Mysci (“my” and “science”) is an interactive application that applies the theory and principles of gamification to the current New Zealand high school curriculum. The incorporation of gamification is what sets Mysci apart from existing high school learning resources as it provides an immersive, creative and experiential learning environment. Science, in particular, is one subject that has real immersive potential when gamification techniques are applied. Students will be encouraged to interact in a narrative environment, which also provides an opportunity to experiment outside the classroom setting.
In designing the application, the most important consideration was the user experience and information architecture. A great deal of complex information has to be communicated to a broad range of students and multiple representations of a concept are typically more helpful to learners than just one. With this in mind, the application is divided into three categories – chemistry, biology and physics – with each category further sub-divided into three learning levels: learn, experiment and test. Each category is colour coded for easy navigation. The categories are consistent with the ways teachers currently develop and deliver the curriculum throughout the academic year in New Zealand. A complementary digital resource for teachers is also created to help them enhance student learning.
Another key gameplay motivation is experiencing a narrative and characters, which prompted the design of two mascot characters that resemble typical New Zealand high school students. Included throughout the various interfaces is a strong use of illustration and interactive elements, providing students with a more engaging and immersive learning experience. A minimal design aesthetic with simplified content was adopted, but colours are used to create hierarchies to help distinguish the most important information relevant to the student’s learning.
Nga Pae Mahutonga - The School of Design, Massey University, New Zealand