Case study: OneNote Class Notebook

Gamification to increase learner engagement

Author: Emma Thirkell – Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management


During the 17-18 academic year, I designed and developed a new approach to integrate into my teaching by using Class Notebook. The idea was based on the popular Escape Room game –students would work through a series of business scenarios based on what we had learned in the 11 weeks previous. I am a massive fan of using technology (and Class Notebook!) in my teaching, but I wanted something both fun (as it was the last week of term) and challenging (so I could tell what the students had learned, and what they might need extra support on).


I set up a Class Notebook with 11 different pages (“rooms”). Each “room” had a real-life business scenario or puzzle, and the “key” to the next room was a password – the answer to that puzzle or scenario.

I set the students in groups, and asked them the week before to bring along a laptop per group. When I introduced the idea to the group (an MBA cohort) they were excited, as they did not know what to expect. They were already used to me trialling lots of different technology approaches, so were open to this one. Once they had opened the first room, and read the first puzzle, the students started to become competitive with each other. Groups were racing to get to the next room – this created a fun but challenging atmosphere.


Some groups did not know the answers to some puzzles, so looked over their notes – this gave me a good idea of what I needed to reinforce at the end. By the end of the task, each group got to the last room, and were really positive about the Escape Room. Feedback included: it was fun, it was challenging, it was different and, the best one: “can we do this every week?” They saw it as a different way of learning, without realise that they were actually learning.

This is something that is easy to set up, fun (for both staff and students), challenging and allows us to “test” what the students know and reinforce areas where they may need help. Most of all – it made me excited, and when tutors are excited students are too.