Gamification for learning

GDT cover blog

You should have heard about gamification for learning by now.

If not, don’t worry,  follow me through this article and we’ll try to clarify what it is.

If you need to revise Gamification why don’t you have a look at Gamification – What Is It?.

It’s not hard to think that a video game could be used to let people learn something. Imagine a quiz or a puzzle game, they both stimulate people to use their brains to solve and win the game.

What if we can dress up a boring piece of learning homework and transform it into a video game?

It could be interesting right?

Before talking about video games, we need to talk about educational technology.

E-Learning

e-learning

Educational Learning or “E-learning” as suggested by Wikipedia is the combined use of computer hardware, software, and educational theory and practice to facilitate learning.

I really like also the definition from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). It defines e-learning as: “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources”.

Yes because e-learning is a study first of all to understand how to use software and hardware to help people learn.

Gamification for learning

So we can imagine the gamification for learning as a subset of the educational learning, because it uses a specific kind of software: video games.

Gamification for learning then, from Wikipedia too,  is an educational approach to motivate users to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments. The goal is to maximise enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners and inspiring them to continue learning.

Gamification for learning in companies

Training in companies

A video game could be a powerful instrument in e-learning because it decreases or cancels the learning difficulties; besides it’s simpler to monitor the progress of the users, for instance connecting the steps of the games with the results of the learning.

An E-Learning video game could improve team-building and it can provide a complete vision of the consequences of our own actions in a simulation for instance instead of a real-life situation.

Through a video game it’s possible to obtain the increase of productivity: a real-life working scenario is based on goals, difficulties and feedback, the same factors define a good game design. For instance the video games are a great instrument to increase the employees performance, pushing them through friendly challenges and providing them objectives and goals to reach, share and compare.

Gamification for learning in school

learning in school

Nowadays children play and enjoy video games a lot, why don’t we take advantage of this situation to let them learn!?

Gamification for learning is a great opportunity to transform the time the children play with video games in a learning time!

Many video game companies ( mostly in mobile platforms) already started creating  games in e-learning games, they are a great business because the parents feel good about buying or downloading an e-learning video game for their children.

Many video games make the most of classic game mechanics and dynamics to involve the children, then they use the learning part to push them on knowing things to proceed in the game. We can say they trick the children for their own good.

Cody Diario 3D

Some members of our team worked on an incredible AR game to help children learn coding.

The one you see in the video is Cody Diario 3D, an app created for Giunti Editore in collaboration with the university of Urbino.

The app uses augmented reality to facilitate programming learning for all children who use it.

And of course, it uses the latest gamification techniques to make learning light, iterative and stimulate a path of progress and growth within the app.

It was a hard study before getting the right mix of game mechanics and dynamics to make it as good as we needed to help the children.

As you can see there are no limits to the creation of video games for learning, you just need your imagination!

Advantages and benefits of gamification for learning

Benefits

Now we have a better vision of gamification for learning it is time to talk about the benefits and the advantages. Wikipedia provides a great list of them, let me list the most important:

  • Giving users ownership of their learning.

They are the heroes of the game, they should find their way to learn to win.

  • Freedom to fail and try again without negative repercussions.

This is one of the most important lessons, failing is important and it’s a good way to learn something.

  • Chances to increase fun and joy in the classroom

In the classroom sometimes the time could be boring, imagine playing video games all together!

  • Opportunities for differentiated instruction

It’s well-known that studying from a book is not a standard way for everyone, the gamification for learning could provide an alternative way. Also depending on the game there are opportunities for differentiation with extra challenges or simplified tasks. 

  • Making learning visible

It uses sounds and images to help people learn.

  • Providing a manageable set of subtasks and tasks

The organisation is extremely important in our lives and if we start managing tasks as soon as possible this could help us a lot.

Yes we can say it aloud, these benefits are great, if I imagine myself with this opportunity when I was a child it could have been great to take these benefits in my childhood. What do you think? Why don’t you share your thoughts about it in a comment?

The dark side of gamification for learning

risks

I know until now everything was great, but it’s time to discuss the bad aspects of using gamification for learning. Unfortunately there are some really important things to consider:

  • Time spent watching a screen

For the brain and the eyes it is not good spending too much time watching a screen, obviously this is a disadvantage if we use it for a long time, so it’s really important to measure and limit the time of our children, employees, or us.

  • Social issues

Regarding the children, we have to be careful to not let them spend too much time in video games in general instead of spending time in real life games like hide and seek. If they stay too far from social life they could have problems in real-life situations like making friends or relationships in general.

  • Data protection

This is a hot-theme, because now the things are becoming more secure and detailed, but every app, game or software in general today collects data of the users to provide a better and customised learning service. But all the data collected could be exploited putting at risk the privacy and all the information of the user.

More than disadvantages I would call them precaution and risks, because the first two are warnings and they tell us to provide good guidelines to use the gamification for learning. The third is a risk, because nowadays you can protect the data in the way you prefer but we aren’t hundred percent sure of it.

Conclusion

What an incredible journey through gamification for learning, I didn’t think we could have found so much interesting information.

Let’s recap a bit:

The gamification for learning is an educational approach to let users learn through video games.

It’s a subset of educational learning (e-learning) and it can be used for everyone, from companies to schools.

There are either benefits or risks using it, but if used in the right way it could really support the users learning with fun and satisfaction.

Hoping you can find helpful information for an introduction in this current theme, please leave a comment and let me know what you think about gamification for learning.

 

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