Parents often worry about the amount of time their kids invest playing video games instead of studying and learning. They question themselves on why their engagement and motivation are going through the roof when immersed in gaming, but when it comes to dedicating themselves to their academic requirements, they fail to concentrate. What will their thoughts be, if they found out that games are being used to better improve learning in students?
The concept, better known as gamification, is the use of game design and mechanics to better improve non-game contexts, aiming to increase participation, engagement, loyalty, and competition in students. These new techniques and methods range from a series of formats, including: point systems, leaderboards, badges, and healthy competition.
Schools all around the globe are implementing gamification as common practices that better improve students learning needs. Games in education allow:
- Social Emotional Learning & Collaboration Skills: Games highlight engagement, trust, and collaboration when they become embedded in the schools strategic plans, staffing, professional learning and budgets. They promote social, emotional, and academic learning as they reach challenges in the game, where they learn how to deal with frustration, time management and teamwork; as in real life.
- Real-Time Feedback: Formative assessment in video games, when done effectively, helps students approach assignments and real life evaluations better prepared. By mitigating the risk and pressure of a real evaluation, in a game context, students are able to face the challenges without being affected by external factors. This allows for personalization, self-regulation, and self-assessment.
- Progress Tracking: As a teacher in the twenty first century you are familiarized with concepts such as personalized learning and customization. Real time formative access to formative assessment and student concept acquisition progress allows teachers to better attend their needs and shortcomings. Games and platforms allow them to identify their place on the road towards learning a concept, or a unit.
- Student Engagement: Learning engagement is observed as a collection of mindfully goal-directed behaviors and reﬂections demonstrated to indicate a meaningful and deep involvement in learning activities. It is speculated that an engaged learner, when given the opportunity, will initiate, persist, and/or concentrate on mastering and applying new knowledge or skills, resort to deep strategies for information processing or problem solving, and also demonstrate positive attitudes toward the learning process.
- Perseverance: When faced with challenges in game-based context, students have more tolerance towards frustration and anxiety that in normal learning environments. They learn to manage their frustration and develop perseverance in completing a task, or a challenge.
Educators around the world are starting to notice the benefits of gamification. They have experienced how students develop ownership on their learning, tolerance to failure, have fun, develop motivation, and a general comfort all around. Games are starting to become a status quo and they will continue to become generally accepted as a tool for better enhancing student learning in every subject area.
Ke, Fengfeng & Xie, Kui & Xie, Ying. (2015). Game-based learning engagement: A theory- and data-driven exploration. British Journal of Educational Technology. 10.1111/bjet.12314.