What is Gamification?
Technologically driven organisations have begun to experiment with the primary features of gaming and are merging them into educational materials. This somewhat fun and sophisticated form of learning will allow companies to get better performance from their staff.
With generation Y growing up heavily reliant on technology, utilising gaming software to stimulate the mind and encourage learning seems to make perfect sense. More importantly, gamification reaches out to the individual and speaks the language of the learner.
A recent example of a successful project is EVOKE, a social networking game that challenges the user to real life situations and solving problematic issues relating to health care, human rights and education. EVOKE has won several awards for innovation in education. While anyone can download the game, initially the target audience was mainly young students, the idea being to work together to share ideas, hopefully leading to the completion of a set task.
What Are the Benefits?
Gamification, sometimes referred to as ‘Brain Games’, adds gaming elements to an informative course and is said to boost attention span and overall focus.
Adopting a game-esque style within a virtual learning environment increases engagement amongst those who want to enhance their skill set. It certainly appears to be a promising strategy on improving the skills of the contemporary work force.
Compared to traditional learning formats, gamification is a fun way to study. Methods can range from revising for exams in school to working towards additional qualifications and merits in employment. It simplifies the process of learning, bringing much added enthusiasm to the student.
According to Gartner, around 70% of top 2,000 companies around the world will have used some kind of gamified programme or software. But what are the key aspects that make gamification stand out from other learning tools and resources?
Informal Learning - One of the most successful traits is the ability to make dry subjects, such as maths and science (never my favourite two!), seem more appealing. Creating an enjoyable learning experience and interesting portrayal of a topic can encourage a more positive attitude towards learning and development.
Incentives – Content must interest the player and the game must include some kind of incentive for the user. Incentives tease the user to come back to complete a level or gain an extra award. Popular features include Golden Coins and points which allow entry to the next stage or level.
Appealing – Unlike reading multiple textbooks and writing countless notes, which can be quite repetitive, gamification can give a sense of direction and motivation to accomplish. The user is able to keep an eye on their ranking, and receive instant feedback on their actions. Educational games can increase the level of engagement which will ultimately support the individual in attaining new skills.
The fact that there are millions of gamers worldwide and that consoles are becoming more accessible means that it was only a matter of time before gaming began to become integrated with learning software. The evolution of educational technology, or edtech, is still a relatively new concept but is said to play a key role in future developments within the eLearning industry.