Stash plugin: boost motivation with hidden treasures!

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Stash gamification plugins allow teachers to hide items in secret parts of their Moodle courses, which learners can find and collect in an inventory.

Have you ever won a prize in a raffle, found a forgotten bank note in an old coat pocket, or received a voucher for a free meal? Small treats, but they really brighten up your day. Game designers incorporate similar surprises, and these hidden treasures, called tokens or “stash”, can be collected, traded, or traded as players progress through different levels.

During the last years, gamification, often defined as “The use of game elements and game design techniques in non-game contexts” has become a popular strategy to increase learner engagement. Aware of the links between play and learning, Adrian Greeve and Fred Massart, current and former members of the Moodle HQ team, have developed a set of plugins allowing teachers to gamify their lessons with collectibles: Stash. Simple, effective, and widely used, Stash gamification plugins are a great way to boost motivation and expand learning with hidden gems. Let’s take a look in more detail:

What do i need?

To get the most out of Stash, your administrator should install the Stash block and Stash availability plugins from the Moodle plugin cache set. Adrian and Fred also recommend the Shortcodes plugin to facilitate the process.

How is the Stash plugin configured?

Let’s follow Sam, an instructional designer at a catering school, as she creates a course to introduce gamification to college professors. Her course, “Gamification Banquet”, with a naturally occurring food theme, contains both mandatory tasks and optional material for further learning. Speakers must complete the tasks required to earn the certificate but Sam decides to add an element of gamification to encourage them to explore the subject beyond the basics. She wants them to learn gamification by living it as students!

Once she sets up her activities, Sam locates open source images to use as a stash. With editing enabled, she adds the Stash block and uploads her first image – a tasty pizza! On the next screen, she types where she plans to hide it, and because her admin added the Shortcodes filter, she receives a snippet to add to the Atto editor:

Sam also adds a cake and a glass of wine, using the shortcode to insert them in secret places throughout the course. The settings icon in the Stash block now looks like this:

Sam hides the elements in optional activities, so only speakers who go beyond the required basics will be rewarded with this little treat. And then – in addition – she uses the Stash availability plugin to restrict access to a section giving advice and additional help with summative quizzes:

How it works?

When Restoration Teacher Hans logs into the course, he sees an empty Stash block:

He understands that there might be something to collect but has no idea what or where – until he stumbles upon the cake filling out an optional initial feedback form:

Encouraged, Hans engages in all the optional tasks, learning more about gamification while noting that his Stash inventory is filling up delightfully:

As if his surprise picnic wasn’t enough, Hans now notices that a hidden section is revealed to him, bringing him one step closer to the final certificate!

Want to know more?

Watch Stash Headquarters Member and Developer Adrian Greeve showcase the plugins at MoodleMoot Australia 2017. Watch the video on youtube.

Moodle plugins are add-ons that you can install on your Moodle platform to add a specific feature, functionality, or even look to your Moodle site. Only Moodle admins can add plugins to a Moodle site – so if you’re a teacher and want to try one out, talk to your admin.



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