Should institutions join gamification in 2022?

Online and distance learning has often been used to maintain continuity in education (such as in emergency or unforeseen situations that disrupt the status quo, such as following earthquakes). However, the longevity and global impact of the Covid-19 crisis has led some educators to consider whether the forced shift to digital-first education represents a more permanent change.

Because education has always been centered on in-person interactions and knowledge sharing, many institutions may be eager for an immediate retreat to the traditions of the physical class. Ensuring that students fully understand the learning materials and stay engaged, while also meeting their mental, emotional and social needs, is especially difficult when all teaching is delivered online.

Like it or not, distance learning is here for the long haul; teachers and institutions should now seriously consider ways they can meet these crucial long-term requirements. Even in the future, when Covid-19 is far behind us, distance education can be an excellent means of providing students with a fully flexible or supplementary curriculum.

This is where gamification comes into play.

What is gamification?

Gamification is the external use of game design elements and principles from a traditional game context. A good example of this is app-based learning, where students can win virtual trophies and virtual currency to advance to more advanced levels while interacting with a platform. Applications like these can provide students with new and fun learning opportunities, as well as a more stimulating experience overall, something that can pay off when it comes to retained knowledge, lasting engagement, and even social interaction among students.

While typical gameplay elements aren’t new at all, they are becoming more and more common in non-game contexts. Areas where gamified learning is thriving include websites, digital marketing initiatives, business applications, and even productivity tools. Most people will already be familiar with gamified learning even in educational settings, as apps like Duolingo and Coursera are popular with people who are reviewing exams or self-directed learning.

But what is it that makes students so involved in these games? Research has shown that video games have been linked dopamine production, which has often been labeled the “feel good” chemical, which can be quite addictive for many people. This association makes people more likely to stay invested, looking for new opportunities to climb the learning leaderboard and earn more points, looking for that feeling of accomplishment.

How can I use gamification?

It makes sense that educators can leverage gamified technologies to ensure that students are motivated to learn in a remote setting, even beyond the duration of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Maintaining concentration for a full day of online classes, not to mention a full week, is a difficult task; teachers should consider which subjects and topics their students are struggling to keep up with and consider implementation the appropriate technology.

Implementing gamified elements does not necessarily mean having to develop a new and tailor-made solution; it can be as simple as using an interactive quiz to consolidate learning materials, allowing students to test their new knowledge.

Apps that mimic traditional quizzes or flash cards can be very useful as a form of recovery process – this is firmly rooted in science learningS. as a method to help students remember and retain new knowledge.

A summative analysis of over 200 experiments conducted over 70 years suggestthat these technologies can enhance the practice of retrieval (i.e. when students push themselves to remember), making students more likely to remember and learn new content than if they had to browse some written notes. Whether it’s a quiz, a series of flashcards, or a game, people can become more proactive in solidifying their learning.

Another tip educators might find helpful is to include gamified apps in their lesson plans, rather than setting this type of activity as a homework or extension activity. Language teachers, for example, may want to allocate a portion of their lesson to encourage students to use an app like Duolingo.

Perhaps the class is all about students gaining new vocabulary to discuss what they like to do in their spare time – selecting a relevant module in the app and doing this part of the lesson can reduce Zoom fatigue.

Students will be able to compete against each other, and instead of being discouraged if they make a mistake, they may be more inclined to move forward so they can move on to the next level and proudly display their achievements. In this case, any errors are a source of feedback and learning. Even groups or pairs of students can work together, competing in teams, thus improving the dynamics of the class.

These initiatives also make life easier for teachers. Often, app-based or gamified learning presents students with clear objectives, ensuring that learning and assessment are tightly integrated. This takes a lot of time and complexity out of the lesson planning process, as well as being an effective way to track progress.

Ultimately, the acquisition of new knowledge should no longer be associated with boredom and routine. Gamification offers students and teachers new opportunities to learn in a fun and engaging way: no doubt, these technologies will help even the most reluctant students to stay on track.

You may also like: GoHenry launches Money Missions, an in-app gamified educational tool, to help children’s financial literacy

Should institutions join gamification in 2022?

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