Gamification: Modern Motivation in Education

Q&A with Professor Hessam Sarooghi, Business Lecturer

Student participation has been a long-standing vital component within teaching and learning, and for as long as student-participation has been a valued-metric, one question has always remained in the minds of educators: How can I motivate my students to participate? 

Hessam Sarooghi, Professor at Butler University
To answer this question, we talked with Professor Hessam Sarooghi from the Lacy Business School at Butler University about his use of CN gamification features to successfully motivate his students. 

Q. Why did you start using CN? How long have you been using it? 

A. Two main reasons motivated me to use CN: 1) I was looking for a user-friendly platform to increase student engagement outside of my classes 2) I was looking for more objective metrics to assess student participation in discussions. I have used CN for one semester by now. 

Q.  How many courses have you taught/do you currently teach on CN?

A. I taught two courses on CN in Spring 2017, and I plan to use it again for two courses in Fall 2017.

Q. Have you ever used another course management or learning management system? If yes, how does CN compare?

A. Yes, I had used Moodle and Blackboard before using CN. CN, by far, is a better option because of its intuitive interface, social networking features, and objective assessment possibilities.  The badging functionality is an example of the CN’s features that I use. This feature is not available in other LMS systems like Moodle and Blackboard. The incentive structure embedded within the badging feature has helped me to motivate my students by acknowledging their specific capabilities like critical thinking, creativity, etc.

Q. PART 1: What tools do you use that benefit your courses on CN? Are there certain tools that specifically benefit the subjects that you teach? 

A. I use a variety tools including posts, polls, reflections, badges and global class. Global class is a feature that seems very appealing to me.

Q. PART 2: Can you go into detail regarding your use of the global class feature?
A. The global class feature is especially useful for my course (Introduction to Entrepreneurship) as it provides a great space for my students to share their business plan ideas with students in other classes, gather feedback and revise their plans.

Q. How does CN add to/supplement or balance your lecture or "in-person" course time? (If applicable - if courses are only online explain)

A. I have students in my classes who are not comfortable raising their hands in class or contribute to discussions. The possibility of online collaboration in CN, through different features, helps them to contribute to class in a way that they are comfortable with. I had a student last semester who did not talk in class at all but was the overachiever regarding getting the Anar seeds.

Q. What do your students think about CN?

A. My students love using CN. CN provides them with a medium and an interface that they are already familiar with. CN also accommodate to their different learning styles and preferences, which makes it even more appealing for them to use it. 

Q. In your opinion, what do you think the future holds for this type of educational technology in teaching and learning in general, and for yourself and your courses specifically?

A. With social networking becoming an indispensable part of our lives, and especially millennials, our learning and teaching approaches should be transformed to adapt to this new reality. The features and technologies used in CN provide an excellent opportunity for instructors and students to co-create a rich learning experience in which different learning styles, assessment techniques, and teaching preferences are acknowledged and facilitated. For me, as an entrepreneurship educator, providing constant feedback to my students is axial to my experiential approach to teaching entrepreneurship. The CN will substantially increase my ability to provide my students with near real-time feedback on their progress.

Professor Sarooghi utilizes gamification as a motivational tool to spark engagement among his students in order to appeal to their modern, social learning needs. Instructors, like Professor Sarooghi, are actively involved in updating and adapting teaching and learning practices to inspire new conversations and build learning communities among students and faculty.
If you’d like to join Professor Sarooghi and the many other educators and scholars around the world striving to “change the way the world learns”, send us an email at to request a free demo. For more information on what CN has to offer today’s educators, visit

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