Video games are an integral part of everyday life for many people, and all genders of all ages consider playing games as part of their routine. According to Statista, people between the ages of 15 and 19 in the US spent an average of 49 minutes each day gaming or on leisurely computer use in 2018.
According to the 2019 Evolution of Entertainment study, 73 percent of Americans aged two or older play video games every day. While this spans everything from browser-based games like Klondike Solitaire, SplashLearn, Adventure Academy, ABCMouse, Spider Solitaire Challenge, or Minecraft to international blockbusters like Fortnite, there is a clear appetite for a daily dose of gaming excitement. As a result, teachers can capitalize on the same drive and passion for performing without losing any academic integrity in the virtual classroom.
Gamifying the learning experience is a significant trend, not least because young people are often more inclined to play games than devote time to their education. Crucially, gamification need not be complex. Educators can utilize existing gamified platforms like Dyslexia Dragon or tweak their existing delivery methods. This could involve adding quizzes and badges, theming learning materials around different levels, and much more.
Anyone considering the possibility of adding gamification to their online learning routine should be encouraged to do so, and we present four great reasons to do just that.
1. Combining Learning and Gaming Develops Additional Skills
Classroom learning, whether physical or virtual, often focuses on linear development. The teacher’s role is to impart specific knowledge and skills, often according to a curriculum. This is to be commended, as it is the foundation of education, but gamification can add a new layer of efficiency to the learning process.
A byproduct of game-based learning involves young people learning goal-setting, multi-tasking, additional cognitive skills, and much more. Research by The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks among young people. Those delivering that learning can impart knowledge while building a raft of skills that textbooks cannot replicate.
2. Gamification Dwarfs the Fear of Failure
Some young people are so concerned with the fear of failure that it can have a tangible impact on their education. As a result, they are less likely to commit to answers and often unwilling to suggest them due to worries about how they may be perceived following an incorrect answer.
Video games come with an expectation of failure. Part of the appeal is that very few people get everything right the first time. Learners are conditioned to tackle challenges and adapt their approach for the next attempt, boosting their critical thinking skills.
Game-based learning programs like SplashLearn, aim to shift the current narrative around learning, turning it into an experience that enhances the child’s desire to learn by making the process of learning itself rewarding for every child. For programs like these, students are not learning for the sake of learning, but are given an immersive experience that curbs the fear of failure.
3. Game-Based Learning Provides Short-Term Rewards
Teachers do not have the hours in the day to congratulate students for every small thing they do well throughout their education. Games have no such limitations. The simple, automated award of a badge or progress to another level can be all it takes to encourage a young learner to progress to the next stage, willfully and enthusiastically learning more.
Many people have experienced wanting to play just one more game or playing until they lose, and the same ideas can apply to gamified online learning platforms. As a result, students proceed to more complex challenges not because they are told to but because they want to, and learning is always more accessible among willing participants.
4. Gamifying the Learning Experience Promotes Collaboration and Healthy Competition
Many students feel pressured by scores and grades. However, just as making games out of their experience can help combat the fear of failure, associating these scores with a game can make all the difference. The eagerness to do well and move on to new subjects will see more learners working together and discussing content. Those that do well will be rightly proud of their scores, and those that find the games being more of a challenge will interact with their classmates for tips and guidance.
We sit at the very early stages of gamification in the classroom, but it is already proving the source of fantastic opportunities. New educational games hit the market all the time, and there are low-cost opportunities for all teachers to implement some of what their students love in the learning experience. In addition, with the popularity of virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence increasing rapidly, there are infinite opportunities to make learning better through games.
Featured Image: Jonathan Petersson, Unsplash.