The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Evolve: Gameplay in Introductory Biological Anthropology Courses


1Department of Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, 2Human Health and Evolutionary Medicine, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 3Centre for Anatomy & Human Identification, University of Dundee

March 28, 2015 , Archview Ballroom Add to calendar

Today’s students learn differently compared to those of a generation ago. This change in learning style has left instructors teaching introductory biological anthropology courses searching for innovative pedagogical techniques such as games. Gamification, or the use of game mechanics, techniques, and theory in non-game contexts, has been shown to be particularly helpful in increasing student engagement and learning outcomes. In this poster we introduce Evolve, a novel game-based learning tool for use in introductory biological anthropology classrooms. Evolve’s innovative game structure goes beyond traditional pedagogical techniques (i.e., lecturing, reading, writing, etc.) and involves multiple interactions with images, text, diagrams, and symbols. Through low-risk competition, students are actively learning course material and are engaged as participants, not as passive players. Similar to other research examining the efficacy of gameplay in the classroom, preliminary in-class observations and student feedback have shown that Evolve leads to better student learning and has great potential as a strategy to enhance student outcomes in introductory biological anthropology courses.