How Does Gamification Affect the Learning Process?
By Fazreen Razeek
To many parents, the idea of gaming and education do not go hand in hand. Gaming, in general, tends to have the connotation that games are violent and can negatively influence a child’s behavior. But gamification in education is completely separate and can have many positive impacts on a child’s learning process.
What is Gamification?
Gamification in education is typically focused on increasing student learning and engagement by using video games, or game-like elements, to make the learning fun and stimulating. Gamification often uses digital technology such as gamified learning software (a good example would be Khan Academy).
The most effective games will make sure to feature goals, progressions, rules, a story, high levels of interactivity and positive feedback or rewards. Most games will also incorporate elements of collaboration, teamwork and real-world scenarios to prepare students for life outside the classroom.
But how does it affect learning?
Makes Learning Fun
Video games are popular for having extremely high levels of engagement and entertainment - something that everyone can agree is a motivating factor when it comes to doing practically anything. Making learning engaging and entertaining by using gamification can motivate students to carry out the academic tasks that they would otherwise find boring or tedious.
Competitive games or even RPGs are enticing to kids and using a fun and engaging element makes the entire learning process more fun than simply sitting at a desk all day. It helps students stay focused and engaged and helps them memorize material easier.
Gamification in education can aid in cognitive development in adolescents. Brain Games, those games that have been specifically created to help enhance cognitive development, are based on various problems or questions that the user (student) needs to solve. These games improve the rate at which the brain is able to process and maintain information and is a useful method for helping students not only grow academically but personally.
Positive Attitude Towards Education
When students are excited about learning, they stop viewing education as something that they have to do, but something that they want to do. As mentioned before, gamification makes learning fun and exciting, and that is a driving factor to learning.
Take a subject like Mathematics. To many, it is the least-liked subject in school, what with its repetitive problems and long formulas. Using a math game can make the subject more interesting and enticing to those students who aren’t fond of it. Soon enough, they’ll develop a more positive attitude toward math and feel inclined to participate and excel.
It’s a well-known fact that when people receive positive feedback or prizes in games, they feel good and happy. Educational games have the same influence as students are given the chance to be competitive and win games against their peers. It pushes them to achieve goals, driving them to succeed and making the learning process a more positive experience.
There is a science behind why gamification works. When students, and even adults, participate in activities that stimulate the mind and body, endorphins are released by the body (our natural stress and pain reliever). When students are given rewards after engaging in activities, they feel incentivized to continue working hard in their studies through these games. When these endorphins are released, students have fun during their learning, are able to retain information better and get excited about education. Gamification in education creates a sense of excitement in students as they feel they are actually accomplishing something.
Improves Retention & Attention Span
For some students, it’s hard to concentrate 100% during hour-long classes or lectures. Gamification helps students stay attentive during class as the engaging element prevails. When something is new and exciting, there’s a higher chance that people will want to pay attention to what’s happening. In turn, being active in the classroom and engaging in more ways than just reciting answers, students are able to retain information better.
Encourages Teamwork & Collaboration
With most games, teamwork and collaboration are needed. When implementing gamification in the classroom, having games that encourage multiplayer gameplay is essential. Having students collaborate through video games while learning will help them build the necessary collaboration skills. These will go a long way as students will be transformed into productive and efficient employees in the workplace once they graduate.
Enhances Learning For All Ages
Regardless of age, gamification makes the learning experience more effective. When you’re excited about learning, you’re more likely to acquire information, even if it’s on a more dull or boring subject. This is because you’re actually enjoying learning new information and you’re actively participating. No matter how old a human being is, there’s no denying that we’re all more eager to participate in activities that are actually fun and entertaining.
Simulates Real-World Situations
Gamification was designed to simulate real-life scenarios, showing students that every action has a consequence. Games can help them cement important life skills in a virtual space where they can make mistakes and learn from them. They can carry this experience and knowledge forward into life.
About Fazreen Razeek
Fazreen Razeek from Edarabia.com has served the digital industry for almost 10 years. He collaborates and works alongside agencies, event organizers, and suppliers to develop and execute their marketing strategies. He is extremely passionate about education technology and also writes for various local and international publications.