Exploring the Power of Gamification in Education: Enhancing Engagement and Motivation
IYANU AKANNI

IYANU AKANNI

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Exploring the Power of Gamification in Education: Enhancing Engagement and Motivation

Gamification can define as a strategy that implements game-like elements into non-gaming activities to enhance engagement and motivation. Gamification is built to encourage intrinsic motivation, which is the desire to do something because you have an interest in the task. This type of motivation will leave learners genuinely enjoying the topics they are studying.

Before designing any gamified activity, you need to have a clear idea of what you want your learners to achieve and how you will measure their progress. Learning objectives and outcomes should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). They should also align with the art curriculum and standards, and reflect the skills and knowledge that learners need to develop. For example, you might want your learners to create a digital collage that demonstrates the principles of contrast, harmony, and balance.

Gamification is one of the most popular and preferred trends of learning amongst students, globally. Games help in situated learning or, to put in simple words, learning that occurs through immersive experiences. After all, what else could be the best way to educate learners other than putting them to play!
Gamification in education refers to the application of game-based elements and mechanics in the teaching and learning process. It involves integrating game design principles, such as goals, rules, challenges, and rewards, into educational activities in order to enhance engagement, motivation, and learning outcomes for students.

Gamification operates on the assumption that the engagement experienced by the gamer should be translated to the learning context. This would eventually influence the behavior of student while facilitating learning at the same time. Since gamers willfully spend hours on solving the gaming challenges, the developers are using the potential of video games to harness learners’ motivation and to apply the techniques to learning environments.

Gamification uses gaming mechanics, such as badges, points, levels, or leaderboards and applies these mechanics to how a learning course is taught. This, in turn, improves the learner’s motivation. Moreover, the design of the game offers the learners the freedom to fail and to face and accomplish various challenges and goals respectively.

Gamification in education is also sometimes termed as game principles for education, gameful thinking, engagement design, or motivational design etc.
Gamification can also provide instant feedback to students, allowing them to trace their progress and identify areas for improvement. This instant feedback loop can aid students develop to a growth mindset and become more self-directed learners.

The notion of gamification tail from the idea that many students are inherently drawn to games and find them engaging and enjoyable. By applying game design elements in the educational context, educators aim to make the learning experience more enjoyable and interactive, ultimately leading to increased student motivation and participation.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that gamification should be used as a supplement to traditional teaching methods and not as a standalone solution. It should be carefully implemented, taking into consideration the learning objectives, content, and age appropriateness. Additionally, educators should continuously assess the effectiveness of gamification strategies and make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal learning outcomes.

Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is wanting to do something based on external rewards or factors, such as someone telling you to do the task. Although most learners will have a healthy mix of both motivation types, it’s important for learners not to lean more towards extrinsic motivation.

Gamification examples in education can range from something as simple as a leaderboard system to much more complicated VR-based scenarios. It all depends on how far institutions want to push the envelope. Let’s explore some ways gamification can be incorporated into education!

Game elements and mechanics are the building blocks of gamification. They include things like points, badges, levels, leaderboards, quests, challenges, rewards, feedback, and narratives. You can use different combinations of these elements and mechanics to create engaging and meaningful gamified experiences for your learners. For example, you might use points and badges to reward learners for completing tasks, levels to indicate their progress and mastery, quests and challenges to provide structure and direction, feedback to give them guidance and encouragement, and narratives to create a context and a story for their art projects.

One of the key benefits of gamification is that it can cater to different learning styles, preferences, and needs. You can customize and personalize your gamified activities to suit your learners' interests, goals, and abilities. For example, you might offer them different options and choices for their art projects, such as themes, mediums, tools, and formats. You might also allow them to set their own pace and difficulty level, and to explore and experiment with different elements and mechanics. You might also use adaptive learning techniques to adjust the content and feedback according to their performance and behavior.

Games have always been the first choice of students, but what if the lessons that have been taught to them include games? Students will find it interesting to learn by having fun alongside. One of the best and simpler ways to gamify the learning process in the classroom is to create and organize a quest of all the lessons that have been taught to them the whole week or month.

The quest needs to be launched interestingly and more funnily that can generate the interest of students along with having a learning experience for them. The marks are given for the quest also need to be in the game format like in badges or in points that motivate students in the right direction. This is just one way as there are various techniques through which gamification can become a part of modern classrooms.

Examples of Gamification in Education

Here are some examples of game designs, which capture the learners on a much deeper level. These games help the learners to master the skill or information, as they put them to competition or challenges. Meanwhile, they also offer rewards and both positive and negative feedback.

  1. Brainscape
    Brainscape is a simple learning-oriented game. This helps the learners to create exceptional flashcards to meet their learning capabilities. In such a way they learn the ideas in the most comprehensive manner, leaving out the ones they already know. Since learners usually forget almost 90% of the material while studying, brainscape overcome this issue with its smart flashcards. Teachers and students can create flashcards collaboratively, using the scientifically proven system of study.
    Gamification strategy
    Brainscape is a mobile app that offers a platform for users to create, share, and study digital flashcards. The app uses gamification to incentivize users to continue studying by awarding points and badges for completing sets of flashcards and reaching certain milestones.
    Result
    According to Brainscape, users who earn at least one badge are 50% more likely to complete a full set of flashcards than those who don’t (source: Brainscape blog). The app has over 1 million registered users and has been downloaded over 10 million times (source: Crunchbase).

  2. Knowre
    In a traditional classroom, it is difficult for teachers to personalize the material. The high achievers may not be challenged enough or the low-graders might get frustrated due to lack of motivation. But as we speak of the potential of gamification in education, Knowre has enabled the instructors to personalize the course material in accordance with every learner’s skill.
    It is an adaptive math curriculum which enables instructors to provide personalized instructions to every student. It helps the student to get the experience and benefits of one-on-one learning. It helps students to break concept in a step-by-step process and help them in learning with more depth and with consistent feedback and review to overcome weak areas.
    Gamification strategy
    Knowre is an online math tutoring platform that uses gamification to motivate students to learn and improve their math skills. The platform offers a variety of interactive math exercises that use gamification elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards to engage students and encourage them to complete more exercises.
    Result
    According to Knowre, students who use the platform for at least 30 minutes a week improve their math skills by an average of 17% (source: Knowre website). The platform has been used by over 200,000 students and over 3,000 schools (source: Crunchbase).

2. Benefits of Gamification in Education

  1. Motivates students and learners: Various techniques can be used in gamification in higher education. Interesting techniques used in various games with challenges and rewards help in motivating students and learners in the best prospects.

  2. Improves overall learning experience: Students must get a proper understanding of whatever is being taught to them, and all this, gamification can help a lot expand and improve the overall learning experience in a better way.

  3. Enhances student engagement: Games have always been having a different approach for kids and teens and specifically students. Involving studies can enhance students’ engagement differently and positively.

  4. Makes learning fun and interactive: Regardless of your audience or subject matter, the gamification of learning can help you to create exciting, educational, and entertaining content. It’s not meant to turn work into a game, but it does play on the psychology that drives human engagement.
    The rewards can be very satisfying and intensely motivating One of the key benefits of gamification is that it makes learning informative and exciting, mainly thanks to its interactivity. Role-play and competitive elements add an immersive angle, which, if set up well, can quite simply make learning fun.

  5. Creates an addiction to learning: If you had to define the single most important aim of learning, it must surely be to instill new knowledge in your learners. But how useful is that knowledge if it can’t be retained?
    Another, rather surprising, benefit of gamification in learning is the natural high it can give us, and the impact that ‘high’ has on the retention of knowledge. When our brain wants to reward us, it releases dopamine into our bodies, so when we win a game or achieve something important to us, we feel good.

  6. Gives learners the opportunity to see real-world applications: The third benefit of gamification is all about getting your hands ‘dirty’. Learning on the job can be a very effective way of cementing skills by applying them to practical scenarios.
    The gamification of learning allows learners to see the real-world applications and benefits of the subject matter. They are able to get a first-hand look at how their choices within the game result in consequences or rewards.

3. Conclusion

Due to the popularity of using games in learning among students, gamification can be used as a novel educational method at the university level. The results of the present study showed the effectiveness of gamification in improving the students’ satisfaction and learning.

Further investigation using other game elements is required to autonomy, promote and cooperation, personalization. Gamification makes learning fun and engaging, resulting in better participation, higher motivation, and ultimately, the interest and fervor of students to learn. The gamification strategy challenges the participants to perform to the best of their abilities.

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