The era of technology education has moved from the traditional classroom into an online classroom. The advancement of technology has facilitated this move by offering systems to support online education. One of the major and most used systems for online education is Blackboard. This system offers different types of platforms to “enable clients to engage more students in exciting new ways, reaching them on their terms and devices—and connecting more effectively, keeping students informed, involved, and collaborating together” (“Blackboard” 2013). The automated system assigns courses through a data transfer from the Student Information System (SIS). Depending on the set up and user restrictions, instructors are able to upload their resources. Blackboard provides messaging, discussion boards, web conference among other tools to promote communication (“Blackboard Learn | Creating a Virtual Campus” 2013). This method of online instruction lacks of the capabilities to create interactive content, interaction in lessons and provide an interesting delivery of information. Their design and execution it leaves too much to be desired in any subject matter in the context of basic information technology (IT) skill training . Participants report being un-satisfied with the learning process. This automated learning mechanism lacks of the necesesary learning methods and interactive modules to create learner-focused options and provide students with customizable learning experiences that better meet their diverse needs .
Even though Blackboard provides a great shell for online education its deficiencies make the stand-alone Blackboard learning experience frustating, unsatisfying and discouraging of the learning process. A solution for online education supported by Blackboard will be to use external tools to use in conjuntion with Blackboard to provide online students with a customizable e-learning experience which will make it possible to address these various learner needs and preferences, enhance the learning process, and provide students with more avenues for self-directed, active student-centered learning environment which promotes exploratory learning. By extracting a few elements from games, we can create engaging applications that are not only instructional but also encourage exploration and promote self-directed learning.
To support this investigation, an interactive educational application named Web Designer 401 has been designed to help teach college students and IT professionals the new coding standards of web development.[DM5] The target audience is online ITGM, CS students or other participants in the fields with previous knowledge in the subject. Web Designer 401 uses the basic concepts of Alternating Reality Gamming (ARG): a reward system, levels and new skillsets available to the students in every level to offer a learning experience that encourages progress and offer students control over their learning process by using user-center design and user focus interaction.