There’s really no rhyme or reason for my term selection this week; Gamification is just a term being kicked around within the e-learning community, and if you were ever wondering what it meant, look no further! I will say that I feel the term has been used a bit less in recent years, but maybe that’s just within the circles I follow.
Gamification? What the heck is that?!
Gamification is a process in which you turn your course into an interactive learning experience for your users…creating a game of sorts. Often times, Gamification is intended to appeal to the competitive nature of humans by offering a fun experience in exchange for rewards, badges, level ups, or the like. Just think about Candy Crush – How awesome did you feel once you finally beat level 125? While you certainly didn’t learn much, it definitely felt like an accomplishment.
A great (and simple-ish) example of Gamification is Lumosity; here is a series of games, based on neuroscience, that leverages rewards (based on your intellectual improvements) to improve your memory, speed, attention, and problem solving abilities. You’re motivated to continue visiting the site and playing the games under the rouse that you will increase your overall performance index.
But why is Gamification good for learning?
As I said before on this page, and I’ll say it again, Gamification appeals to the competitive nature of humans. Even if you’re not innately competitive, you may find yourself motivated to compete with yourself. In a society where younger students have come from a generation of video gaming, Gamification also has the ability to make learning ‘cool’ and relatable. I once worked with an organization that developed a gesture-based learning experience to teach pilots aircraft marshalling signals – it utilized Xbox Kinect technology, and almost everyone who ‘played the game’ found themselves impressed, and because they were completing the signals in a practical simulation, they retained what was being taught in a meaningful way.
Another positive to Gamification is that it offers variety. Instead of having to endure traditional chalk-and-talk style face-to-face lectures, students can glean the information in a more engaging format, and teachers can focus their efforts on squeezing more into their curriculums (as politics often dictate) or finding meaningful ways of supporting the information learned within the games to support information retention.