Digital Games and of course games in general have different elements that makes them influential vehicle for human learning. They are usually organized for players to solve a problem. It is a vital skill required for present and future challenges. Gamification in Education is to adopt Game mechanisms which helps to promote communication, collaboration, and even competition among learners.
These games offer a mixture of points, levels, badges, scoreboards etc. This helps to motivate the player and ensure they return for more. Many games also have different minor tasks that helps the player pick point as they pursue for the main goal. This practice makes the player addicted to the game. We previously wrote an article on different teaching strategies, please check it out.
In education industry, gamification has begun to get attention. With success stories recorded in different educational tools like Classcraft, Dojo and so on, there is a possibility that gamification will spread rapidly in classroom and other education activities.
Gamification in Education
Gamifications is a way of applying game-related ideologies to educational contexts in order to improve user experience and engagement. It incorporates elements of video games into the teaching environment.
As stated above, the use of game features like goals, targets, mission, achievements, points, levels and so on keeps the students engaged, motivated and addicted to the learning process.
Research has proven that man participate in activities that stimulate his bodies or mind. Our body releases a hormone known as endorphin. In the same way, playing games that challenges students or helps them to earn points releases endorphins in the brain of the student.
Therefore, instead of making learning boring or wearing, the endorphins make learning fun and exciting. This helps students to retain more information and consequently making the learning experience more powerful and memorable.
Gamification Vs Game-Based Learning
It is important to note that gamification is not the same as game-based learning. In game-based learning, students create their own games or play commercially-made video games.
But gamification is simply the integration of game-based elements in teaching and learning activities. You may like to read these 4 models of blended learning.
Elements of Gamification in Classroom
1. Giving Points for Meeting Academic Objectives
Attributing points to different learning objectives is a good element of gamification in education. In class discussion for instance, the teacher may attribute point such as: 1 point for correct answer without evidence, 2 points for correct answer with evidence and 3 points for correct answer with more than one evidence.
2. Giving Points for Meeting Procedural Objectives
A teacher may decide to fasten the procedure of his or her classroom activities. For example, he/she may say that first 20 students that submit their homework or assignment for marking will have additional 2 points.
3. Creating Playful Barriers
Using barriers or challenges in learning paths up to the top is a primary tenet of gamification. Points can be awarded to those who navigated their way across the barriers.
4. Creating Competition within the Classroom
There can be teacher versus students challenge in the classroom: the teacher will have to set a rule of study which must be followed by the students in the class. If the students keep to the rule, they earn a point, if they fail, the teacher earns a point.
If the students win at the end, the teacher will reward them with 1-minute dance party or extended break time. Otherwise, additional homework will be given to them.
5. Using Levels, Checkpoints, and Other Methods of Progression
Teachers can track points over multiple classes, if students reach an important milestone like 100 points, give them milestone rewards. This can be writing positive text/letter to their parents, holding a temporal title etc.
In addition to points and grades, badges can be used in educational learning materials to motivate students to learn more. Bonuses can as well be used to keep students interest. Let us not forget that:
Today’s children are technologically natives, we must learn to teach them with technology. – Pat Ugwu II
Advantages of Gamification in Education
Below are different benefits of gamification in education:
1. Gamification makes Learning Fun, Engaging and Interactive
Learning is most of the time associated with number of hours dedicated to writing, reading and memorizing. Gamification makes learning fun and interactive. Students are assigned variety of learning goals and objectives to achieve by their teachers. This task and mission engage their attention and motivates them to continue learning to the next level.
Once students are optimistic about their learning process and they know there is going to be a reward in some way, it turns them from being passive observers to active participants in learning.
2. Gamification keep Students Motivated and Encouraged
Most often, traditional learning is focused on one big learning objective at the end of chapter or term.
On the other hand, gamification gives the teacher an opportunity to design reward for every small learning landmark. These rewards can be points, badges, medals etc, they encourage students to work hard towards achieving these goals, master them and move to the next one.
3. Gamification provides an Emotional Release for Students
When compared with traditional method of learning, gamification is more stimulating to senses. It grabs the emotions of the learner to all part of the game. Take for instance, if a student succeeds in a game and gets points, the joy will motivate him/her to do more. Whereas if he or she fails, emotions like anger or misery of losing will cause the student to desire for improvement.
This emotional participation is lacking in the traditional text-book models.
3. It improves Knowledge Absorption and Retention of Information
Because tradition classroom learning techniques seem tedious, and gamification blends emotions and endorphins. This can help to improve knowledge absorption and boost knowledge retention among students.
Additionally, students (and of course all learners) tend to retain information in small amount as in gamification when compared to the long learning process.
There are many educational platforms that have employed gamification in their teaching activities. Some of them are: The Way Things Work, Khan Academy, Quest to Learn, Akanne Academy and so on.
Nowadays, tech-savvy students and their parents already know that gamification in education is a better option than endless lectures and stressful examinations. High-tech school are realizing the benefits of this new modalities like gamification and the role they need to play in preparing students for the real-world challenges.
In testing students’ abilities for instance, students should not just be given assignment or examination. They should rather battle in games for survival. Join our online forum to learn more on educational technology.