Gamification is a prevalent learning method for improving engagement by incorporating game elements into an educational environment, and is an increasingly excellent tool for developing new skills and enhancing existing ones. This CPD article on how gamification is used in learning and education will look at different types of gamification and how they’re applied. We will also explore the advantages and disadvantages that using gamification has as an approach to learning for students.
What is gamification?
Gamification, game-based learning or play-based learning is when game like elements and principles are applied to non-gaming activities in order create a more engaging and enjoyable learning environment. Generally speaking, there are the two main types of gamification, Structural gamification and Content-based gamification.
With structural gamification, learning can have the physical form of a game, such as an educational app with a reward system, challenges and a time limit. The core aim being to encourage the learner to continue and do more even when successfully completing a challenge. However, not all gamified learning has to take the form of a game. Content-based gamification instead uses key elements of games such as a narrative with a problem to solve, a competition with prize, or feedback loops, for instance.
Why is gamification important in education?
Over the past several years, online and digital activities that require student interactivity are becoming more important due to the numerous benefits they provide both for students and instructors. From a young age we learn through play, testing, trialling until we uncover the best method and finally succeed. As we get older the element of play in our learning is lost and with that the enthusiasm for education decreases. The joy and creativity when learning new things, however, resurfaces when adapting features from games into education.
Gamification makes use of the brain’s natural knack for logic and problem solving, adding elements that make the process rewarding, which helps to aid learning. In addition, gamified content triggers the release of dopamine by adding game like elements to learning with clear and defined learning outcomes, encouraging learner engagement and retention.
More people are now taking part in eLearning and other forms of digital learning as a way to make education as interactive and effective as in person classroom learning. Gamification has also become increasingly used as a way to improve both workplace skills training and enhance employee productivity.
Gamification can be a course-long endeavor, or it can be incorporated into individual activities to spark interest. In an educational context, content based gamification can improve the attention of learners by breaking up heavy context work e.g. seminars, lectures, pass papers, enabling learner's to acquire new skills and knowledge at their own pace, in a safe environment.