Gamification is identified and defined by the use of bringing gaming mechanics and motivational elements together, supporting a beneficial learning and educational platform all around the world. As games are driven by certain mechanics such as competitiveness, result-driven, goals, statuses, and rewards – the combination of bringing these mechanics into a platform where learning engagements are applied, gamification has been positively reinforced to promote skills and education.
The topic of gamification is one that has evolved in its context through the years and although it is always important to do your research, sometimes there can be a wide net cast on the information available online. So instead, we have summarised various contexts pertaining to gamification in order to highlight how gamification can improve learning skills and promote healthy educational experiences. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of gamification on learning:
POSITIVELY REINFORCING MOTIVATION THROUGH RESULTS
People are motivated through a results-driven platform whereby recognition plays a vital role. When we receive positive recognition, we automatically feel good and charged to keep performing. If you consider any games you have played and have won, the feeling of achievement and satisfaction that is attached to your win is exactly how gamification positively reinforces learning.
By incorporating gaming mechanics such as leader boards and competitive aspects, learners engage and interact with the educational objectives a lot easier, giving room for feelings of accomplishment and motivation when being able to see their results and progress throughout.
BOOSTS MORALE WHILE ENFORCING EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS
Through gamification strategies, learners are motivated through achieving goals, reaching certain milestones, and being recognized for them. By incorporating various milestones into the gamification and learning strategies, learners are continuously encouraged to keep moving forward and keep progressing. Taking a look at the benefits of goal-orientated platforms and strategies is widely recognized as a way to boost morale within learners; helping them feel a sense of achievement and confidence in their learning abilities. The more a learner achieves, the more they want to continue achieving and thus creating interest and passion towards their educational accomplishments and growth.
STIMULATES BRAIN DEVELOPMENT FOR EASY RETAINING
There are various ways and strategies used in gamification whereby games are designed to stimulate brain development and cognitive functioning. When targeting cognitive functioning, the brain is stimulated and learns to process and understand as well as retain the new information being learned. Through these experiences, learners will find it easier to apply their knowledge and progress through the educational platforms, as their cognitive abilities increase.
GAMIFICATION IS NOT LIMITED TO ONLINE PLATFORMS
The benefits of incorporating the gamification platforms, with regards to promoting educational and learning skills, are not limited to online or eLearning but can be implemented outside of the virtual classroom. There are various interactive outdoor games that can promote and encourage other skills such as coordination, tactics, competitiveness as well as the added benefits of physical exercise. We all know that adding physical exercise to our daily routines can help in not only staying fit but in encouraging positive feelings within ourselves as it releases endorphins. With the release of endorphins and being active, learners can find themselves feeling more motivated and energized and thus returning the favor in the ability to keep performing and learning.
It is important to keep in mind, something that is often misunderstood is that gamification is not games. There have been many misconceptions on this topic which is why so many people have referred to gamification as a buzzword.
There is a significant difference between playing games and the development of gamification. Gamification is intended to teach and encourage learners through incorporating gaming systems and mechanics, as discussed above. Incorporating these mechanics allows for the experiences to be interactive and more engaging but certainly not intended to replace any learning experience with gaming.
For any gamification to be effective, there are certain factors to keep in mind and consider:
- Learner-Centred: The experience is to always be learner-centered and ensure that the objectives and goals of learning and promoting educational growth are kept front of mind. By encouraging the achievement of goals and objectives, learners will be stimulated and motivated. It is always best to ensure the best gaming mechanics are incorporated into the specific learning objective, as these mechanics can assist in developing beneficial and rewarding gamification.
- Assess the Strategy: Focus on what the specific training or learning goals are and through a clear understanding of those goals, you can ensure that the gamification setup is best suited for the learners. The content the learners will be exposed to should always be relevant and on par with the current cognitive abilities and understanding. There is no use in exposing learners to advanced gamification, beyond their current educational abilities, as gamification is based on recognition, feelings of achievement, goals, and rewards. Being reckless with which gamification to incorporate into the classroom or even business environment, can significantly impact the experience, the progress, and the level of interest of the learners.
For many, the concept of gamification is completely unknown and foreign; however the proof is in the research and if you are interested in experiencing or incorporating gamification into your classroom, personal life, or even into the business culture for training – there are many benefits associated gamification which can help promote cognitive ability and functioning, skills, educational advancements and simply broaden your learning horizons.