8 Speedruns

Overview: Many course-based learning activities encourage reflection and reward quality, but once students move into to the workforce, they are often expected to work quickly too! Having to meet tight deadlines or quotas can come as a shock since courses don’t typically emphasize the need for speed. Activities such as a speedrun or time attack – where the main goal is to complete an activity quickly – encourage students to learn to work efficiently, prioritize certain elements, and improve their time management skills. Individuals work against the clock, but adding a competitive element can motivate students.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Students prefer this activity when it is not graded (or counts only minimally towards a grade).
  • Keep individual speedrun activities short (i.e., under 15 minutes), but conduct them regularly (e.g. one per class, or one every other class) to develop the habit of working quickly.
  • If doing this in class, it’s a great warm-up activity at the start of class (it can even motivate students to arrive on time!).
  • Set up the activity using the “quiz” feature of a Learning Management System (LMS) (even if the activity is not a “quiz” per se). The LMS records how long students spend on the activity, and it may be able to auto-correct and give feedback.
  • To encourage friendly competition, create a leaderboard using Google Sheets where you can record times (or implement an honour system where students can record their own times).
  • When multiple speedrun activities take place during a course, cumulative times can be recorded on a leaderboard in order to crown an overall speed champion at the end of the course.
  • Do the very same speedrun activity at the beginning and end of the course; after a semester of regular speed training, students will hopefully see an improvement in their time.

Duration: 5 to 15 minutes.

Re-playability: Yes (different activities).

Continuity: Can be implemented over the course of a semester by using leaderboards.

Number of players: Individual.

Examples: Activities can be adapted to course content (e.g. a cloze test; a quiz to test reading comprehension; summarizing a reading or video in 250 words; providing five key words to describe a given reading or video; translating a short text).

Resources: This article describes an experiment introducing speedruns in a translation course. 

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