Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Ryan Jeffares 

BA [Hons] Creative Music Production

While completing my degree in Creative Music Production and practicing music, I have also found enjoyment and work as a freelance software engineer. My projects throughout the degree have prepared me for work in production, audio programming, and game development, where I'm very excited to get more experience under my belt. The transition to distanced learning was difficult, but I am very proud of my achievements this year in the end.

Project Description

The aim of my project was to investigate if gamification could be used to enhance music theory education. To do this, I researched gamification, education, game design and similar projects to derive a framework guiding the design of a gamified music app. Using this, I developed a game called Quarty that teaches music theory through gamified levels. I published the game on the Google Play Store, and players were asked to fill in a survey where I could use their answers to qualitative questions on the use of gamification and the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) with a Likert scale to measure how well the game met its goals.

Project Objectives

My objective was to investigate if gamifying music theory can improve the education of it, and how best to go about doing this. People can often be put off by music theory when it is presented as pure music theory, as it can be very complicated. A more accessible and fun introduction to it could mitigate this problem. Gaming is a larger industry than film and music currently, and online learning is proving to be more and more important as time goes on. For this reason, I think that my research is valuable, and shows a great deal of potential for applying this idea to a wider range of disciplines and more advanced levels of learning.

Project Outcomes

After sharing Quarty around online, it received nearly 700 downloads and scores of participants in the survey. Responses were very positive - the vast majority of players, even already at an intermediate level of musical experience, found that playing the game benefited them, and enjoyed the game like nature. People were encouraged by the game design elements such as stats and timed puzzles. I used the TAM to measure the Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU) and Perceived Usefulness (PU) of Quarty, where it scored 4.09 and 4.31 out of 5, respectively. The game received and overwhelming amount of interest, constructive feedback, and positive reviews on its Play Store listing. I was able to conclude that gamification enhanced music theory education, and people see a lot of value in the idea.

How Can Gamification be Used to Enhance Beginner Music Theory Education?

My thesis detailed the entire process of the project, starting with the research into gamification, game design, and education. I show how I derived a framework from this research to guide the creation of the game's levels. I detail the process of developing the game and adhering to considerations of the user experience, and publishing the game to Google Play. I analyse the results I gathered from the survey to ultimately come to a conclusion, where I was able to frame it in not only a pedagogical context, but also a commercial context, as it became clear how much users valued the game's free price point.