The gaming industry surpasses even the movie industry because games motivate and retain participants – you instead want to win and get an award. If we introduce gamification into education, students will be more motivated to learn.
What is the Gamification of the Educational Process?
“Gamification” is on everyone’s lips today. It is also gamification or gamification (game). These terms mean using game elements, mechanics, and technologies in a non-game context to achieve realistic goals. For example, in work, study, and everyday life.
Gamification in education means using ready-made games and turning the entire educational process into a game. For example, on an online educational platform, users receive points for completing their homework, and the number of points is used to rank students. The desire to top the ranking to dominate the social group gives an incentive to do more assignments and gain points. Gamification is used in a wide area of education, for example, in various academic services. When a student requests to write my essay for me free, he or she not only gets a job, but also earns points or bonuses that will allow him or her to use the service on more favorable terms.
The game-based approach to learning has already proven to be more effective than traditional methods. People of different ages like games, so they are used in all spheres of learning – in school and higher education, for staff training in companies, and students in online schools. Through the game, boring tasks become interesting and complex – easy. Games involve people in the process and facilitate the perception of information.
Why Gamification is Effective
Gamification in education uses people’s natural inclinations toward competition and achievement to enhance performance. But how exactly does this work from a neurophysiological perspective?
Gaming activates the production of various hormones in our brains:
- Dopamine is the achievement hormone. When is it produced in learning? For example, a person sees on the progress bar that he or she is only 10% away from passing a course. The student looks at his or her progress and realizes that he or she has done a great job and the goal of completing the course is near.
- Endorphin is the hormone of joy or relief from pain. It is the main reason why a person becomes addicted to games. For example, a student is happy when he or she gets points for a completed assignment or passes another level.
- Serotonin is a social status hormone. For example, it is produced when a person gets a top position in the overall ranking or receives a badge for having studied for ten days in a row.
- Oxytocin is a social bonding hormone. For example, an employee sees that all colleagues and managers are trained on the platform, so he or she is motivated to learn to feel a part of this group. You can strengthen the social connection among learners by using online chat. It allows you to share learning information right on the learning platform.
Most gamification tools are based on external motivation when there is an impact on the person from the outside – with the help of stimuli and reinforcements.
7 Tools of Gamification in Education
There are different ways to implement gamification in distance learning. Listed below are the most popular examples.
Create an interesting storyline – a story that engages users as they get to know it. E-learning should resemble an exciting journey. For example, you could present professional learning as a journey to prevent a global disaster or solve a problem. Add characters to the story so a person can improve their avatar.
Use different levels that open up as tasks are completed. That’s when users get curious, “What happens next?” Levels help them see progress as they progress through the game. To reinforce this effect, indicate in percentages how much of the way a person has progressed.
In corporate training, it is convenient to combine progress methods with the grading system of positions in the company – when an employee got the next grade (for example, from manager of level 1 to manager of level 2), he opened a new level in the game.
Award points for completing various tasks. Reward students for simple tasks first, then increase the difficulty and number of points. For example, you could award 2 points for completing a simple lesson and 5 points for completing a difficult lesson. The point system works very effectively in conjunction with ratings. A person sees how he or she has progressed relative to himself or herself and relative to other people. Ranking and falling behind the leader encourages the student to put in the extra effort.
Badges and Badges
Badges, medals, or badges are rewards in the form of a virtual item or a fixed image on a user’s profile. They are a great way to recognize and reward a person for their efforts. For example, you could use a badge to recognize a perfect answer. Or the person who completed the course the fastest.
Badges must be visible to other players as well. In this case, especially valued unique awards, which are difficult to earn. They favorably distinguish the person from the rest of the students. It is good if the badges are related to a person’s real-life and work. That is, weight the real world, not just the game universe.
Use attractive visuals and pleasing design to make it easy and comfortable for users to interact with the content and look forward to new lessons. Combine vibrant colors and graphics.
And so students can see all their awards in one place, you can use dashboards in the user’s profile – a quick summary of different metrics on one page.
Rankings are great for creating healthy competition between students. Everyone strives to be the best, to see their name at the top of the list, so they learn more actively. You can divide all users into several groups and make separate rankings for each group. This will increase students’ motivation because they will have more chances to top the table.
Providing instant feedback when a person has completed a task or test is a great way to keep their attention and engagement. Immediately after completing the task, let him know – did he win or lose? This feedback allows him to track his progress as he progresses through the game’s various stages.
Stages of Gamification of Online Learning
Start implementing gamification in your training with these four steps.
Set a Goal
Games have many perks, but they are not suitable for all purposes. For example, when you’re dealing with topics as serious or complex as regulatory compliance, it may not be appropriate to gamify content. A game can be a distraction from key data. Analyze each topic or module – is gamification relevant here? Does it help or hinder understanding of the material?
Implement gamification gradually. For example, choose one small course or program, and experiment with different approaches. Start with simple gamification elements, such as giving out badges for excellent answers. After that, add new gamification tools and experiment.
Establish the Rules of the Game
The player must know the rules. Transparency and clarity about how the game works keep students engaged and motivated. What tasks are awarded points for? What do the points mean? Perhaps they turn into badges or unlock new content. What are the criteria for reaching the next level or award? What do the rewards mean? Perhaps they turn into tangible benefits, such as they can be redeemed for books or an extra day off at the gift store.
Choose a Platform
The easiest way to implement the gamification tools described is on an online learning platform. For example, the Unicraft platform has special modules for gamification:
- Points System and Gift Shop, a section that allows you to exchange accumulated points for valuable prizes
- Rating of students, which displays the progress of each student and the number of accumulated points
- Honors in the form of badges that encourage a person to achieve better results in their studies
- Online chat that allows users to exchange messages and files
- Personal certificates that are issued to students upon graduation
- Popular Gamification Learning Mistakes
You’ve come up with an interesting story, multiple levels, and tasks with rewards, but student engagement is still low? Make sure you don’t make these mistakes:
- Too many rewards. If you give a person badges and points for no reason they haven’t earned them through their efforts, such merit badges will quickly become worthless. Recognize students only on merit.
- Gamification. Adding more and more gamification tools makes it possible to forget the main purpose of learning – to gain knowledge and skills. The lesson should not turn into useless fun.
- The play has become an end in itself. Playing for the sake of playing is ineffective. You should not put the main emphasis on gamification. For example, a person should perceive winning a competition as a bonus, not as a learning goal. Games are extrinsic motivation and are not long-lasting. Connect the person’s intrinsic motivation – encourage them to articulate why they are learning and what results they want.
- Ambiguous rules. If students perform the same actions and show identical results but get different rewards, they will stop playing the game. Think of uniform rules for the game.
Gamification is a great way to engage students in learning. It is relevant to adults as well as children. Business leaders can add gamification to activities that require incentives to achieve better results.
Jana Rooheart is a talented writer who provides valuable advice for students on the WowEssays blog. In her spare time, she does research on educational topics and writes articles on them.