Gamification allows you to use the popularity of gaming to educate. Here’s how it works and the benefits associated with it.
Video games are no longer a niche pursuit. According to data experts NPD Group, 91% of children in the United States play videogames.
Videogames offer a level of interactivity that other forms of entertainment lack. Players enter commands that their on-screen avatars execute. Some argue that allows for greater engagement between the player and the game’s content.
That’s the core idea behind gamification.
Also known as game-based learning, this is an interactive form of learning. It takes many of its cues from videogames. The idea is to use interactivity to engage the learner, thus improving their outcomes. It’s one of the leading trends in education and it’s likely to become more prevalent in the classroom.
This article examines some of the benefits associated with gamification. But let’s look at an example of the technology that can help you use it first.
How it Works – Promethean World’s ClassFlow System
Game-based learning uses advanced teaching tools to create greater engagement in the classroom. These tools make use of audio and visual elements. They often also prompt you to use modern technology.
At its core, the practice takes some of the key gaming concepts and applies them in a non-gaming context. These include things like problem-solving, storytelling, and even failure.
Furthermore, gaming unlocks your brain’s internal reward systems. This is crucial to understanding the benefit of the technique.
Think about mobile games. In these games, players get bombarded with rewards. These include in-game items or character progression. Of course, the act of completing levels is also rewarding.
It’s these little mini-rewards that keep people coming back to the game.
How does this apply to learning?
Here’s an example use case based on the Promethean World ClassFlow system.
ClassFlow pulls together an array of online learning resources and gamifies them. It allows teachers to deliver interactive lessons using familiar devices. For example, ClassFlow makes use of tablet computers. This creates familiarity, which leads to higher engagement.
The system allows teachers to use a variety of teaching styles to engage their students. For example, they can deliver text-based content accompanied by visual content. This ensures they cater to many learning styles. Furthermore, they deliver relevant quizzes and other content via the system. ClassFlow draws from millions of resources to help teachers customise their lessons.
You may use it as follows:
- Deliver a lesson via traditional methods.
- Use ClassFlow resources to expand upon that lesson. The games the system offers help your students apply what they’ve learned.
- Run interactive quizzes using ClassFlow to ensure the lesson content sticks.
The key to ClassFlow’s effectiveness is its rewards system.
ClassFlow has a badge system too. This provides digital rewards based on the learner’s progress. For example, completing a certain number of quizzes could lead to the awarding of a digital badge.
This builds on the concept of trophies and achievements used in modern consoles. These digital rewards keep players engaged and make them want to dig deeper into the content.
This same technique can prompt students to conduct more research into a topic. Only by doing so can they earn the more challenging badges. This has obvious positive benefits for learning outcomes.
ClassFlow’s system is one of many examples. There are many ways to use gamification. You don’t always need a fully-integrated system either. It’s possible to use some interactivity without gamifying the entire classroom.
What Are the Benefits
The above explanation touches on some of the benefits of gamification. Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at how the technique may improve student outcomes.
These are three key benefits of gamification.
Benefit #1 – Increased Engagement
As highlighted above, gamification helps students engage with educational content. An International Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences study looks at this
Researchers examined several gamification studies to see what benefits the technique offers. They found that 83.3% of people like getting rewards for completing interactive tasks. This enjoyment prompts them to engage further with the content in search of more rewards.
This ties in well to ClassFlow’s use of digital badges. Earning a digital badge becomes a point of pride for the student. Of course, they wish to earn more, which means further engagement with the content. Teachers may be able to increase engagement by offering recognition for in-game achievements.
For example, you may set a target of earning ten badges to your students. You can encourage this by offering them freedom in regards to which badges to aim for. This gives students more control over their learning experience. Thus, it allows for a greater degree of personalisation.
The student is thus more engaged because they feel like this is “their” learning journey.
Furthermore, game-based learning shifts the focus to the learning process. Instead of looking only at the goal, students focus more on the process. This engages them further.
Benefit #2 – Improved Attention Spans
Today’s children live in a very stimulating world. There’s more content and information available to them than ever before. And all this content vies for their attention.
It’s no wonder that many students struggle to stay alert during long lessons. A lecture may not engage them enough, which leads to their attention wandering.
Gamification can help to maintain students’ attention for longer.
A study published in The Australian Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology took a closer look at this.
It examined how gamification may help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Researchers used a game to help students control their breathing. This, in turn, made them feel more relaxed.
The researchers found that the game had a positive effect. The students were able to relax too. This helped them to pay attention to other learning materials for longer periods of time.
This looks at the extreme end of the scale. But the interactivity inherent in gaming is key to maintaining attention. Learners get constant stimulus from game-based learning. This ensures their attention stays focused on the game, thus improving learning outcomes.
Benefit #3 – Lessens Disruptive Behaviour
The above study shows how game-based learning can lessen disruptive behaviour. More attentive students are less likely to seek stimulus elsewhere. This means they’re unlikely to disrupt the class to entertain themselves.
The engaging nature of game-based learning also helps. Students actually enjoy the learning experience more. That’s because it challenges them on several levels. Again, this means they’re less likely to disrupt the classroom.
Finally, the technique is familiar to those who play videogames at home. This means it’s something that students can understand straight away. As such, disruption is less likely to occur as students don’t struggle with processes.
The Final Word
This article examines only a few of the benefits that gamification offers. The key point to take away is that it engages students through interactivity. This leads to heightened attention and less disruption in the classroom.
The use of tangible rewards also keeps students involved in the learning process. Systems like ClassFlow’s digital badges make it feell “good” to learn.
You may be able to use gamification to benefit your own students. Or, you may have some gamified systems and want to take things further.
Either way, Core Innovation Group can help. We install gamification technology, including ClassFlow, into classrooms. We can also teach you more about the technologies that help with the technique.Contact us today to discuss your requirements. We also offer a free evaluation of your current set-up.