For the longest time, people considered video games a waste of time. Now, they are a valuable asset in fields like teaching. Gamification refers to the use of gaming elements for non-gaming activities, with the aim of achieving diversification or to influence behavior. Educators are using gaming elements to improve students' concentration and spark interest, making learning more effective. For example, learning is more fun through educational video games. A teacher could use Nintendo DS to teach students math and language.
Since there are rewards in the game, such as winning, students are more motivated to get it right. It is essential to note that there are other gamification techniques, such as the use of flashcards. Gamification centers on increasing motivation to improve engagement. Since it is a relatively new aspect of education, there are some essential aspects of gamification you need to note. They include:
- How Gamification Improves the Brain's Processing Power
When students receive information, they lose it quickly if it is not in the long-term memory. For information to get to the long-term memory, it passes through processes like attention, perception, selection, organization, and integration. Information first passes through the working memory, which is short term and handles limited information at a time. If the working memory does not process the data, it is lost. This creates the need for the organization while presenting the information. Gamification allows the schematic presentation of data in repetitive patterns. The audio-visual aspects of games also increase the attention span.
- Games and Engagement
As stated earlier, students are more likely to enjoy learning when they get to win and get rewards like badges. It motivates them to be keen learners as they can visualize the lessons as quests that need conquering. This helps them in simplifying a task that they previously viewed as challenging. Most games require interaction between learners through group activities, which further enriches the learning process. Social and intellectual engagement improves neurotransmission in the brain and lowers stress levels.
- Real-World Application
One massive setback about conventional learning methods is the disconnect from real life. In most cases, students do not understand how to apply the theory they learn in class in real-life situations. Gamification allows learners to use those mathematical formulas in real life, make choices, and experience the consequences of a loss or the high of a win. They get to learn on the job.
- A Way to Help Struggling Students
Assisting students who have difficulties in grasping concepts is a challenging process. It is difficult to interact with them to gauge their exact problem area as they are often shy. Technology has played a huge role in remedying this. Learners can get virtual learning companions like DoMyEssay while writing their essays and research papers. They also get to play as they learn. Introducing gamification may improve their comfort level, which allows teachers to identify their problem areas and the best ways to address them.
Gamification gives instructors new ways to convey information in an environment that learners find neutral. It allows them to combine audio, hand-on demonstrations, and written text into one learning system. Gamification also improves the concentration span. Students can immerse themselves in one activity for long periods. The competitive nature of gamified learning may also instill a competitive spirit in the students, which drives performance.
- High Achievers Benefit as Well
Most people view gamification as a technique used to nurture struggling students but as a waste of time for the high achievers. However, this is untrue as gamification is beneficial to all students. It gives alternative learning methods and different perspectives, which challenge all students. High achievers find new ways to explore knowledge and integrate new ideas. They also experience fun learning to test out ideas in real life and make an actual impact. Such provisions may influence their behavior, attitudes, and views tremendously.
- It Is Easy to Gamify STEM Subjects
There are numerous ways to apply gamification. Applications range from simple changes like incorporating a game into the curriculum to technical undertakings like developing learning programs presented in a gaming format. For example, Minecraft is very instrumental in teaching STEM subjects. In Minecraft, players use 3D blocks to create items like beds, tables, ladders, and even programmable computers. Instructors can apply this game while teaching simple multiplication or complex subjects like advanced physics. Players get to create anything they can imagine as it is a sandbox game and present it as an understanding of the class concepts.
Gamification does not require an overhaul of the whole learning system as instructors can introduce aspects in phases. They can modify existing modes of learning to follow gamification techniques. Gamification gives learners and instructors the freedom to create learning systems, which is very refreshing. It's no longer just about traditional worksheets and tons of lectures. Education stakeholders need to open up to gamification as there are still numerous aspects to it. There is a lot to learn and a lot of potentials to unlock. Collaboration among the different stakeholders in education is essential for success.