Gamification is a relatively new process for learning but it is growing exponentially thanks to the expansion of eLearning. Broadly, it is the use of game rules and game strategies to solve real problems. Those game style mechanics are applied to non-game things to encourage better engagement and more interest in the material. It is exceptionally well suited to the eLearning space as gamification requires interactivity between the students and the information they are learning.
Gamification really works as well. First Post reported that a Gallup poll said that just 31 percent of U.S. workers were engaged by their jobs in 2014. But according to the source an independent survey done by Badgeville, a business gamification company, reported that 91 percent of workers who used game-based motivation at work were more engaged, aware and productive.
Whether used in a business setting or a more traditional educational one gamification of learning can be a powerful tool for motivation and engagement. Here are three reasons to gamify learning:
1. Reinforce the value of education
The real reward anyone gets from learning something new is the knowledge that is gained, but that is an abstract concept that isn't much good at motivating people, especially when the information they are learning is tedious or boring. Reinforcing the idea that the knowledge is valuable by giving out tangible rewards at each step of the learning process can really encourage learning. A professor at Indiana University has exemplified this idea by ditching traditional grades in favor of experience points according to the Escapist. Students in his class gain points for each class related task they complete, with the total number of points gained corresponding to a traditional grade at the end of the class.
2. Increase student agency
A gamified system allows students to pursue rewards for accomplishing various tasks, often with a system of leveling to pass through as they go from a beginner to a master in any given subject matter. This type of system can allow students to choose what they want to learn about next within the confines of the curriculum set by the teacher. That agency will keep them interested in learning and keep them engaged in the material.
3. Engage the disinterested
Some students are not engaged by the traditional learning experience, especially those that come from low-income and other disadvantaged backgrounds. By turning the act of learning into a game, educators can engage with those students in a different way as Mike Young, Associate Professor of Education Psychology at The University of Connecticut told Education World. Even if a student is not a "gamer" in the typical sense they can still be engaged by the fun and competition of a gamified learning process.