as well as sharing real life structures to implement gamification with your staff. In our session, we will:

  • Explore the Honeycomb model for personalized learning through a Quest
  • Discover key factors of personalized learning environments through playing Flippy Cup
  • Learn how to set the foundation for personalizing through an Escape Experience

This may all sound like just fun and games, but gamification is much more than fun for staff and students. As noted in research (2015) gamification is about creating a need for staff to rely on each other and rely on the amount learned and implemented. It inspires them to connect on a higher level than just the need to learn and implement for a professional reason, but extend it to a personal need level to connect and support each other. Gamification practices provide opportunities for staff to learn, understand, and connect. Ring a bell? This is the foundation of personalized learning as well.

The ability for students to connect to content on their chosen level for both educational reasons and personal reasons is the initial basis for personalizing their education. Having students know who they are as a learner and how they learn best is the foundation of the Honeycomb Model in personalized learning, and the foundation for gamification. During our session, we will engage participants in learning through gamification and making connections between gamification and personalized learning. Participants will also leave the session with the key structure to set up any gamified professional development. Once you experience a gamified structure you can then adapt the content of the professional development activity to meet the needs of your district. The session will review at least three core gamified strategies you can implement the next day. Come and see how to blend fun with learning for your staff!  We look forward to seeing you at our session on November 1st starting at 10:15!  If you have any questions or want to connect prior to or during the conference feel free to contact me at or through Twitter at @Mumm44120.

Dr. Sarah Mumm and Mr. Mike Rice are Directors of Education Services for Kaneland School District in Illinois. They have been with the district for the past seventeen years and have been focusing on implemented gamification for the past three years. The duo has been researching gamification and personalized learning for the past two years with the intent of creating a regional professional development hub for all staff to engage in growing and learning together. Dr. Sarah Mumm focuses on Elementary Education practices while Mr. Mike Rice focuses on Secondary Education. The two will provide a vibrant and energetic session for all to engage in.







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