Pedagogical concept

The educational concept of eSquirrel combines Blended Learning, Mobile Learning and Gamification.

Blended Learning

Blended learning combines various teaching and learning elements, whereby the advantages of face-to-face learning are combined with those of e-learning. This didactically well thought-out combination results in the added value of blended learning.

Your course same as your eSquirrel app

A digital course can be designed with eSquirrel exactly like the underlying book or individually designed courses and materials. In the same way, the tasks are reflected in the various question types in the eSquirrel app. The learner can find his way around the app just as easily as in the book or the course.

One advantage of a digital course with eSquirrel is that tasks can be repeated as often as you like. Tasks do not need to be erased or recopied. This makes it easier to transfer knowledge into long-term memory.

One advantage of embedding an eSquirrel course in a classroom course is that learners have a direct real-life contact person for questions.  The highlight: Students can use the app to indicate to the teacher that they would like more information on a specific task or question in class.  And teachers see quite independently how good or difficult the students are doing.  A glance at the teachers’ portal before the lesson can revolutionise face-to-face teaching.

eSquirrel also enhances the other advantages of classroom teaching and e-learning courses. Thus, social interactions within a class are also mapped in the eSquirrel app using leaderboards, chats and student-initiated learning duels*. The app also enables self-determined learning at one’s own pace and motivates the user to optimal repetition through gamification in order to secure what has been learned in the long term.

Last but not least, eSquirrel offers another combination possibility of face-to-face teaching and eLearning. To keep the learning progress of both teaching methods coherent, the teacher can also give homework exercises via the eSquirrel app. To do this, he or she simply sets a date by when a particular course unit should be completed. The date is displayed in the app, as is the timely completion. And, of course, the teacher can immediately see who has been diligent and who has not.

And: eSquirrel is not only a reliable partner for blended learning – eSquirrel also makes it mobile! On smartphones and tablets – anytime and anywhere.

* In development

Gamification – The playful added value

eLearning is modern and contemporary, but faces the demanding task of motivating learners to deal with the material offered, to solve tasks and to exchange information with others.

Gamification is an approach to increase this motivation, to make the learning of the future even more interesting, so that the joy of learning is maintained. Playful elements are applied in the learning process.

Gamification elements in eSquirrel:

Quests

Quests are small tasks that make learning more varied and have the following functions depending on the content:

  • Consolidation or application of the acquired knowledge
  • Refreshing knowledge of previous lessons – didactic reminder
  • More variety when learning and entertainment value

A quest contains tasks that are similar in content, but are didactically differently prepared.

Tasks

A task is always part of a quest and can be solved within a few minutes without tools. The large variety of different feed types ensures variety. The following are available:

  • Drag & Drop questions, such as cloze texts, assignment tasks or sorting tasks,
  • but also multiple choice or multiple response questions,
  • as well as decision-making questions and open questions.

The variety is characterized by mental (different mental approach to a problem), as well as motor and haptic (different movement on the display: pulling, wiping, typing, etc). This is of course particularly helpful for motor learning types. The types of tasks mentioned above reflect, among other things, the question types of the high school diploma in Austria. As in real life, there are easy, medium and difficult tasks.

Chapter

Like in a book, several quests are combined in one chapter and are dominated by one color. A chapter is considered completed when all quests of that chapter have been completed.

Acorns and the learning system

Students can collect acorns in the quests. For each task there are 1, 2 or 3 acorns according to the difficulty level. If the learner answers the task in a quest correctly the first time, he or she receives the full score. If he answers the task the second time, he still gets half the points. If the task is not completed even then, you see the solution. However, you must answer the quest correctly on your third attempt (or later) to complete the quest. You won’t get any more acorns for it.

Didactic objectives of the learning system

  • The point system allows learners to try things out without being punished too much and rewards knowledge that is remembered.
  • The quest system motivates learners to deal with all questions and gives them as many chances as they like. It offers the learners two attempts to solve the task independently (possibly by trial and error) before it reveals the solution. After two unsuccessful attempts, the system switches from independent learning to learning training. The learning training tries to convey the learning content by repeatedly displaying the solution. In the best case the learner understands the solution. If not, he has the possibility to signal this to the teacher by pressing a button. The teacher can then explain the task in class. As a minimum result, the learner could correctly reproduce the learning content at least once within the quest.

4 steps against forgetting: Bronze, Silver, Gold & Epic

The best remedy against forgetting is to repeat. If you repeat too often, it is boring and is perceived as too easy. If one repeats too seldom or forgets to do so, one has usually already forgotten the learning content. eSquirrel helps and provides optimal repeat intervals which are based on Ebbinghaus’es forgetting curve.

The first time you complete a quest, you already reach level bronze. If you repeat what you have learned within one day, you will still rememeber 90% of it.  With this sense of achievement, you have already reached level silver with eSquirrel! eSquirrel visualizes the time you have to let pass before repeating.

In Silver level the learner is playfully motivated to repeat the quest in 3 days. When exactly is up to the learner.  This increases the “empowerment” through the learning process and thus also the motivation.

In level Gold it is then 9 days to retry. After that (level Epic) the learner has taken the last step to transfer the knowledge from short term to long term memory. Voluntary repetitions, especially to polish up the score, are of course still possible.

Small and large medals

In addition to the quest based learning concept, the learner also receives medals as awards for completed chapters and courses. There are small medals for each completed chapter. If every chapter of a course is completed, there is still the big medal for it, which puts everything else in the shade.

Duels and Quests: Trophies in development

Two students in the same course can duel each other on any quest. Speed and accuracy count! The winner receives a trophy!

* In development