A Review of Tools for the Design and Development of Online Interactive Gamified Content : A Simulation Study
Keywords:e-learning, interactive content, gamification, online software, online platforms
Nowadays on-line education has become extremely popular, mainly due to COVID-19 and social distancing. While more and more companies already offer on-line courses, a vast group of institutions stay away from such methods, mostly due to the belief that on-line learning may not be as effective as classroom training, the infrastructure required to deliver on-line courses is costly, the transformation of course content into digital interactive content is time consuming, and so forth. But the reality is that more and more learners find a lot of advantages in on-line learning. They wish to attend courses anytime, anywhere. There are thousands of pieces of open-source software and tools to choose from in order to create interactive content without the need of costly software, and infrastructure or coding. Even so, converting course materials to on-line digital interactive courses can be time consuming since a trainer needs to research for the appropriate tool in a vast market of free or low-cost open-source software, evaluate them, master their usage and then transform the content into digital interactive content. Time and human resources can be considerably minimised if organisations have access to a complete framework for the development of interactive, gamified courses by using open-source or low-cost software. The objective of this paper is to present and compare a set of selected digital tools which can be successfully used for the development of on-line interactive content in different types of institutions e.g., educational organisations, but also in companies during the process of organising training or courses for employees. Such a review is useful especially for the staff who teach the students using digital tools in order to improve the interest of the students and the effectiveness of their work i.e.: teachers, adult educators, VET educators, trainers, mentors or coaches. The paper offers them the opportunity to select the most appropriate tools for the teaching process. On the other hand, the target audience can also be the students who decide for self-learning. In this case, they can choose the tools which seem to be the most interesting and effective in their learning process. The identified tools were assessed by the VET trainers/educators in five European countries: Poland, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and the United Kingdom (n=172). The research results indicate the most appropriate, friendly and free of charge open-source software used for the development of the interactive content. The originality of this paper comes from the fact that so far there has been no complex comparative analysis of the tools which can be supportive in the process of the development of the on-line training content with the use of interactive elements.