Journal of Information Systems Education


Cybersecurity education is becoming increasingly important in modern society, and hands-on practice is an essential element. Although instructors provide hands-on labs in their cybersecurity courses, traditional lab exercises often fail to effectively motivate students. Hence, many instructors desire to incorporate gamification in hands-on training to engage and motivate cybersecurity students, especially beginner learners. Given the dearth of guiding examples, this paper aims to describe the holistic process of converting traditional cybersecurity hands-on lab exercises to gamified lab exercises in an undergraduate network security course. We find that the gamified cybersecurity lab promotes students’ engagement, learning experience, and learning outcomes. The results show the positive acceptance of gamification by students as well as instructors. While gamification has been used in competitions and training, the success in the classroom and students’ desire for more gamification show that further investment in gamification will be more important in the classroom. We expect this paper to help instructors who are interested in gamification 1) convert traditional lab exercises to gamified labs; 2) estimate the extra workload and potential benefits; and 3) plan resources for implementation. This process is applicable to any cybersecurity courses with hands-on assignments.



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