The Insurance Institute is the first educational body in Ireland to use Quitch, a gamified mobile e-learning app that aims to change the way learners engage with knowledge. The app was created by Dr. Grainne Oates, an accounting lecturer (from Ireland living in Australia) and when piloted with students last year, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive with many crediting it with helping them to better retain knowledge and in turn achieve greater success in their exams.
We caught up with the creator of the app, Dr. Grainne Oates, to learn more about its development.
Where did the idea come from?
Quitch was born from my frustration as an educator that we were not delivering an experience learners were enjoying nor were they getting the best possible benefits from their learning. Students had also voiced their opinions and so we decided that together we would build a solution.
Globally, more than 1.2 billion students in 186 countries are out of the classroom. As a result, education has changed dramatically, as schools and universities have moved to fully-distance learning models, mainly as a result of the pandemic. There’s no doubt our world is changing, which means our learning environments are changing too.
What sparked your interest in mobile learning and gamification?
I’ve always been interested in the best way to educate and learn. The opportunity to learn is a real game changer and can make such a significant difference in people’s lives. My belief is that the mobile phone is an underutilised resource for education. As I researched mobile learning, I was drawn to the concept of engagement through gamification and decided to combine the two.
Does gamification improve the learner experience?
Absolutely. Gamification improves the learner experience and research proves it. Game-based techniques are proven to boost performance and increase comprehension. Our latest research shows that those who actively engaged with Quitch received a grade 22% higher than those that chose not to engage. The Insurance Institute saw that for those students who engaged with the app 100%, they had an exam success rate of 96% compared to 74% success for those who didn’t use it, which is phenomenal.
What is the research and development phase like for Quitch?
Our ongoing research and that of our learning community is critically important. We have found testing in an online environment makes for a much more engaging experience for the learner and keeps the mind from wandering. Also, it’s important for the educator to have the data in real time which lets them know who is ‘at risk’ of failing, allowing them to reach out at the end of that session.
We know the sooner we intervene and support the much greater chance of success for the learner. For The Insurance Institute I know that the education team value this greatly as it allows them to understand better and allocate resources to areas in which they can see a student is struggling.
Results in action
Our own Quitch pilot launched in September 2020 with an intake of 365 students on the designated module. From this group, 65% signed up to the free app after receiving the introductory email.
The app presents a bank of 121 questions, using various formats that cover the eight chapters of the textbook. Students receive a weekly notification through the app itself to remind them to log in to test their knowledge after completing their chapter, with questions relating to that content released weekly.
At its peak, 41,000 questions were attempted/ answered by 237 students on Quitch in the week leading up to the January 2021 exam sitting with an 85% accuracy. Students with 100% completion rates had a success rate of 96% compared to the overall success rate of 74%.
The data generated by the app has helped our education team allocate resources and supports to areas of the curriculum that need additional emphasis, with exceptional feedback including requests for "more like this" and reinforcements of the approach as "a great way to learn and practice in an easy manner".
Following the success of its recent trial, we will be using the gamification app ‘Quitch’ across all of our entry level qualification modules from September 2021.