Assessment & Learning Models

Learning Activity: Cybersecurity Gamification

Learning Scenario

In this gamified learning activity, students will become part of a simulated cybersecurity team tasked with protecting a fictional company’s digital assets from cyber threats. The scenario will be immersive, with students receiving various missions and challenges that mimic real-world cybersecurity issues.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand fundamental concepts of cybersecurity, including types of threats, protective measures, and response strategies.
  • Develop skills in identifying and mitigating cyber threats.
  • Collaborate with peers to solve complex cybersecurity problems.
  • Apply theoretical knowledge to practical, real-world scenarios.

Gamified Elements

Storyline and Missions 
Students are members of “Cybershield,” an elite cybersecurity team. The team is hired by a company, “ACME TechCorp,” to secure their systems after a recent cyber-attack. Each mission represents a different aspect of cybersecurity, such as identifying phishing attempts, patching software vulnerabilities, and responding to data breaches.

Challenges and Levels
The game is structured in levels, each with specific challenges that must be completed to progress. For example, the first level might involve identifying suspicious emails (phishing), while higher levels could involve more complex tasks like network security or incident response.

Points and Badges
Students earn points and badges for completing missions and challenges. Points can be used to “unlock” advanced tools and resources within the game, while badges represent mastery of specific skills or knowledge areas.

A leaderboard tracks individual and team progress, fostering a sense of competition and collaboration. Students can see how they compare with their peers, motivating them to improve their skills.

Formative Assessment

Throughout the gamified learning activity, formative assessments will be integrated as mini-challenges and quizzes. After each mission, students will complete a short quiz or reflective activity that provides immediate feedback on their understanding of the concepts covered.

After completing a mission on phishing, students take a short quiz identifying various phishing email examples. The system provides instant feedback, highlighting correct answers and explaining why other options were incorrect. This helps students understand the nuances of phishing attacks and reinforces learning before moving to the next mission

Summative Assessment

 The summative assessment will be a comprehensive, final mission where students must apply everything they’ve learned to protect ACME TechCorp from a simulated cyber-attack. This high-stakes scenario will assess students’ overall understanding and ability to integrate and apply their knowledge in a real-world context.

Example: In the final mission, students face a coordinated cyber-attack involving multiple threat vectors, such as ransomware, phishing, and DDoS attacks. They must work together to identify the threats, implement protective measures, and mitigate the damage. Their performance will be evaluated based on criteria such as accuracy, efficiency, and teamwork.

Authentic Assessment

An authentic assessment will involve a real-world cybersecurity audit for a local small business or a nonprofit organisation. Students will conduct a thorough security assessment, identify vulnerabilities, and provide recommendations for improvement.

Students are divided into teams and paired with a local businesses needing cybersecurity assistance. They perform a security audit, including evaluating current security measures, identifying vulnerabilities, and developing a comprehensive security plan. The assessment is student-centered and authentic because it involves real-world application, collaboration with external stakeholders, and the creation of tangible outcomes that benefit the community.

Connections to Learning Theories

The gamified learning activity aligns with constructivist principles by engaging students in active, hands-on learning. They build their knowledge through experience, reflection, and collaboration. The authentic assessment further supports constructivism by allowing students to construct meaning from real-world tasks.

Experiential Learning
The scenario leverages experiential learning, as students learn through direct experience and reflection. By participating in simulated and real-world cybersecurity tasks, they gain practical skills and insights that traditional classroom learning might not provide.

The activity aligns with principles of andragogy by focusing on self-directed learning, relevance to real-world situations, and the application of prior knowledge. 


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