Gamification is often used by businesses to enhance the motivation and engagement of employees and to have more marketing success, but it is also a tool that is commonly being used on the world of eLearning. One of the main issues when it comes to online learning is motivation. Many students do not have the motivation or discipline to successfully complete online classes and get the most from the learning experience. With gamification, this motivation is increased and will make students want to invest the efforts and time that will be required to learn. The learning activities that are used online should have meaning to the student and gamification is a great tool that can challenge all participants to achieve the set learning objectives.
The use of gamification will also make use of competition and will force students to interact and encourage positive behavior from others. It is possible to stir the passion for learning when gamification is properly used and students will feel happier being part of the experience since they will not only gain useful knowledge but will obtain rewards and recognition along the way.
Gamification will be most useful when a course is teaching hard or boring content and it can drastically raise awareness of the students. It will also be a great way to evaluate skills that have been improved and will help students make the commitment to long-term learning in an online setting. Studies have revealed that more than 80% of all students believe they would be more productive and successful if their institution used game-like teaching tools. There are many different ways in which gamification can be implemented and when it is, it creates a more positive learning environment with much more engagement from all students involved.
Benefits of Gamification in eLearning
There are literally hundreds of benefits to using gamification in eLearning environments. These can include better retention, higher scores on tests, more commitment from students, a better grasp of content, more involvement and engagement and a better social experience. With gamification, the chore of learning is removed and is replaced with an interactive and rewarding way to stay on track while absorbing important content of a course. With so many benefits, it is understood why so many teachers and institutions are now using gamification for online learners.
How to Implement Gamification
There are a variety of ways instructors will use gamification and each will have different benefits and effects in the classroom. Here, we discuss the easiest and most successful ways to implement gamification into the learning process so that students are more apt to be engaged and motivated to continue learning. Gamification will also help with knowledge retention, so this is definitely a tool that has become quite useful in the eLearning industry.
Creating challenges and rewards is one way to successfully implement gamification into the learning process. Teachers can force the student to complete a task and will have to do this to advance to the next section of the course. With challenges, there should also be rewards, which will help to recognize achievements and will help to motivate the student to continue These rewards can be as simple as badges or points.
Expectations should always be clarified by the teacher so that the student knows exactly what they need to do. The description of an assignment, goal or task should state all expectations as well as the desired outcome. The allows the student to set the right goals and ultimately be more successful.
Second chances are useful and can be a great tool in learning. When playing games, especially video games, the gamer is often given more than one chance to complete a goal. This same mentality can be used in the classroom and students can have two or three chances to attain a goal or get a certain grade.
Testing remains essential when using gamification as the teacher will want to know the progress of the student as well as how much has been retained. By having an assessment at the end of any course, the teacher can test current knowledge and know whether course objectives have been met. An alternative option to testing is offering a survey where the student gives feedback on their learning experience using gamification.
Finally, always remember that content and the relevance of that content comes first. Gaming should be enjoyable and the elements used in the classroom should only be used to enhance the experience, not take away from the content that is being taught. Content should be the number one focus for online courses and gamification should only be used when relevant to that content.
Strategies When Using Gamification for Learning
There are some effective strategies that can also be used when implementing gamification into a learning experience. One is to use polls to get feedback from students. By asking questions using polls or surveys, teachers can get honest feedback from students and know how the gamification process is working. The benefit of this is that all results are anonymous, so students are more apt to provide honest responses.
Teachers can also enhance and intensify a challenge by using a timer or specific rules. Using Time Limits and Rules will define the different elements of the learning content and how they are scored. For example, a rule can be set up to redirect students to review certain content should they answer a question wrong or take more time than allowed to answer that question.
Another strategy is to add fun through humor. By making jokes and keeping things light-hearted, students will be more engaged and will be willing to learn. Puns are a great tool for older students and these can enhance the experience and personalize the lesson.