Use of gamification in everyday learning

Use of gamification in everyday learning

Do you find yourself daydreaming in classroom? Do you find it easier to remember dialogues from movies rather than theorems and equations? You are not alone.

There are thousands of students of all ages who find learning to be a dull and boring process. If you are among those who memorise, that’s great; you will get good marks. But are you really learning anything? What is the solution, then? How do you make learning fun? The answer may lie in gamification.

Learning the fun way

To get right into it, gamification is a methodology that uses video game design and game elements to motivate students to learn in a structured and productive way. These elements can be anything from leader boards to rewards in the form of points and badges. Let’s take a history lesson as an example. History is all about facts and data, which a student might find boring. He or she might find a history textbook boring after a certain point.

Now, if you take the same lesson and make a game around it, the results are dramatically improved. It can be something as simple as a point-and-click detective game where the student has to use historical facts to solve a mystery, or something as elaborate as a role-playing game where the student gets to re-enact significant events in history. But in the end, the student has fun playing the game, and is learning in the process.

Gamified learning does not replace the value of a teacher or a mentor, or studying along with other students in a class. But it still offers a plethora of benefits. Gamified learning works hand-in-hand with those to significantly enhance the learning experience. It helps improve the learning outcomes and intrinsic motivation of the child.

Evolution of gamification

Gamification is by no means a new phenomenon. It has been around for over a hundred years. It initially started as a marketing method that businesses used to positively influence the buying behaviour of their customers. This was something as simple as handing out coupons on purchase which the customers could then redeem for various goodies.

Soon, others started realising that they could apply the same technique to other scenarios. For example, the United States Army uses a game called America’s Army to give potential recruits a taste of what it’s like to be in the Army. The Centre for Game Science at the University of Washington used a gamified puzzle-solving videogame to identify the protein structure of an AIDS-causing virus called M-PMV. Using this videogame, users from around the world solved the problem that scientists could not previously solve for nearly 15 years.

Foursquare and Fitbit are two other great examples for gamification. Foursquare made something as mundane as finding a new place to eat into a fun game, awarding points, badges and mayorships of areas to its users. Fitbit revolutionised the healthcare industry by marketing wireless fitness monitoring devices, and motivating users to work out by rewarding them with badges and points.

Global impact

Today, gamification is quickly becoming accepted in various fields, and for various learning objectives. There are several reasons why it is so effective:

Fun and engaging learning experience.

 Informal and safe learning environment that lets you practise, make mistakes, and learn from them.

Immediate feedback that improves knowledge retention.

Motivation to learn through various gameplay elements like points, badges, leaderboards and so on.

Can be applied for almost any learning requirement

One of the reasons why academicians around the world are adopting gamification is because of its ability to make learning fun and engaging. These ingredients foster and ignite curiosity in the students. Usually, the curiosity factor goes down as they move from primary to middle school. We always believe that gamification keeps their curiosity alive, and helps them in being innovators.

Choosing the right platform

Today, there are thousands of gamified learning platforms available. As a student, you need to choose the right one based on your requirement. First, identify the learning outcome that you desire. Do you want to get better at Maths, or improve your English skills?

Then, list a few gamified learning applications that meet your criteria. With tonnes of free applications available in the market, it’s tempting to start using a free platform. Whether you choose a free or paid application, you need to research. Ensure that you choose an application that is backed by experts from the fields of education and learning. Here are some gamified learning applications that you can try:

Lumosity: A game-led experience to help improve cognitive abilities.
ClassDojo: Turns class into a game of rewards and instant feedback.
Duolingo: Gamified learning tool for learning new languages.
Always remember to keep learning, keep exploring, and stay curious.

(The author is CEO, Playablo, Bengaluru))

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