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AccessAlly has a variety of gamification features that can make your courses and content more interactive for your users. Gamification features are available with an AccessAlly Pro subscription, (formerly ProgressAlly).
Whether you just want to give your students a way to track their own progress, or you want to reward them for that progress, or you want data you can use to evaluate how people are moving through your content, the AccessAlly gamification features can help you make this happen.
The basis of AccessAlly’s gamification features are the objectives you can set for students to complete. In their simplest form, objectives become a list of items for students to check off. However, you can build in complexity by exploring the additional options of each objective types.
In this post, I want to give an overview of all the objective types available. I will explore objective types with additional setting options in their own blog posts.
You can use Objectives to create a list of tasks your students should complete as part of a course/unit/module. For example, watching a video, reading an assignment, etc.
There are a variety of objective types available, depending on what you are asking your students to do. I will describe them below.
Your students can use the list of objectives to track their progress through a unit. And you can also use it to require them to complete a unit before they proceed to the next one. AccessAlly gamification features can (optionally) unlock a unit only after students complete all the objectives in a preceding unit.
While your students can check of text objectives manually, the system checks off most of the other types of objectives when the students complete the action required.
This is what a list of objectives looks like, though you have some power over the styling:
Text objectives are the simplest of the objectives. They can be anything you want because they consist simply of the text you type into the objective.
While you can use them for anything, generally I use them for objectives that cannot be auto-detected by the system (like attending a group call, or adding your email address to their safe list, or taking action out in the non-virtual world).
Students complete text objectives manually by clicking the checkbox.
A quiz objective is directly tied to a quiz that you create on your page/post using Accessally’s quiz functionality. For details on the quiz feature, you can read more here.
The quiz objective is checked off automatically when the student completes the quiz you create for the unit in question.
Media objectives are used to indicate whether a student watched a video or listened to an audio file. You can create a media item in your ProgressAlly settings by specifying a video or audio file from your assets (files can be hosted on your wordpress site, a vimeo, youtube, wistia or Amazon AWS account). Then, when you create an objective and choose the Media type, you can relate it to the media item you created.
This type of objective is versatile. It allows you to bookmark specific places in the media file for navigation, and it can be checked off manually or automatically.
To bookmark places in your video or audio, you set the “Play Media at“ to a specific minute and second in the file. This helps your students navigate to specific places without having to listen to the entire thing. This is helpful when your files are quite long, or when you cover a number of things that a student may need to listen to without the context of the entire call.
I have a client who uploads group calls into her student portal, and we bookmark each question asked by a student so anyone listening to the replay can get to a specific question without watching the whole thing.
If you are simply letting your student keep track of their experience, they can check off the media objectives manually. However, if you want to require that they watch or listen to a media file in its entirety in order to get credit for it, you can set the objective to be checked off only when they get to a specific point in the video (usually a few seconds before the end).
This type of objective gets checked off automatically when the objectives on another page or post are all completed. It’s useful in scenarios where your unit is broken up into multiple pages or posts. You can have the main page or post of the unit track the objectives of all the sub-pages, and consider the unit complete when all of the subpages are completed.
It is also useful for combining with the percentage of completion features. If you want to present the percentage completion of a whole course or a unit that is made up of multiple pages; you need a way to tell the system which parts make a whole of that 100%.
You can use the Page/Post objective to summarize this information and combine it with the percentage completion shortcodes to display the right information.
These days, since the roll out of Offerings, you can use the Offering objective to track completion of a whole course, but the Page/Post objective still works for units/modules made up of multiple pages.
For example, I have a client who runs a course over a period of 11 months. Each month of content has multiple pages and objectives. We use the Post/Page objective on one main page to summarize all the pages in the course, so we can then present the percentage of completion of the whole course in multiple places throughout the course pages.
Notes are, in their simplest form, a way for students to take notes on a course page and save them. However, you can also use them to have students submit answers to questions about the material (like homework assignments).
The Note objective allows you to track whether a question has been answered. You can use the Note settings to decide if any submission counts as a completion, or if you (or someone on your team) need to review the answers and approve them before the objective is marked as achieved.
AccessAlly has a feature to protect media content, such as pdf or excel files, etc. The purpose is to make them easily accessible to your members, but not accessible to anyone on the internet who isn’t logged in to your site and has specific access to them.
The Download Content objective allows you to track whether a student has actually downloaded a file. Personally, I haven’t used this for a client yet. However, it is useful in cases where you are selling downloadable items to easily track who has downloaded the content.
AccessAlly also has a feature to create downloadable certificates for people who complete a course. This objective lets you track whether someone downloaded their certificate.
This objective is useful for tracking completion of goals in all the pages or posts that make up an Offering without having to use multiple Page/Post objectives.
It is especially useful in situations where you add new content to a course or offering regularly, since it automatically includes it without you having to go to a summary page to add a new objective.
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