Gamification in Education | The Most Useful Educational Innovation in Ages
Gamification in Education: What is it & how can you use it?
‘Gamification’ is a fancy word that has been largely used in the education and learning sector for many years. But what does it actually mean and how can it lead to improved learning outcomes?
What is Gamification?
The definition of gamification is the use of game-design elements and principals in non-gaming contexts to make learning fun. For example, an ‘in-game’ principal such as acquiring currency would be adapted for use in another part of a curriculum or outside the bounds of gaming, to provide an engaging experience.
Gamification can be defined as a set process that solve problems with characteristics provided by a game.
Whilst typical game elements are by no means new, they have indeed become increasingly common in non-game contexts such as websites, digital marketing, enterprise applications and even virtual to-do lists and productivity tools.
One huge area where gamification is highly prevalent, however, is in education.
Gamification in Education
Most kids play video games regularly. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When kids play video games, they are using many skills – facts and information are tools to solve problems in context, and they gain actionable feedback which they use to win the game.
When they fail to level up, they don’t give up but they continue playing until they progress to the next level. Sometimes they also seek information online to help them find Easter eggs hidden throughout these games. They teach their friends how to power up with each level of the game, and failure is a source of feedback and learning, collaboration is necessary, and learning and assessment are tightly integrated.
Gamifying the classroom will boost engagement, collaboration and learning in remote, hybrid, and in person learning environments. So, how can we use this pervasive and engaging gaming phenomenon to redesign and supercharge the blended learning experience?
Gamification is becoming increasingly used in educational settings for a number of reasons. In short, it ‘makes the hard stuff more fun’, helping to motivate students and make them more engaged with the subject matter.
Because of the addictive features of video games that intrigue children (and adults) and get them hooked, it’s only natural that we see similar engagement results when these game-based elements are applied to learning materials.
Gamification in learning involves using game-based elements such as point scoring, peer competition, team work, score tables to drive engagement, help students assimilate new information and test their knowledge. It can apply to school-based subjects, but is also used widely in self-teaching apps and courses, showing that the effects of gamification do not stop when we are adults.
Technology permeates a lot of our day-to-day lives – having changed the way we live, shop, work, play, eat, meet people and socialise. Policy-makers are starting to explore the potential benefits of using technology to streamline teacher workload in earnest. We’ve also already known for some time that taking something many children love – games – and using some of the features to support learning has great benefits.
Teachers and parents can implement gamification in various ways across countless subject areas. Though many schools already utilise apps and educational games via computers and tablets, it doesn’t all have to be about technology.
Unlike game-based learning, which involves students making their own games or playing commercially-made video games, gamification is simply bringing game-based elements that make these platforms popular, and integrating them into other activities within the (home) classroom.
Some examples of game elements that can be used to engage and motivate learners include:
- Immediate feedback
- “Scaffolded learning” with challenges that increase
- Mastery (for example, in the form of levelling up)
- Progress indicators (for example, through points/badges/leader boards, also called PBLs)
- Social connection
- Player control
A classroom that contains some or all of these elements can be considered a “gamified” classroom.
The best combination are the ones that create sustained engagement, consider the unique needs of the learners and do more than just use points and levels to motivate players. The most effective gamification systems make use of other elements such as narrative and connection with fellow players/learners to really capture the learner’s interest.
Does Gamification in Education and Learning have the Potential to be the most Innovative Educational Innovation in Ages?
We know that Gamification in education is a popular learning tool. In the current era, gamified learning programmes have become more common than ever before as they are suitable for any age group and can be designed to fit into anyone’s lifestyle.
The key game elements include specific stages of playing a game or completing tasks, which will guide learners through thinking processes such as goal-setting and evaluation. It also includes tips on how designers can create their own gamified learning programme with ease.
Gamification can help learners learn more effectively and efficiently. Different types of gamification in education can be used to reach different goals and objectives.
Gamification in education apps has a small and large scope, but it’s most commonly used in terms of learning or productivity. For example, gamification can be seen in classroom lessons where students are given points for completing tasks they find difficult (e.g., answering multiple choice questions correctly). The more points that a student earns in a given time period, the better their rank on the leader board will be.
The Importance of Gamification in Education
Gamification in education is a relatively new concept that has been gaining traction lately. The word “gamification” was coined by Nick Pelling, and it combines the words ‘game’ and ‘metrics’. The idea of gamification in education is that it uses the design techniques and mindset from games and apps to motivate students to learn.
The main goal for a teacher who wishes to use gamification in their classroom is to make it fun and game-like. It has proven to improve learning and engagement, not only in the classroom, but in the workplace during training as well.
Gamification in Education Example:
Ridley is a second grader, she struggles to learn as she was diagnosed with ADHD. Her teacher decided to give gamification a try and use the design techniques to motivate Ridley. She made a game out of math and reading, Ridley was excited that she could play games in class. Suddenly she started to engage in classroom activities and was more enthusiastic about school. Her grades started to improve, her teacher began to see the results.
Furthermore, gamification in education research has shown that gamification in education is the most useful educational innovation in ages. The game design techniques can motivate students like Ridley and help them learn math or reading while having fun. Students of all ages will benefit from gamification as it is proven to be the most effective way to learn.
What are the Benefits of Gamification in Education?
- Gamification is a motivational tool that provides rewards for completing tasks and goals. These rewards can be anything from points to badges of distinction or even social recognition. The rewards provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for the individual, which in turn increases their interest and excitement to learn more.
- Gamification is an exciting way to teach skills that are not as easily understood. For example, teaching math can be very difficult for many students but gamification makes the process more addicting and enjoyable which engages students to learn these skills.
- Gamification can be a powerful motivator for students who have low self-esteem, typically from bullying.
What Other Benefits does Gamification in Education Prove?
- Gamification is a motivating factor for students to spend more time on the subject matter
- It teaches how to work collaboratively and communicate with one another in order to solve problems or complete a task
- Teachers can use gamification to motivate and reward students who learn well under pressure, while also engaging those with low self-esteem
- Teachers can use gamification to help students learn skills that are hard to teach
- Gamification can encourage students to take more risks and learn from their mistakes
- Gamification can help students learn new skills without becoming frustrated
- It provides an alternate way of engaging with the material, rather than just reading about it or listening to a lecture
- It also provides a sense of accomplishment
- As students work through the puzzles, they’ll learn something new
- The gamification of a learning programme is an effective method for creating and retaining interest in the learners
- Gamification has been proven to increase engagement, motivation, and retention levels of students
- Gamification has been shown to increase achievement and learning outcomes
- Gamification is an effective way for educators to introduce themselves and their programmes to learners
The effects of gamification in education is remarkable. It’s a great way for teachers to motivate and reward students who learn well under pressure, while also engaging those with low self-esteem. It gives students the chance to learn new skills without becoming frustrated, and it teaches them that they can do hard things by building on what they already know.
How Does Gamification Effect the Learning Process?
Gamification has been shown to improve student motivation and engagement, as well as boost learning outcomes. Gamification in education has proven to be an incredibly useful innovation in the field of education. It is a ground-breaking new way to make learning more fun and compelling. Learners tend to memorize and understand difficult concepts better when they’re presented in a gamified environment.
How to Design a Gamified Learning Programme for Your Classroom?
Designing a gamified learning programme is an extensive and detailed process that takes time to complete; however, it has remarkable outcomes. This is a process through which the use of game design elements in non-game contexts can create motivational and engaging experiences.
The use of these game elements can be leveraged to redesign learning environments, improving the efficacy and enjoyment of learning activities.
Designing a gamified learning programme is an effective way for educators to introduce themselves and their programmes to learners. Gamified learning has been proven as a very useful educational innovation, with more than 90% of students saying that gamifies programmes make them want to learn more.
The use of gamification in education is a great way for educators to increase engagement, motivation and retention levels amongst their learners.
8 Steps that should be followed when designing a gamified educational programme
Gamification is the process of using game design techniques to engage learners in solving problems. Gamified learning can be seen as a subset of experiential learning, with an emphasis on designing interactive tasks and puzzles for learners to solve.
Principles of gamification in education:
1) Define the problem or task that needs solving
By properly defining the problem or task that needs solving, the designer is able to create a game that will engage learners in solving the problem. Gamification techniques are drawn from many different areas of expertise, including psychology and behavioural economics. A clear understanding of the problem will help the gamifier better understand which techniques will work the best.
2) Create a game that is challenging but not impossible
Gamified learning can be seen as a subset of experiential learning, meaning that the learner must be engaged in the task to achieve a sense of accomplishment. The game should challenge but not overwhelm learners- it is important for them to have room for growth.
3) Determine the right level of difficulty with a learning curve
A gamified design should have many different levels of challenge available. In this way learners can progress from easier to more difficult tasks as they develop new skills. The game should be designed to gradually increase in difficulty as the player progresses and improves.
4) Design the learning environment so that learners feel like they are in another world with their own avatar
For learners to truly experience gamification, it is important that they feel like they exist in another world- one where their achievements and successes matter on a grander scale.
5) Use the design principles of games to make learners feel like they are playing a Game
For children to fully engage in a game, they need to feel like the game is “real” and that they are in control. The design should follow the principles, which include providing feedback on each action, giving players a sense of success with each achievement, and making sure players don’t get stuck on one puzzle.
6) Offer rewards to motivate players
The game should provide a sense of accomplishment and progress for learners as they play- this is what makes the game so engaging. Players should feel like they are progressing and be rewarded for their success with virtual prizes, such as new levels or unlockable content.
7) Provide feedback to players on how well they are doing
Gamification is not just about winning or losing- it’s also a way to provide feedback and encouragement so learners know how they’re progressing. Feedback can be in the form of progress bars, levels, or visual feedback that shows how far the learner has come.
h4 style=”text-transform: none;”>8) Ensure learners understand what they are learning
Gamification should be used to teach players about specific skills and concepts. Developers should make sure to include instructions and explanations for how to play the game as well as details on what they are learning in order to better connect with players.
Is Gamification Effective?
Gamification has been shown to be tremendously effective, both in educational settings, e-learning settings and even for corporate companies using it to train employees.
Gamification works for the following reasons:
- Games play into basic needs (autonomy, value, competence etc.)
- Games can be social (games may have leader boards, for example, or places where high-scorers are displayed so players can feel validated when they do well. Players may be able to challenge their friends or invite others to play)
- Games encourage ongoing engagement (gamification helps retain users by encouraging them to keep playing and gain more points, rewards, or simply discover more information)
- It gives players (learners) control (they feel like they are in charge of their own learning journey, going from point A to point B).
Gamification works because it triggers real, powerful human emotions such as happiness, intrigue, excitement and accomplishment. All around the world, companies, institutions and household brands are using gamification, with marvellous results.
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If anyone needs proof that online learning is the hottest way to upskill or reskill, thanks to the protracted COVID-19 crisis, it lies in the statistics from online learning platform Coursera. At the peak of the pandemic and global lockdowns in 2020, Coursera reported over 50 million course enrolments – an increase of 444% over the same period in 2019.
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